Cable Television Release: February 2, 2001 (HBO).
The film screened at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2001, as an Official Selection.
DANCING IN SEPTEMBER marked the directorial debut of Reggie Rock Bythewood, who previously had written Spike Lee's GET ON THE BUS as well as television scripts for A DIFFERENT WORLD and NEW YORK UNDERCOVER.
Vicellous Reon Shannon said about the making of the film, "The experience on this film was completely different than anything I've ever experienced. Everybody involved was pulling together for the cause and they did it for the love of the project."
The film opened up the Hollywood Black Film Festival 2000. It also played the USA Film Festival in Dallas, the Pan-African Film Festival in Denver, and the Acapulco Black Film Festival.
The phrase "dancing in September," which was taken from an Earth, Wind & Fire song, refers to a black television series that was picked up for the fall season.
Reggie Rock Bythewood researched the film by meeting with several African American and Latina television executives.
Bythewood's wife, Gina Prince-Bythewood, wrote and directed LOVE AND BASKETBALL, which starred Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan. Reggie and Gina met while working together on the television show A DIFFERENT WORLD, which featured Kadeem Hardison in the cast; Hardison makes a brief appearance in DANCING IN SEPTEMBER.
Estimated budget: $850,000, partially funded by Danny Glover and Robert Guillaume. The director put up $250,000, and his wife put up $50,000.
Producer Reuben Cannon (who served as casting director as well) said, "It was a joy and a pleasure to do DANCING IN SEPTEMBER independently because unlike studio films, we got to make exactly the movie we envisioned from the script we read and fell in love with."
Discussing the state of network television, Cannon told the New York Daily News, "What isn't getting better is the networks' expectation. The golden rule is, 'He who has the gold makes the rules,' and the shows are a reflection of that. They're not challenging the maximum capacity of these young directors. The networks will still utilize a white half-hour sitcom model in terms of what they think is funny. It's a miracle that there is a cultural connection at all."
The film was shot in 23 days; for 2 days they shot on the set of MOESHA.
Star Nicole Ari Parker said, "The issues the film explores aren't just a TV problem or an industry problem but a humanity problem."
The opening credits includes scenes from such influential racially groundbreaking shows as JULIA (Diahann Carroll), THE FLIP WILSON SHOW (Flip Wilson), I SPY (Bill Cosby), THE JACKSON FIVE animated series, STAR TREK (Nichelle Nicholls), FAT ALBERT (Bill Cosby), MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (Greg Morris), THE GREEN HORNET (Bruce Lee), THE MOD SQUAD (Clarence Williams III), CHICO AND THE MAN (Freddie Prinze), WELCOME BACK, KOTTER (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs), THAT'S MY MAMA (Clifton Davis), and THE TONY ORLANDO AND DAWN SHOW.
The name of the show Tommy works for at the start is WINSTON AND SHELLEY.
George Washington's license plate is TVHOLIK.
Kurt Farquhar wrote and performed the theme song for JUST US, the hit sitcom in the film.