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HBO Max picks up Baltimore-based film ‘Charm City Kings’

Sherman Payne, back left, Caleeb Pinkett, Angel Manuel Soto, Clarence Hammond, Kezii Curtis, front left, Jahi Di'Allo Winston and Donielle T. Hansley Jr., laugh during a panel for "Charm City Kings" at Los Angeles Times Live during the Sundance Film Festival presented by Chase Sapphire, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jack Dempsey/Invision for Chase Sapphire/AP Images)
Sherman Payne, back left, Caleeb Pinkett, Angel Manuel Soto, Clarence Hammond, Kezii Curtis, front left, Jahi Di'Allo Winston and Donielle T. Hansley Jr., laugh during a panel for "Charm City Kings" at Los Angeles Times Live during the Sundance Film Festival presented by Chase Sapphire, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jack Dempsey/Invision for Chase Sapphire/AP Images) (Jack Dempsey/AP)

“Charm City Kings,” the film that won hearts nationwide — not to mention a prestigious 2020 Sundance Film Festival award — has been picked up for a wide release by HBO Max.

The movie spotlighting Baltimore’s 12 O’clock Boys will be available for streaming on an as-yet undisclosed date under the new Warner Max label, according to a news release.

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It’s a second shot at winning a wider audience for the movie, which was filmed primarily on the streets of West Baltimore and is based on a 2013 documentary by Maryland Institute, College of Art graduate Lotfy Nathan.

“‘Charm City Kings,’ is such an exciting and vibrant visual experience that we are thrilled to debut it on HBO Max,“ said Jessie Henderson, executive vice president of original films for the screening service. “The filmmakers and electric cast have put together something truly special.”

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Filmed in the fall of 2018, “Charm City Kings” tells the story of Mouse, one of the so-called “12 O’Clock Boys” who careen down the streets of Baltimore on dirt bikes with their front wheels pointed skyward, like the hands of a clock set at midnight or noon. Mouse desperately wants to join a notorious group known as “The Midnight Clique.”

“When Midnight’s leader, Blax, takes 14-year-old Mouse under his wing, Mouse soon finds himself torn between the straight-and-narrow and a road filled with fast money and violence,” the news release said.

”Charm City Kings” won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting at Sundance for its cast, which includes Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Grammy-nominated recording artist Meek Mill, Will Catlett, Donielle Hansley, Kezii Curtis, Chino, Lakeyria “Wheelie Queen” Doughty and Teyonah Parris. It is written by Sherman Payne and directed by Angel Manuel Soto.

The movie Is from Will Smith’s production company, Overbrook Entertainment, and originally was slated for an April 10 release into theaters by Sony Pictures Classics. But the deal was put on hold as movie houses nationwide were shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic.

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