Docudrama filming in Selma

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Martin Luther King Jr. Street bustled Saturday afternoon as a production staff from Gateway Educational Films shot scenes for the upcoming docudrama “Passing the Torch.”

“We’re doing the story of Bloody Sunday,” said producer Jim Brown. “It’s going to shake up a lot of people when it comes out.”

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Brown and his wife, executive producer Genise Brown, said “Passing the Torch” tells the story of Selma’s courageous youth during the voting rights movement of the 1960s.

“This is the other side of the story because we know about the major players already and their contributions,” Genise said, citing the movement wasn’t solely influenced by “the Martin Luther Kings and the John Lewises.”

“We’re trying to show that the kids crossed that bridge,” Jim said. “The kids got little credit for what they did.”

Based in Atlanta, Gateway Educational Films began production of “Passing the Torch” on Thursday. On Saturday, movie extras – who were mostly children – lingered around Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church and George Washington Carver Homes in hopes they would get some screen time as GWC residents looked on. The docudrama is directed by Larry Gilbert and co-produced by Godfrey King, who is director of the performing arts department at Wallace Community College Selma. Filming is set to wrap today.

Brown said “Passing the Torch” is likely to be released just before Aug. 6 – the 42nd anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The docudrama features Selma notables including attorney J.L. Chestnut, educator and author Amelia Boynton, professor, SNCC member and Freedom Rider Bernard Lafayette, U.S. Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.), minister and National Voting Rights Museum Chair C.T. Vivian, Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. and Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford.

“I’m so eternally grateful that I can sit here and tell this story and it’s some story,” Genise said. “It’s an important story.”