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Rock Hill - Counter HIstories

The story of the Friendship 9 carries huge significance in the battle to end segregation in Southern American states. The nine mens' powerful and moving stand helped change history, but is one of the lesser-known incidents, among the many that shaped the civil rights movement of 1960s America.

Now the story of the heroes who chose to go to jail - serving hard labour sentences and rationed to bread and water - is told in feature Rock Hill - Counter Histories which is set for it UK premiere on digital on 26 April 2021, courtesy of Reel to Reel Films.

Some 40 years after a brave group of African Americans took up seats set aside for whites only at the counter of a cafe in the South Carolina town of Rock Hill, this groundbreaking documentary, which blends archive footage with recreations and new interviews with the protagonists, can tell the inspiring real tale of the Friendship 9.

The group, so called because of the school many of them attended, took a new route for Civil Rights activists as the movement and opposition to it intensified. To help the cause and save money that could be better spent elsewhere, they opted for a new strategy - jail, no bail, eschewing paying up and instead being sent to serve 30 days' hard labour. Their brave move enabled the movement to better use its resources and represented a shift in the battle for equal rights.

The award-winning documentary, which has played at festivals around the world, interviews original members of the Friendship 9, and others in and around the incident.

The must-watch Rock Hill - Counter Histories sheds light on an important historical moment through the words of the brave people who helped shape history.



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In Bruges

The hilariously dark hitman movie with a heart, In Bruges, gets its Standard-Edition Blu-ray release, complete with special features on 19 April from Second Sight. The film from award-winning director Martin McDonagh (Three Bill Boards Outside Ebbing Missouri), the film was originally released in 2008 and has gone on to earn cult status. It sees Brendan Gleeson (Cold Mountain) and Colin Farrell (The Lobster) in career defining, critically acclaimed performances, as a pair of hired heavies sent to lie low in the Belgian city after a botched hit, with the Daily Express saying 'Gleeson is a delight and Farrell gives his best performance'.

Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel) stars as their boss and the line-up also features Elizabeth Berrington (Good Omens), Clemence Poesy (The Tunnel) and Eric Godon (The Missing).



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Flight Of The Navigator

Take a journey back in time to re-live family sci-fi classic Flight of the Navigator starring Joey Cramer, Sarah Jessica Parker and Paul Reubens, as it arrives on Standard Edition Blu-ray in an outstanding restored version, that was supervised by director Randal Kleiser (Grease, The Blue Lagoon), on 19 April from Second Sight.

The year is 1978 and 12-year-old David Freeman is knocked unconscious while playing. He wakes up and discovers it's now 1986 and he's been missing for eight years. NASA believes he's been abducted by aliens and want to use him for their research. But with the guidance of a strange unseen entity he discovers a hidden spaceship and with the help of MAX the computer sets off on an incredible mission to get back to the past where he belongs...



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Midsomer Murders Series 21

Internationally loved Midsomer Murders is the longest-running detective drama in the UK, and the hit series is returning to our screens for its incredible 21st series. Following its run on ITV, Midsomer Murders The Complete Series Twenty One Box set arrives on DVD this Easter, courtesy of Acorn Media International.

Airing in more than 220 different territories around the world, i>Midsomer Murders has been a fixture on our television screens since its premiere in 1997, which drew in 13.5 million viewers, making it ITV's highest rated single drama of that year. More than 20 years on the show remains one of the channel's most popular and pulls in some five million plus viewers per episode.

The series has seen over 395 murders during its incredible run and we can expect to see our favourite detectives back on form with four new mysteries to solve. Previous victims have died from touching electrified microphones, being strangled by automatic doors, being hit by a meteorite during an eclipse, and the seminal death by cheese case - how will this series' residents fare?

Dance extravaganzas, bee empires, and giant fish - what do these all have in common? In the county of Midsomer, they're united by one thing... murder. DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon - Life Of Riley, Silent Witness) and DS Jamie Winter (Nick Hendrix - The Crown, Black Mirror) are back on the case tackling curious crimes in the idyllic and picturesque setting. Beneath the tranquil exterior of country life, a sinister propensity for killing lurks...

In the new series, which sees Griff Rhys Jones (Alas Smith & Jones) and Imogen Stubbs (Sense and Sensibility) amongst some of the great guest stars, DCI Barnaby must contend with yet more cunning criminals as he tackles bizarre beekeepers, radical robots, fanatical fishermen, and to cap it all off he sashays into the baffling world of ballroom dancing.

