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RnB 03/02/2009

Canadian R&B Sensation Keshia Chante Stars In New Drama Series 'SOUL'

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TORONTO, Canada (Top40 Charts/ VisionTV) - Mahalia Brown has a talent that could open doors for her. But if she dares to step through, she may find herself in a dangerous place, far from everything in her life that's safe and true and comforting. Is it a price worth paying to live her dream?

Welcome to Mahalia's world. Welcome to SOUL.

A six-part drama premiering in February on VisionTV, SOUL stars Canada's premier R&B artist, Keshia Chante, as Mahalia, a gifted young gospel singer on the verge of leaving behind the safety of church and family for the fast track to pop stardom.

SOUL is VisionTV's first original hour-long drama series. It airs on Wednesday nights, starting Feb. 11, at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.

The series was produced for VisionTV by Halifax Film, an award-winning production company whose credits include This Hour Has 22 Minutes and The Guard. Principal photography took place in Halifax, NS last fall.

SOUL is the first small-screen starring role for Ottawa-born Keshia Chante, who earned a Juno Award in 2005 for R&B/Soul Recording of the Year.

As Mahalia, Chante plays a young woman at a crossroads. A member of the Keystone Church choir, she has been content to play second fiddle to her best friend Alicia (Jessica Parker Kennedy, Smallville), the choir soloist, while secretly dreaming of stardom.

When Keystone competes in a televised choir competition, Mahalia seizes a chance to step into the spotlight, putting her friendship with Alicia at risk. Courted by an influential record producer, she finds her principles put to the test. Can she stay spiritual in a material world?

Mahalia's story unfolds against a backdrop of sometimes violent conflict within her troubled urban neighbourhood - a dangerous world of drugs and guns into which her ambitious brother Malcolm (Ish Morris, ReGenesis) is increasingly drawn.

SOUL also co-stars Eli Goree (North/South) as her boyfriend and fellow choir member Samson, a young man struggling to protect a troubling secret, and Karen LeBlanc (Playmakers) as choir leader Dee Dee Washington, a former pop star and recovering addict trying to undo the damage of her past.

Michael Anthony Rawlins (Intelligence), Kim Roberts (I'm Not There), Mpho Koaho (Flashpoint) and series co-creator Andy Marshall (The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico) also star. Michael Beach (ER, Third Watch) guest stars as gospel music mover and shaker Rev. Isaiah Hunter.

The Executive Producers of SOUL are Floyd Kane (North/South), Peter Lauterman (North of 60), Michael Donovan (Bowling for Columbine) and Charles Bishop (The Guard). Joan Jenkinson is the Executive Producer for VisionTV.

Andy Marshall is Creative Producer, and Margaret Harrison (Shake Hands with the Devil) is Line Producer. The series writers are Andy Marshall, Peter Lauterman and Floyd Kane. The directors include Stefan Scaini (Degrassi: The Next Generation) and Steve DiMarco (The Chris Isaak Show).

SOUL is a result of the DiverseTV initiative launched by VisionTV in partnership with the National Screen Institute - Canada (NSI), and is the first DiverseTV project to go before the cameras. DiverseTV was designed to offer visible minority and Aboriginal writers the chance to create a television drama for national broadcast.
Visit the official SOUL Web site: www.soultv.ca
Visit the SOUL YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/SoulTheSeries
Check out SOUL on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/SOUL/44558069690?ref=ts
For more information on VisionTV programming, please visit www.visiontv.ca.
VisionTV, an S-VOX company, is Canada's multi-faith and multicultural broadcaster, dedicated to entertaining and insightful programming that celebrates diversity and promotes understanding and tolerance among people of different faiths and cultures.
Halifax Film (www.halifaxfilm.com), co-founded by Michael Donovan and Charles Bishop, develops and produces original film and television programming. Halifax Film manages and co-ordinates all aspects of a program's life, including developing original ideas; purchasing literary rights; arranging production financing; carrying out production and post-production; and exploiting worldwide distribution rights. Halifax Film is a subsidiary of DHX Media Ltd., a leading international producer and distributor of television programming and interactive content with an emphasis on children, family and youth markets.

SOUL - Episodes

"Stepping Through Doors"

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT

Mahalia takes her first steps toward gospel music stardom, but must choose between her loyalty to best friend Alicia and her thirst for fame. Mahalia's father, Pastor Clinton Brown, and Keystone Choir director Dee Dee Washington get into hot water with church elders when the choir delivers a provocative performance. To help her brother Malcolm secure a DJ gig, Mahalia reluctantly agrees to perform at the Babylon Fire nightclub with Alicia and their friend Samson, only to end up caught in the middle of a gang war. Music producer Jamil Foster makes a move on Mahalia.

"Twice"

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT

Mahalia and the Keystone choir receive an invitation from televangelist and gospel music super-producer Rev. Isaiah Hunter. An R&B/gospel track by Mahalia and Malcolm catches the interest of ruthless gang lord Shaka. Dee Dee fears the past is haunting her when Keystone Sanctuary is vandalized.

"Seducing Spirits"

Wednesday, Feb. 25, 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT

Mahalia deceives her parents and goes to New York to work with record producer Russell Alexander. Elder Tullock sabotages an attempted truce between Shaka's gang and Keystone, and learns the high cost of crossing Shaka. Samson questions himself after an intimate moment with a fellow choir member. Mahalia and Jamil have a confrontation over his plans for her career.

"Fathers and Daughters"

Wednesday, March 4, 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT

Mahalia is surprised when Rev. Isaiah Hunter (guest star Michael Beach) arrives with a tempting offer, and travels to Cleveland to record a track with his daughter, teen gospel sensation Nikki Hunter. But Isaiah has an agenda of his own. Jamil goes on the offensive when Mahalia refuses to authorize the release of the Russell Alexander track, while Dee Dee reaches out to a volatile Alicia.

"My Way"

Wednesday, March 11, 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT

Disenchanted with the worlds of both hip-hop and gospel, Mahalia takes a stab at creating her own music, with help from Malcolm. As Samson prepares to proclaim his love, Mahalia is confronted with evidence that his affections lie elsewhere. Malcolm is drawn deeper into Shaka's criminal schemes. Clinton and Roslyn find themselves divided on the question of their daughter's career path, while Mahalia comes to a decision about Jamil.

"Exile" - SEASON FINALE

Wednesday, March 18, 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT

Russell Alexander comes to town to record a track with Mahalia, a development that leaves Malcolm on the outside looking in, and triggers conflict at Keystone Sanctuary. Roslyn finds herself taking a more active role in Mahalia's career, while Dee Dee succumbs to old demons and Alicia risks her new relationship with Malcolm. Mahalia refuses to meet Russell's demands, leading to a confrontation - and a choice.






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