Real high school musicals exposed

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Showtime, Lionsgate and Spitfire Pictures will co-produce an untitled documentary that will offer a behind-the-scenes look at a cuttroat world of high school musicals in Southern Indiana.

Written and directed by Barry Blaustein, the film follows three Southern Indiana high schools that spend tens of thousands of dollars on their musical productions in order to compete for admission to the International Thespian Festival. Blaustein and Spitfire's Nigel Sinclair are producing. Guy East and Tobin Armbrust of Spitfire are executive producers.

"The story captivated us. It was really rich and unexpected," said Kevin Beggs, president of television programming and production for Lionsgate, who heads the feature-documentary unit with Sandra Stern, COO of Television.

Robert Greenblatt, president of entertainment for Showtime, added that the project arrived in the wake of the success of Disney's "High School Musical." He said: "It seemed like it would be really universal and a great thing to examine close up."

The documentary was lensed on location and is currently in post.

Current plans are to debut the documentary in 2008 on the festival circuit, and then present on Showtime.

This marks the fourth production from Lionsgate's feature-length documentary unit. Previous productions "Grizzly Man," "Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man" and "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" went on to generate interest for a theatrical release.

Lionsgate will retain worldwide distribution right on the film.

Blaustein's credits include "Beyond the Mat."
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