Phoenix and Haddock get Real for CTV

New doc series about hip-hop and activism from Haddock Entertainment includes big names from music and Hollywood, including Cameron Diaz, Mos Def and Charlize Theron

VANCOUVER — Homegrown talents Sol Guy and Josh Thome are hip-hopping around the world with celebrities such as Joaquin Phoenix, Cameron Diaz, Mos Def, Charlize Theron and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers to make 4Real, a doc series for CTV and MTV about young people using art and culture to change their worlds.

‘We’re merging social change and entertainment,’ says Guy, series host and producer of hip-hop acts including Lauryn Hill and P. Diddy, who reconnected with childhood friend and activist/filmmaker Thome to create, produce and host the series.

‘We were frustrated with the state of the industry,’ says Guy, and ‘wondered why our worlds didn’t meet, or if they did it was corny or sickening.’ According to Guy, he and his collaborators bought ‘a cheap camera from Future Shop’ and started filming hip-hop happenings and youth activists around the world while piggybacking on Thome’s documentary projects.

Fast forward five years. Guy and Thome approach Chris Haddock (Intelligence) with footage of hiking in Peru with a young medicine man, and through the Kibera slums of Kenya to meet Salim Mohamed, who runs a community medical clinic and a sports program for more than 5,000 youths.

‘We explained our vision, and Chris Haddock immediately offered to executive produce. He asked for nothing, no ownership, gave us an office to work out of, and all the support we needed,’ says Guy, from his Vancouver office at Haddock Entertainment.

Ultimately, Guy hopes that the shows will do more than just entertain. ‘We used really small crews — our budget is low — so we can recoup what we made to create awareness of these people around the world who change lives, and if the people who are watching are moved to give to these people in the stories they see, it goes from there. We’re not gatekeepers. We’re just combining entertainment and activism.’

The 8 x 30 series will air on CTV and MTV this fall.

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This story has been corrected. It previously referred to Guy as an MTV host and Phoenix as a host and executive producer of 4Real.