EXCLUSIVE: Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group feature film division, Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, has picked up the worldwide media rights to the critically-acclaimed historic biography From Selma to Sorrow: The Life and Death of Viola Liuzzo.
Written by author/historian Mary Stanton (Journey Toward Justice, Freedom Walk, The Hand of Esau), From Selma to Sorrow traces the life story of Viola Liuzzo—a white housewife, part-time college student, and mother of five children—whose passion for the civil rights movement led to her brutal murder by the Ku Klux Klan immediately following her participation in the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches of 1965. Liuzzo’s story will be told through the eyes of her very best friend, Sarah Evans, an African-American woman who introduced her to the civil rights movement and raised Liuzzo’s five children after her untimely death.
While Liuzzo is the only white woman honored at the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, 55 years after her murder, she remains an enigma. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at Liuzzo’s funeral, and her murder motivated President Lyndon Johnson to galvanize support to achieve civil rights legislation.
Many saw Liuzzo as a dedicated civil rights activist. However, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover compromised Liuzzo’s reputation, as he crafted a malicious public relations campaign that unfairly portrayed Liuzzo as an unstable woman who abandoned her family to stir up trouble in the South. Hoover desperately tried to cover up the FBI’s relationship with an informant and Klansman who participated in Liuzzo’s murder. The years of unrelenting accusations, innuendos, and lies took a tremendous toll on the lives of Liuzzo’s husband and their five children.
The global media rights for From Selma to Sorrow were acquired by Carolyn Folks, senior executive and Executive Producer of Allen Media Group/Entertainment Studios film and television content. Folks will serve with Allen Media Group Founder/Chairman/CEO Byron Allen as both Producer and Executive Producer of the motion picture.
Tina Andrews wrote the screenplay based on the biography From Selma to Sorrow. Andrews’ numerous credits include writing and co-executive producing the two acclaimed miniseries Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and Sally Hemings: An American Scandal, as well as writing the feature film biopic Why Do Fools Fall in Love starring Halle Berry and Vivica A. Fox. Casting and production on From Selma to Sorrow is scheduled to begin this year.
“Our passion for Viola Liuzzo’s story is unwavering,” said Folks. “We at Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures are committed to presenting Liuzzo’s extraordinary acts of courage and her impactful contribution to the civil rights movement and our history. Viola Liuzzo will not be a forgotten hero.”
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