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April 15, 2009

Film Premiere Hits Home


American Violet, out in limited release today, faced protests from the KKK when it recently premiered at a church in the small Texas town where the movie is set. The NPR reporter who broke the true story the movie is based on covered the event and you can listen to his report here.

The backstory: filmmaker Bill Haney was listening to the radio during his commute in Boston when a story on NPR caught his attention. The story focused on a poor young woman in Hearne, Texas, who was charged with drug possession. She faced intense pressure to plead guilty despite a lack of solid evidence. And she decided to fight back. That young woman's name was Regina Kelly and her story became American Violet, a movie Haney wrote.

Kelly's story shines the light on the racially tense environment in Hearne and on the untold numbers of innocent casualties of the war on drugs. Kelly's faith played a big role in her ability to go up against the local legal establishment and my interview with Kelly and Haney was posted on Tuesday.

Related Tags: American Violet, race, Texas