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Klan roots to civil rights leader: Film tells Alabama story

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The cinematic story of the son of a Klansman becoming a leading student figure in the civil rights movement is moving ahead, with filming planned in Alabama.

“Son of the South” will begin shooting in November in Montgomery, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

The movie will be based on Alabama native Bob Zellner’s story and his book, “The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement.”

The book details Zellner’s transformation from descendant of Klansmen to the field director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. That group was at the forefront of civil rights era sit-ins and freedom rides.

Montgomery native Barry Alexander Brown wrote the script for the movie and will also direct it.

Brown is known for his long history of editing director Spike Lee’s films, which has earned him several accolades from film critics, the Montgomery newspaper reported.

“For me, I wanted to make a film about the South,” Brown said, adding that he felt the tone and style of movies never usually matches the place he grew up. The ability to tell Zellner’s story, which he said has been a longtime plan of his, has finally provided that opportunity.

Brown said he wants to bring talent in from across the county, but also bring in local talent to the film that he believes is underutilized in the industry.

The opportunity to film in Montgomery would help to create a nuanced movie that reaches back into one of the nation’s most tumultuous times, Brown said.

“I knew that I could write a film that would be the real place. That would have humor. Real people,” he said. “Even the worst of the people in the film are real human beings. They might have some part of them that isn’t good, isn’t nice, but they are real people.”

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