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By Film Threat Staff | August 25, 2006

Nu-Lite Entertainment has announced plans to roll out its controversial new theatrical feature film Color of the Cross in select cities throughout the U.S. beginning October 27, 2006.

The first film to ever depict Jesus as black, Color of the Cross questions the universal acceptance of Jesus as a blond-haired, blue-eyed saint… an image literally painted by the interpretation of one man, Leonardo Da Vinci. But according to indie filmmaker Jean Claude LaMarre, the answer is not so black and white.

Color of the Cross is not about dividing people, it is about broadening their perspective,” said writer-director LaMarre, who also stars as Jesus in the film. “I believe that Jesus was black. Through other people’s eyes he may be white, Latino or even Asian. We want to convey that it is not what the messenger looks like that is important, it is the message itself.”

“Re-imaging the perception of black people in a more positive light, especially in Hollywood, was also an important factor in my decision to make this film,” added LaMarre, who personally financed the film’s $2.5 million budget. “I did not introduce race into this issue, Da Vinci did. Is Hollywood ready for a black Jesus? We will see. It was a big risk…. but a necessary one.”

In Color of the Cross LaMarre chose to focus on the human pain and suffering that Jesus, his Disciples and his family endured instead of the bloody torture of Christ’s crucifixion as Passion of the Christ did. The politically charged film that is based on the last 48 hours of Jesus’ life is not only the first film to feature Jesus as black but also the first to inject race as a possible factor in his crucifixion.

In addition to LaMarre, who was also responsible for such revolutionary films as the urban westerns Gang of Roses and Brothers In Arms, Color of the Cross also stars award-winning talent Debbi Morgan (Coach Carter, All My Children) and television personality Ananda Lewis (MTV’s Total Request Live).

Fox Home Entertainment, which handled the domestic home video distribution of Passion of the Christ, will release Color of the Cross on DVD following its theatrical release. Fox is also supporting the theatrical release with a seven figure P&A commitment.

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