Russell Simmons' All Def Digital to Release Doc 'Romeo Is Bleeding'

Romeo is Bleeding Film Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Rooftop Films

Romeo is Bleeding Film Still - H 2015

Director Jason Zeldes looks at the place spoken word poetry holds in the community of Richmond, Calif.

Russell Simmons' All Def Digital is partnering with director Jason Zeldes and the nonprofit The Film Collaborative on the theatrical and VOD release of spoken word documentary Romeo Is Bleeding.

Romeo Is Bleeding takes a look at the transformative nature that spoken word poetry has on the youth growing up in the violent suburb of Richmond, Calif. The story follows Donté Clark as he tries to mount a new telling of Romeo and Juliet with high schoolers.

“This is a powerful and provocative film that could not be more timely, or timeless. It carries a critical message about the power of the written — and spoken — word to save and transform individuals and communities,” said Simmons, who was the creative force behind HBO's Def Jam Poetry for nearly a decade. 

“We see a renewed interest in the art form everywhere, as a therapeutic tool in school counseling on the one hand, and as a driving force behind lyricism in hip-hop from Chance the Rapper to Kendrick Lamar on the other," said Sanjay Sharma, president and CEO of All Def Digital, who made Tuesday's announcement with Romeo is Bleeding producer Michael Klein.

Simmons will be credited as an executive producer on the doc, which The Film Collaborative will release in select theaters beginning July 28 and on DVD and VOD on Aug 1.