Will the two detectives be able to solve the mysteries of Midsomer Murders?



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Acorn TV April 2021 Highlights

5 Apr: BLOOD SERIES 2

Adrian Dunbar (Line of Duty, Broken) stars in the hit psychological thriller from award-winning writer Sophie Petzal (The Last Kingdom, Riviera). After the life-changing events of the first series, when Jim Hogan (Dunbar) is placed under suspicion for the death of his wife (Ingrid Craigie, Striking Out), by his younger daughter Cat (Carolina Main, Unforgotten), the Hogan family are still a long way from finding peace. Series Two sees Jim return after a year away to find his dutiful older daughter Fiona (Grainne Keenan, Black Mirror, The Foreigner) is slowly succumbing to the same Motor Neurone Disease that afflicted her mother. When Fiona is involved in a catastrophic car crash, the family gather again at the bedside of a loved one, but a shocking revelation means the newly promoted Detective Dez Breen (Sean Duggan, Normal People, Clean Break) must delve into the tangled past of this troubled family once more in pursuit of the elusive truth. Could Fiona's husband Paul (Ian Lloyd Anderson - Love/Hate, Herself) be caught up in a criminal enterprise, or is the past simply repeating itself? Either way, there is a dead body to contend with, and someone has Blood on their hands. This enthralling whodunnit will keep you guessing: is Blood really thicker than water?

5 Apr: 19-2

This critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning, Emmy-nominated gritty Canadian police drama takes an alternative look at police life, going beyond the crimes and delving deep into the complicated lives of the crime fighters. Police officers Nick Barron (Adrian Holmes - Arrow, Continuum) and Ben Chartier (Jared Keeso - Falling Skies, Godzilla) have been thrust into an unwilling partnership after the devastating shooting of Barron's last partner. Nick carries the weight of that shooting with him every day and isn't planning on committing to the country boy who's fresh to the city anytime soon.

Also starring Dan Petronijevic (American Pie Presents The Naked Mile), Benz Antoine (Rookie Blue), Mylene Dinh-Robic (Being Human), Conrad Pla (ReGenesis) and Laurence Leboeuf (Trauma), this gripping long-running series shows life on the brutal and unforgiving streets of Montreal. With drug addicts, rapists, gang-members and murderers on the loose - there's not a safe place to hide and when faced with danger, Nick and Ben need to know they've got each other's backs.

5 Apr: THE PLAGUE SERIES 2

The second series of this lavish and gripping Spanish historical crime-drama set in the late the Plague-riddled 16th-century, from creator-director Alberto Rodriguez sees Mateo (Pablo Molinero) now fighting to survive Chile's harsh Patagonian winter, and his journey on the Spanish galleons traversing the Atlantic. We get a violent introduction to the Garduna crime family and Teresa (Patricia Lopez Arnaiz) goes head to head with human traffickers.

19 Apr: EXILE

Garnering huge critical acclaim when it aired on BBC One, this BAFTA nominated miniseries is a tense, gripping, psychological thriller featuring a stellar line-up of Britain's acting greats including Jim Broadbent (Iris, Moulin Rouge), John Simm (Life on Mars, Doctor Who), Olivia Colman (The Crown, The Favourite) and Timothy West (Gentleman Jack, Last Tango In Halifax). We follow journalist Tom Ronstadt (Simm) who, after losing his job in London, returns to his home town, Manchester, after 18 years in exile. Returning to live with sister Nancy (Colman) and their ageing father Sam (Broadbent) who has Alzheimer's, we soon discover why he has stayed away so long. As Tom begins to unpack the scandal his father has been keeping hidden for decades, his investigations are hampered by his father's deteriorating health and he becomes embroiled in a tangled web of corruption.

19 Apr: THE ADVOCATES SERIES 1 & 2

This gripping Edinburgh-set legal drama features an all-star cast including Michael Kitchen (Foyle's War), Shirley Henderson (Happy Valley), Siobhan Redmond (Queens of Mystery), Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener), and Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting). When a young prostitute is murdered by a deadly drug overdose, only the Doctor Joe Sangster, the medic who has been treating her at the local health clinic, suspects foul play. In the growing climate of fear over drugs and AIDS in the city, his clinic faces closure due to a local campaign. Sangster turns to Greg McDowell, an up and coming young lawyer who sees the case as a chance to make a name for himself.

In series two, McDowell is hired by a man accused of murdering his own wife. He begins to suspect she may have been the victim of a serial killer, but the case becomes too close for comfort, putting his girlfriend's life in danger.

