From Book to Documentary to Narrative

For those who have followed the journey of our feature adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Slavery by Another Name, you already know the documentary version of the same book is competing at Sundance.

Douglas A. Blackmon, the book’s author and the documentary’s Executive Producer, tweeted this morning the opening night’s packed house rose to their feet in applause.

As I read his tweet, I grinned. I couldn’t help but think back on the long journey Doug and I have had together the past three years. From my tireless efforts to get the adaptation gig, endless hours of condensing 80 years of U.S. history into a dramatic, entertaining story, to the countless rewrites.

Our goal was always to have the feature script solid by the time the doc premiered.

I am delighted to say, she is ready.

Why did it take so long to write? Because that’s what this subject matter deserves.

As my Daddy always says, “If you’re not going to do something right, don’t do it at all.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Many people have asked me if knowing there was a separate documentary version made it harder for us to write the adaptation. On the contrary, it liberated us from the burden of teaching a history lesson. We were free to focus on creating an engaging, gripping, horrific tale that reaches every emotion a moviegoer can handle… and even some they can’t.

I’m confident when you watch the documentary, you’ll understand why this project has been so deeply important to us.

I look forward to the day I can share the news our adaptation will be coming to a theatre near you. Until then, watch the documentary, which originally aired on PBS February 13th, but now can be seen online for free. The DVD is also available on the PBS site.

You might even give it a standing ovation in your living room.

Watch Slavery by Another Name 30 second promo on PBS. See more from Slavery by Another Name.

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