Urban Pictures’ actioner “Hostage” gets April 1 West Side theatre premiere

The third feature film from independent production company Urban Pictures premieres April 1 at Inner City Entertainment’s Lawndale Theater.

Devin Wesley stars as a former cop who single-handedly takes on a gang of extortionists who hold hostage an entire mall. Keith Mayberry, also known as Silk of the triple-platinum-selling hip-hop group Out Here Brothers, plays the gang leader.

“‘Hostage’ is an urban version of a ‘Die Hard’ or an ‘Under Siege,'” said producer William Pierce.

First-time director Gill C. Carpenter made the picture in 16 days in November at the Halsted Indoor Shopping Mall on the South Side.

Urban’s first two films, 2000’s “Trust” and 2002’s “My Phamily BBQ,” both also starring Wesley, are out on DVD through Maverick Entertainment.

“Maverick is interested in ‘Hostage,’ but we want to shop it around before committing,” Pierce said.

Pierce, who also shot and edited, self-financed the five-figure budget. He wrote the “Hostage” script with Carpenter and Wesley. Rob Morrison, whose remix of Beyonc?’s “Crazy In Love” won a Grammy this year, composed the score for all three Urban pictures to date. UPM was Princess Fletcher. Production Coordinator, Mark Armstrong.

Urban Entertainment is now casting for its fourth film, tentatively titled “Love and Coffee,” a neo-soul poetry romance that Pierce describes as “‘Love Jones’ meets ‘Purple Rain.'” Pierce wrote the script with Morris Mills. Production is set to begin in late April. Pierce is still finalizing his choice for director.

Pierce first made his name as a house music producer through his Kave Studios. He used profits from the 1999 overseas dance hit “Dirty MF” with singer Evalynn Holiday to establish Urban Entertainment. “I sold all my equipment and resolved that this is what I want to do,” Pierce said. “I eventually want to direct and get my work on the silver screen. For now, I’ll do what I need to do to get there.”

“Hostage” premieres Thursday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Lawndale Theater, 3330 W. Roosevelt. Cast and crew will attend the screening.

Urban Pictures is at 6858 W. North Ave., Suite E; call 773/637-4876 or e-mail darkhollywood@mail.com.

? by Ed M. Koziarski, edk@homesickblues.com