26 Apr: A FAMILY TALE

This gripping Italian family drama, from the creators of The Young Pope, stars Multi-Golden Globe winner Anna Galiena and Anita Kravos (The Great Beauty) and follows mother and daughter, Emma and Micol, whose relationship is far from traditional. Amid the unrest of a moving to a new city, history repeats itself as Micol becomes pregnant at sixteen, just as her mother did. Also starring Giancarlo Giannini (Casino Royale) and helmed by award-winning director Francesca Archibugi.



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Take Back

Make way. There's a new high-kickin', body-slammin', ball-bustin', head-smackin', fast-punchin', tough-talkin' action hero in town. Her name is Gillian White. All-action feature Take Back, sees her star alongside Michael Jai White and Mickey Rourke in an adrenaline-fuelled, martial arts action thriller in which old scores must be settled, once and for all.

Gillian White plays the lead as a seemingly unassuming woman who must take on an evil gang of human traffickers when they kidnap her step-daughter. This kick-ass film is set for its UK premiere on DVD and digital from 101 Films on 29 March 2021.

Zara and Brian (real-life couple - Gillian White and Michael Jai White, The Dark Knight) are living the perfect small-town life, but when Zara heroically foils a robbery, she soon becomes headline news...and the unwanted notoriety sees Zara's mysterious past catch up with her, putting her family's life in serious danger. When their daughter is kidnapped by a sadistic gang, led by the vicious Patrick (Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler), the pair face a race against time to save her life. With Detective Chalmers (James Russo - Django Unchained) also on Patrick's trail, Zara and Patrick's paths collide in an explosive finale.

Zara must finally face up to her past and get revenge on the savages who almost ruined her life.

Directed by Christian Sesma (Paydirt, The Night Crew), Take Back offers up a different kind of action hero for different times.



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Josie & Jack

The Society's breakout star Olivia DeJonge is a sibling battling to escape her tyrannical father and forge her own place in the big city in Josie & Jack, the directorial debut from Hollywood actor Sarah Lancaster.

This raw and powerful drama from Lancaster (Chuck, Everwood) is based on Kelly Braffet's acclaimed book of the same name. The tense plot follows brother and sister duo Josie (Olivia DeJonge - Stray Dolls, The Society) and Jack (Alex Neustaedter - Colony, American Woman) Raeburn, who are raised by their tough father (William Fichtner - 12 Strong, Prison Break), a physics professor at a local university.

The two teens are isolated in a decrepit mansion in rural Pennsylvania, with only each other to depend on, but, following an argument with their father the two flee and try to make a life for themselves in New York. However, with Jack's behaviour becoming increasingly temperamental, Josie must decide between her loyalty to her brother and breaking free.

Following a successful release at Downtown LA film festival and winning awards for Best Director and Best Actress at the Beverly Hills Film Festival, Josie & Jack arrives on digital Monday 22 March 2021 courtesy of 101 Films.



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Dawn Of The Dead 4K UHD Release

After the huge success of its lavish Limited Edition box sets released in Autumn 2020, the dead are preparing to walk the earth once more as Second Sight announces the release of the definitive restored versions of George A Romero's zombie classic Dawn Of The Dead in standard editions on 22 March 2021.

The standard editions of this beautifully restored, comprehensive edition of the seminal horror, feature three different versions of the film, along with a fourth disc of special features across two separate formats Dawn Of The Dead 4K UHD and Dawn Of The Dead Blu-ray.

Acclaimed by fans and critics alike, these presentations offer completely restored versions of the film, each including the original theatrical cut, the extended "Cannes" cut and the Argento cut, making it the most comprehensive release ever of the film acknowledged to be one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Each version has a different commentary track, with the theatrical cut offering two.

The bonus disc of special features is packed with exclusive, new material as well as archive interviews, including the previously unreleased The Lost Romero Dawn Interview. Others include a tour of the shopping mall location, a look at its special effects and more.

The film originally arrived 10 years after the seminal Night of the Living Dead and ushered in a new era of zombie films. It showed Romero once again ahead of the curve, mixing biting political satire with state-of-the-art-gore for a genre defining masterpiece that packs as much of a punch today as it did 40 years ago.

With a zombie epidemic escalating, a small band of survivors seek refuge in that shrine to capitalism, the shopping mall. But the undead, still possessed by an instinctive desire to consume, have had the same idea... What follows is a nail-biting thrill-ride and fight to survive.

Oh, and watch out for those helicopter blades!



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