Precious' stars stop by VFTB studio

Open in theaters next month

Lee Daniels's PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL "PUSH" BY SAPPHIRE is a vibrant, honest and resoundingly hopeful film about the human capacity to grow and overcome.

Set in Harlem in 1987, it is the story of Claireece "Precious" Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), a sixteen-year-old African-American girl born into a life no one would want. She's pregnant for the second time by her absent father; at home, she must wait hand and foot on her mother (Mo'Nique), a poisonously angry woman who abuses her emotionally and physically. School is a place of chaos, and Precious has reached the ninth grade with good marks and an awful secret: she can neither read nor write.

Precious may sometimes be down, but she is never out. Beneath her impassive expression is a watchful, curious young woman with an inchoate but unshakeable sense that other possibilities exist for her. Threatened with expulsion, Precious is offered the chance to transfer to an alternative school, Each One/Teach One. Precious doesn't know the meaning of "alternative," but her instincts tell her this is the chance she has been waiting for. In the literacy workshop taught by the patient yet firm Ms. Rain (Paula Patton), Precious begins a journey that will lead her from darkness, pain and powerlessness to light, love and self-determination.

In Official Selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and winner of three awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival including the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL 'PUSH' BY SAPPHIRE stars Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz and introducing Gabourey Sidibe. Oprah Winfrey is the executive producer.

PAULA PATTON (Ms. Rain) emerged as an unforgettable talent with her leading roles in the Tony Scott film DÉJÀ VU and the original musical IDLEWILD. In DÉJÀ VU, Paula starred opposite Denzel Washington and Jim Caviezel.

In 2008, Paula appeared in the thriller, MIRRORS opposite Kiefer Sutherland. The film tells the story of a mall security guard (Sutherland) who becomes wrapped up in a mystery involving a particular department store's mirrors which seem to bring out the worst in people. Paula plays the wife of Sutherland's character. Paula also appeared in SWING VOTE, a light-hearted political satire alongside industry veterans Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper and Kelsey Grammer. SWING VOTE was released by Disney Pictures.

In August 2006, Patton was seen in the original musical IDLEWILD, in which she stars among an impressive cast including: Outkast's Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton, Terrence Howard, Ving Rhames and Patti LaBelle. The musical, set in the Prohibition-era American South, is directed by Bryan Barber and produced by Charles Roven. Paula plays a diva from St. Louis who travels to Idlewild and with the help of Andre Benjamin's character as her piano man, the two develop a stage act as well as a love affair. The film was released by Universal. Paula was previously seen in Columbia Pictures' romantic comedy, HITCH, in which she co-starred opposite Will Smith, Eva Mendes and Kevin James.

LEE DANIELS' (Director/Producer) background is filled with bold stories as real and gritty as the narratives from the films he creates. By the age of 21, Daniels had founded and was running his own health care agency, providing nurses to private homes and hospitals; he was simultaneously trying to be a screenwriter. After selling his health care business, and giving up screenwriting, he began managing actors such as Loretta Divine, Michael Shannon, Natasha Kinsky, and Aishwarya Rai. Daniels turned to producing as a natural result of trying to find and create great material for his clients; the organic leap to directing came soon after.

MONSTER'S BALL was the first film from Daniels' production company, Lee Daniels Entertainment. The film marked Daniels as the first sole African-American producer of an Oscar®-winning and -nominated film. Daniels also produced THE WOODSMAN, which premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, the film received the CICAE Arthouse Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the Jury Prize at the Deauville International Film Festival, and Special Mention for Excellence in Filmmaking from the National Board of Review.

Released in 2006, SHADOWBOXER, a bold, heart-wrenching tale of two assassins, was Daniels' directorial debut. Following the film's world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Daniels was also nominated for the New Directors Award at the 2006 San Sebastian Film Festival.

Daniels recently produced the upcoming film TENNESSEE, which premiered at last year's Tribeca Film Festival. The film is produced by Daniels, written by Russell Schaumberg, and directed by Aaron Woodley (RHINOCEROS EYES). Daniels is also teaming with Chilean film-maker Sebastian Silva to produce Silva's next film SECOND CHILD. The film follows an eight-year-old boy as he seeks affection and acceptance during the course of a family vacation to a country home.

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