Amazing news! Pioneer filmmaker Julie Dash has officially signed on to direct an upcoming biopic on Rosa Parks!  The film will revolve around the decade before her legendary moment on a Montgomery bus, when Parks, already an activist of her time, sought justice for 24-year-old wife and mother Recy Taylor, who was brutally gang-raped by six white men in Alabama in 1944.

Dash was brought on to direct having had experience with telling the story of the civil rights activist. She directed the 2002 CBS TV movie The Rosa Parks Story, which starred Angela Bassett.

Per Dash, the film will not only center on Park’s efforts, but also the many other female activists who banded together to defend Taylor and demand justice for the crime (the perpetrators were never arrested, and Taylor’s case was dismissed).

The project is based on the book At the Dark End of the Street by Danielle McGuire, which Lisa Jones (Disappearing Acts) adapted as a screenplay, and hails from Invisible Pictures with Audrey Rosenberg (I Am Not Your Negro) and Jess Jacobs producing for the company along with Gary Riotto and Rachel Watanabe-Batton.

“I jumped at the opportunity to dive head first back into the Rosa Parks story.  Doing the CBS movie, I realized that there was so much more to her life, legacy, and her activism that we didn’t have time in one movie. It was fascinating and just as dramatic as the Montgomery bus boycott, which is what she’s known for, but there is so much more.  This is a great opportunity to revisit Jo Anne Robinson, Claudette Colvin, Recy Taylor, all the people who never really make it into The Rosa Parks Story,” Dash said. “It’s an ensemble cast of feisty activists who changed the course of history and laid the foundation for future civil rights demonstrations.”

Dash continued, “It’s important that black women, who know these stories and have intimate knowledge, that we tell these stories in the manner that they were meant to be told… It’s time to see theses stories in a new light and through a female lens.”

“One of the reasons this story is being told is so that people can connect the dots and see that there’s a continuum,” Dash explained. “Maybe it’s not the back of the bus, but the hypocrisy is the same, the racism is the same, the systemic oppression is the same, and the rape cases are absolutely the same.” Dash said she hope those who see the film will be inspired “with what has been accomplished in the past” and motivated to “understand the bigger picture.”

“There so many things that are happening today that run parallel,” she said.

Ms. Dash is a legendary filmmaker who has paved the way for an entire generation of filmmakers who are pushing forward towards their artistic dreams.  She broke barriers in 1992 by becoming the first African American woman to have a full-length general theatrical release in the United States with her film Daughters of the Dust.  In 1999, the 25th Annual Newark Black Film Festival honored Dash and Daughters of the Dust as being one of the most important cinematic achievements in Black Cinema in the 20th century.  In December 2004, The Library of Congress placed Daughters of the Dust in the National Film Registry where it joined 400 American films preserved as a National Treasures.

In addition to Daughters of the Dust, Ms. Dash has worked on films such Love Song with Monica and Tyrese, and Funny Valentines with Alfre Woodard.  Her work can be seen on upcoming mid-season premiere of the OWN hit series Queen Sugar on October 3 & 4!

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Founder, HBR Media

K. Nicole Mills is the Founder of HBR Media. She transitioned from Wall Street to television and film development, and has worked at NBCUniversal, Universal Pictures, and Showtime Networks. She currently develops digital programming for premium networks. Reach out anytime! info@hbrmedia.org

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