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Director Ava Duvernay went from a successful publicity career to two critically acclaimed indie films I Will Follow and Middle of Nowhere to the helm of a big budget epic and all within the last five years. Duvernay was tapped to take on the events around the 1965 march from Selma To Montgomery led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that was a critical part of the American civil rights movement.

In that march, Black activists attempting the march to the state capitol to register to vote were turned back violently by police while the world watched. It’s said that this propelled Johnson to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (since gutted in a key provision by the current Supreme Court.)

David Oyewolo of The Butler fame stars as King, Dear White People star Tessa Thompson is Denise Neal, who played an unheralded but critical role in the Freedom Rides and Tom Wilkinson plays then-President Lyndon B. Johnson. Common, Wendell Pierce also star. British actress Carmen Ejogo has the unique distinction of being able to say she’s played Coretta Scott King twice – in HBO’s Boycott, which dealt with the Montgomery Bus Boycott 10 years prior to the Selma march and in this movie. (In Boycott, King was played by Ejogo’s real-life husband, Jeffrey Wright.)

Here’s the first look at the trailer for Selma which opens on Christmas Day.

And as a bonus, here’s footage of the actual march across the Edmumd Pettus bridge.

 

 

 

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