Joyce
Civil rights activist and Selma resident Bruce Boynton talks Tuesday to the "Selma" movie production crew during a town hall meeting. (Josh Bergeron | Times-Journal)
Civil rights activist and Selma resident Bruce Boynton talks Tuesday to the "Selma" movie production crew during a town hall meeting. (Josh Bergeron | Times-Journal)

‘Selma’ movie hosts town hall meeting

Published 10:27pm Tuesday, May 27, 2014

“Selma” movie production staff were greeted by a barrage of questions Tuesday during a town hall meeting about the film. 

The movie staff began by stating filming dates in Selma — June 23 to 26 — and said the movie is looking for extras for the film. Location manager Wes Hagan said any advertisements for casting calls will be publicized at a later date through the Alabama Film Office.

As questions continued, Hagan said filming would mostly focus on downtown Selma. Most filming will take place at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, with a brief shoot in front at the intersection of Broad Street and Alabama Avenue. The film crew’s time on the bridge will cause it to be closed for about three days. It will reopen in the evening, after filming is complete.

After film staff announced no filming would take place at Brown A.M.E. Chapel Church — where marchers returned after Bloody Sunday — the crowd audibly groaned.

Location scout Leif Tilden responded to the groans, saying that the film staff is trying to take advantage of its short time in Selma.

“We wish that we could film the whole thing here,” Tilden said. “We wish that we could film the march from Selma all the way to Montgomery.”

Brown chapel pastor Rev. Leodis Strong expressed frustrations soon after hearing his church wouldn’t be featured in the movie.

“We met extensively with you and some of your people relative to shooting at Brown Chapel,” Strong said. “We were left waiting to hear back from you guys. We never heard anything back and then to come here today and to hear publicly that there would be no inclusion of Brown Chapel is a slap in the face.”

Many of the attendees also criticized the film’s script and the crew’s methods of gaining information about Bloody Sunday, including civil rights activist Bruce Boynton, who founded the Freedom Riders. Boynton’s mother and father were also civil rights activists and the city council is currently considering naming a street after the family.

After hearing the questions and criticism, Selma Mayor George Evans quickly jumped out of his seat and walked to the center of the convention center’s stage, addressing the audience.

“I believe that when company comes you try to show hospitality, you show them hospitality and show that you appreciate them choosing Selma,” Evans said. “They didn’t originally plan to be here, but through all of the dialogue at our lunchrooms, cafes, hotels and other places, they said ‘we think we need to shoot something here in Selma.’”

The audience responded with a raucous applause.

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