Anthony Mackie to Make Directorial Debut with New Film on Unsung Civil Rights Pioneer Claudette Colvin; “King Richard” Breakout Saniyya Sidney Set to Star

Anthony Mackie and Saniyya Sidney

Anthony Mackie has set his feature directorial debut with Spark. The drama will star Saniyya Sidney as Claudette Colvin, an unsung pioneer of the Civil Rights era. Sidney is coming off a breakout performance as Venus Williams in King Richard. Mackie is producing with Kellon Akeem, Jason Michael Berman and Marc Ambrose.

Colvin was 15-years-old when she bravely stood up to racism, getting arrested after refusing to give up her seat on a crowded segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. This was nine months before Rosa Parks became a symbol of the Civil Rights era symbol for courageously doing essentially the same thing. Initially embraced by Civil Rights leaders for her courage, Colvin was brushed out of history when those same civic leaders decided a poor, dark-skinned teenage girl would not be the ideal face for their public campaign.

The film will be a co-production between Make it with Gravy Productions, Mansa Productions, Mandalay Pictures in Association with Ambergreen Entertainment. Niceole R. Levy, who worked with Mackie on The Banker, is writing it. The filmmakers have the life rights of Colvin and are working with her family. They’ve also secured rights to Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose.

Said Colvin: “67 years ago, when history glued me to the seat of that bus in Montgomery, I could never have imagined that standing up for my rights could spark a movement that would change the course of history. It is really an honor to have my story retold, by Mr. Mackie, for future generations to learn about our past so they can move forward knowing that progress is possible, and things do get better. I hope my story will inspire youth to continue to fight for civil rights and human dignity.”

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SOURCE: Deadline, Mike Fleming Jr