Virginia Film Festival: The Loving Story

Posted on November 5, 2011 by

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“I’m honored that my parents stood up for what they believed in.” The words of Peggy Loving, daughter of Richard and Mildred Loving. Their story, their courage saw the dissolve of legal structures that kept segregation in Virginia – anti-miscegenation, or interracial marriage.

This documentary is a film about legal history, about Civil Rights, but most importantly, it’s a love story. In the words of Nancy Buirski, Director and Producer, “It’s a love story. How compelling is that?”

Loving Story

By Grey Villet, LIFE

Buirski and Elisabeth Haviland James, Producer and Editor, set out together to bring the heart of the story to life, which was accomplished through “getting lucky,” as they put it, or uncovering reels after reels of original film with the Lovings. The film is comprised of these interviews with the Lovings, some from 1963, black and white 16mm camera, some from 1967-68, in color, after the case was won – all by Hope Ryden, who followed the Lovings story from 1965 to 1967, first with Robert Drew & Associates and secondly with ABC News. There is also footage of the attorneys as they worked on the case, and vintage photography taken by LIFE photographer Grey Villet. The fly-on-the-wall film style, or cinema verité, and the intimacy of the photography, do exactly what they set out to do – bring the heart of this family, this couple, even the attorneys, to life.

Panel_Loving Film

L-R: Barbara Parrott (moderator), Grace Hale (UVA), Elisabeth Haviland James (Producer/Editor), Peggy Loving (daughter), Philip J. Hirschkop (attorney in Loving v. Virginia), Nancy Buirski (Director), and Peter Wallenstein (VA Teach)

The entire audience stayed after the film to hear from the panel, many thanking the panel for their work, and for the Lovings. One girl, a UVA student, stood up in tears to thank Peggy specifically, for her parents’ courage to do what they did, stating that she was the product of an interracial marriage, and would not be here today without them.

“I love what they’ve done, and I think my parents would be proud,” added Peggy Loving.

The film is to be featured nationally in select theaters, as well as DVD and educational distribution. The movie will also premiere on HBO on Valentine’s Day, 2012.

The Loving Story Poster

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