Sundance Productions, Smoking Dogs Films, and Cactus Three today announced THE MARCH, a new documentary honoring the 50th anniversary of the original March on Washington, a watershed moment in the Civil Rights
Movement. Unprecedented in size, the August 28, 1963 massive demonstration for racial and economic equality issued a clarion call for racial justice that would help usher in sweeping civil rights legislation and a sea change in public opinion. The event, which will forever be remembered for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s stirring “I Have a Dream” speech, endures today as a symbol of unity and monumental impact. Produced by Lina Gopaul and David Lawson, THE MARCH is directed by John Akomfrah, with Krysanne Katsoolis, Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn as Executive Producers. Sam Pollard is Consulting Producer, with Gina Belafonte as Associate Producer. THE MARCH premieres on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS.
In addition to the U.S. premiere on PBS, THE MARCH will be screened by international broadcast co-producers the BBC and France 3.
THE MARCH reveals the dramatic story behind the event through the remembrances of key players such as Jack O’Dell, Clarence B. Jones, Julian Bond and Andrew Young. Supporters and other testimonials of the March include Harry Belafonte, Diahann Carroll, Roger Mudd, Peter Yarrow and Oprah Winfrey in addition to historians, journalists, authors and ordinary citizens who joined some 250,000 Americans who thronged to the capital on that momentous day to peacefully demand an end to two centuries of discrimination and injustice.
“Viewers turn to PBS to provide great programs that explore our nation’s history,” said Beth Hoppe, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming. “The 50th anniversary of this major milestone provides the perfect opportunity to examine the legacy of the original March.”
“The story of people who suffered profound injustice in America and fought it with sacrifice and courage is something we should never forget,” said Executive Producer Robert Redford. “I hope the generations who see this film will be inspired by it.”
With exhaustive research and deploying remarkable rare archival footage, THE MARCH recounts the dramatic events that took place not only in front of the cameras but behind the scenes, revealing how one of the most important events in the Civil Rights Movement almost didn’t happen, told by those who refused to back down and whose lives it forever changed.
“The March is the watershed moment of the Civil Rights Movement, the culmination of a hundred years of activism against segregation and social injustice for people of color in the U.S.,” said director John Akomfrah. “Re-telling this story is my small contribution to that monumental struggle.”
In addition to the broadcast of THE MARCH, PBS will honor the 50th anniversary with a full week of special online programming and events. PBS Black Culture Connection website will unveil The March @50, a new web series by Shukree Hassan Tilghman (More Than a Month), which asks if America has delivered on the original demands of the marchers for jobs and freedom. PBS member stations will be sparking community engagement with Memories of the March, a series of video vignettes featuring first-person accounts from those who were present at the event or whose lives were impacted by the March. PBS Black Culture Connection will host a full day of special events and activities on the anniversary, including live chats, film screenings, and hosted discussions on a variety of issues and topics.