Making it’s world premier at the Newport Beach Film Festival, Heart, Baby! is based on the true story of George Lee Martin (Gbenga Akinnagbe), who in 1984 as an 18-year-old, was sentenced to 40 years in prison for robbing a house in Tennessee.
While in prison, George becomes an undefeated fighter and catches the eye of the US Olympic Boxing Team. When George is given a chance for early release in order to compete, he makes one request — he won’t go unless his transgender cellmate Crystal (Shawn-Caulin Young) is released so she can corner him. For George, certain bonds are worth more than freedom.
Several familiar faces like Shaun Brown (The Great Indoors), Justice Leak (Powers), Dana Gourrier (The Hateful Eight) and Quinton Aaron (The Blind Side) have great execution and even with Akinnagbe being the star, Young’s performance as a heroin addicted, transgender prisoner deserves a best supporting actor award…or would it be actress at this point? That’s how good it was because you aren’t sure which category Young should win.
In a brief e-mail exchange with Angela Shelton, the writer/director of Heart, Baby! , she clarified, “…it’s not really a boxing movie. It’s a brotherhood movie.”
Shelton, who has previously won the Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking award back in 2005 at the Newport Beach Film Festival uses the story of George Lee Martin and the sport of boxing to tell a tale about gentleness in the harshest of environments.
Heart, Baby! proves that you don’t have to be blood to be family and that even in the worst of circumstances, with the worst of crimes committed, good can still be found in all people.
Friday April 21, 2017 at The Triangle at 5:30 p.m.
1870 Harbor Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92647
Thursday, April 27, 2017 at Island Center at 2:30 p.m.
999 Newport Center Dr.
Newport Beach, CA 92660