Directed by Nancy Buirski, The Loving Story as the documentary is called, centers on a real-life story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple living in the state of Virginia where interracial coupling was illegal, and their struggles, including the US Supreme Court case named after them – Loving vs Virginia (1967), the landmark civil rights case in which the United States Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, declared Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute, unconstitutional, overturning existing laws and bringing an official end to all race-based restrictions on marriage in the United States.
Persecuted by a local sheriff, the Lovings (he was white, she was part black and part Cherokee) were found guilty of violating Virginia’s law against interracial marriage and forced to leave the state. But Mildred Loving chose to fight. She wrote a letter to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy asking for help .He referred her to the ACLU and two young attorneys took the case. Drawing on extensive archival footage, and on contemporary interviews with the family and the attorneys, the film vividly brings a monumental court case to life.
The film was shortlisted for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar.
The HBO co-production, which has been touring the film festival circuit over the last year, debuted on HBO in February 2012; it’s now heading to home video, scheduled to be released on DVD on May 14th, so consider this your early reminder.
Watch this 1967 4-minute report on the couple’s case:
And here’s the doc’s trailer: