Vanessa Williams and Rockmond Dunbar in a scene from GMC’s “Raising Izzie”

*Vanessa Williams (of “Lincoln Heights” fame) and Rockmond Dunbar star in the new GMC TV original feature, “Raising Izzie,” the story of two orphaned sisters and the caring teacher who changes their lives forever.

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“This is a very heartwarming story about family and faith that shows that love transcends all,” says producer/director Roger M. Bobb. “When I saw the table read at last year’s ABFF, I knew right away it was the perfect story for me to tell.”

When their mother passes away, sisters Izzie (Kyla Kenedy) and Gertie Nash (Victoria Staley) are forced to grow up fast. Afraid her daughters will be separated if placed in the foster care system, their mother makes arrangements for Gertie and Izzie to live on their own, with a bank account, apartment and small on-line business to support themselves.

Older sister Gertie takes care of Izzie in addition to working and attending school. For a year, the girls are able to hide their predicament from their neighbors, their landlord and even their teachers. But when Tonya Freeman (Williams), Gertie’s new teacher, becomes suspicious, the girls have to come up with a new plan to protect their secret. After Tonya confronts the girls and they confess to their situation, Tonya has to decide how to protect them and keep them together against the will of her husband Greg (Rockmond Dunbar).

The screenplay, written by David Martyn Conley, was the first prize winner in the 2011 inaugural GMC Faith and Family Screenplay Competition at the American Black Film Festival.

“Raising Izzie” premieres on Saturday, July 21st at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. with encore broadcasts on Sunday, July 22nd at 7:00 p.m. and 9 p.m.; Monday, July 23rd at 9 p.m. and Friday, July 27th at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET. Watch a featurette on the film below.