The North Star is the story of Benjamin “Big Ben” Jones (Jeremiah Trotter) and Moses Hopkins (Thomas C. Bartley Jr.), two slaves who escaped from a Virginia plantation and made their way to freedom in Buckingham, Pennsylvania in 1849. The North Star is the first film from Doylestown, Pennsylvania native Thomas K. Phillips. It tells an uplifting and inspiring story of people from different races and backgrounds coming together to triumph over slavery.
In addition to Trotter and Bartley, cast members for The North Star include Clifton Powell (Ray) Lynn Whitfield (HBO’s “Josephine Baker Story”), John Diehl (Jurassic Park III), Keith David (Platoon), Christopher Mann (“The Wire”) and April Woodall (Broadway actress and vocalist).
Philips notes, “My wish is that The North Star will resonate positively with its audience and show the good of humanity at such a dark time in American history. One of my goals is to shed light on the thousands of courageous individuals that took the perilous journey to freedom, leaving the only life known to them; a life of forced servitude and inhumane treatment, for a better life for themselves and future generations. In addition and most important to me, I hope that The North Star will create a dialogue with audiences about how people came together for the cause of abolishing slavery; people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds who heard the word of God in their hearts and risked a great deal by their actions. I believe it is still relevant in solving some of today’s issues.”
The North Star’s original score was composed and performed by Grammy Award winner Ramsey Lewis with his son Frayne Lewis. American Idol finalist Jermaine Jones is featured on two tracks. A young adult novel adaptation of The North Star will be published this fall.
The North Star will open at the County Theater and Penn Cinema in Wilmington on Friday, Sept. 18 and will expand to theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., later this fall.
LuckPig Studios will celebrate the film’s theatrical release with a Philadelphia red carpet premiere at the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, Sept. 17. Red carpet attendees will include Phillips, and producer and former executive director of the NAACP, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, along with key members of the cast. Tickets for the 5:30 p.m. screening and 8 p.m. red carpet premiere start at $12.99 and are available at kimmelcenter.org.