From Cinema Libre comes the unlikely biopic of a Tony Award winner who's also a three-time convicted felon . . . and a poet. The story of Lemon Anderson comes to DVD and VOD on October 16:
September 21, 2012 (Los Angeles, CA) — “So watch me be the artist who was born readymade. Watch me take my lemons and make the best goddamn lemonade.” These words, from the staged memoir, County of Kings, capture the essence of Lemon Andersen’s life, and frame the award-winning documentary, Lemon, about the Brooklyn-born poet and playwright. The documentary, which premiered at the Zurich Film Festival, was executive produced by Russell Simmons, Stan Lathan and Dan Cogan of Impact Partners and co-directed by Laura Brownson and Beth Levison. The film will be released on DVD and VOD platforms in North America on October 16, 2012 by Cinema Libre Studio with a broadcast premiere of the 52 minute version on PBS culture series VOCES on Friday October 19, 2012 in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month.
Produced and directed by Brownson and Levison of Dandelion Films, Lemon was awarded Honorable Mention at the Zurich Film Festival followed by a U.S. premiere at the DOCNYC Festival where it won Special Jury Prize. The deeply personal documentary follows Lemon Andersen, a three-time felon and one-time Tony Award winner, and his attempt at resurrecting his career as a poet/performer on stage. “We decided to make this film at our very first meeting with Lemon. Here was this incredible talent, who was putting everything on the line for his family and a better future, and in our gut, we knew there was a story worth capturing. What we didn’t know, was whether it would end in tragedy or triumph,” said Brownson.
After serving time on Rikers Island, Lemon discovered poetry at an open microphone at the age of 20. The son of a Puerto Rican mother and Norwegian-American father, both of whom succumbed to drugs and AIDS, Lemon’s raw upbringing in Brooklyn’s Puerto Rican community is reflected in his work. Through his hustle and unusual talent, he miraculously found himself on Broadway in 2003, starring in Russell Simmons’ production of Def Poetry Jam for which he won a Tony Award. However, after the show closed, the fame and money were gone as quickly as they had come.
As the film begins, Lemon finds himself back in the projects, living with his wife, daughters and extended family, and desperate for a way out. He turns to the only things he has left -- his pen and his story. Filmed over the course of three years, we follow Lemon as he attempts to bring his life story to the stage in a new work entitled “County of Kings,” while navigating the perilous world of the New York theater community and battling demons from his past. Shot on location in the places that shaped the man and his art, including Coney Island, the Brooklyn projects and Rikers Island, and featuring a surprise turn by Spike Lee and music by hip-hop artists Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Aloe Blacc and others, Lemon brings to life the anguish of a generation of men clinging to the margins but fighting for something more -- as Lemon says, “chasing normalcy.”
Lemon is the first collaboration for Brownson and Levison. “Lemon's story is uniquely his own, but it also speaks for anyone wanting to change their lot in life and realize a dream - ultimately, it's a deeply universal tale of the human capacity to overcome struggle - and triumph,” says Levison.
- Additional Performances by Lemon
- Deleted Scenes