Filming ends today in Selma

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 16, 2005

Tonya S. Holly sat clutching a tissue in her hand and she watched a replay of the marching scene.

“Oh my Lord!,” she said tearfully. “It’s just amazing!. We worked so hard and so long to get to this point.”

Holly, the writer, director, and producer for ‘When I Find the Ocean’ was not the only person emotional during Sunday’s shoot.

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“This brings back a lot of memories,” said one marcher as he carried a “Heaven is crying out for justice” sign.

Another marcher stopped by the director’s tent to tell Holly about a song that was sung during the original march in 1965.

“Everybody’s excited today,” Holly said. “This is going to change everything.”

Sunday’s shoot included scenes with Bernie Casey and Lily Holly.

“Lillie paints herself black to help Bernie Casey escape from jail because he is wrongfully accused,” Holly said. “It’s like a girl version of Tom Sawyer.”

It also included scenes depicting voting rights marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

“It’s important to retell their stories and be a part of the movement,” said Karen Watkins-Hall, who drove from Birmingham with her seven year old son Isaiah to be extras. “When we came over for the march (during the Jubilee), we signed up during a casting call.”

Selma natives Diana Tate and Larcena DeLoach agree.

Tate, a 10th grade student at Selma High School said that she just wanted to help out. DeLoach said that being an extra will allow her to learn more about her past.

“It’s going very well,” Holly said. “This is amazing to get to see something that’s been in your mind for such a long time.”

“I came up with the title 11 years ago and started writing it 10 or 11 years ago,” she said. “I put it aside every year and told myself that I was going to finish it. I finished everything four years ago.”

“We have the best cast,” she said. “Bernie Casey is playing the tugboat captain, Diane Ladd is the grandmother, Amy Redford is the mother, Lillie is playing the girl, Lee Majors is the grandfather, and Richard Tyson is the fianc.”

Filming for ‘When I Find the Ocean’ will be completed Monday.

“I want to do this unlike any other film that tried to capture the Selma March,” Holly said. “Most of my people were not here during the march, but devoted a lot of time to make sure that it’s as accurate as possible.”

Holly said that she is also working on a voting rights documentary.

“People must have a voice –

and the only way they are going to have a voice is to vote,” she said.