The short version of the story goes… in 1848, William and Ellen Craft made one of the most daring and remarkable escapes in the history of slavery in America. With fair-skinned Ellen disguised as a white male planter, and William posing as her servant, the Crafts traveled by rail and ship in plain sight and relative luxury – from bondage in Macon, Georgia, to freedom, first in Philadelphia, then Boston, and ultimately England. Their thrilling story is told in the book, “Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom,” which the couple actually wrote in the 1860s, and was republished in 1999 on paperback, by the University of Georgia Press, and just last summer (2015) as a hardcover by Andesite Press.
Now a film adaptation of their story is in development at Alloy Entertainment and Alloy Features, with Suzanne Allain attached to script the adaptation of “Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom.”
Les Morgenstein and Elysa Dutton of Alloy Features are producing.
No other details on the project are available at this time, given how early in the process it is.
This book has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is in the public domain in the USA, meaning no individual or corporation has a copyright on the work.
I know some of you will immediately turn your noses up at this, as yet another “slave movie.” But I would argue that this is one slavery-related narrative that I’d like to see on the big screen, which could play out as more of a thriller than maybe what we’re used to. Let’s just say that we’re entering a second phase of slave narratives on film, in which the stories center more and more on slaves who acted, by any means necessary, on their freedom, with the likes of Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation,” as well as the Underground Railroad mini-series which is being billed as more of an action-adventure series, promising a slave narrative the likes of which we haven’t seen before.
Research tells me that there has been at least one filmed dramatization of the Crafts’ story of escape from slavery, although not a feature, and it appears it was made for educational purposes primarily via an outfit called The Phoenix Learning Group; at least, they are selling the 29-minute film on their website to grade schools, high schools and colleges. However I couldn’t find anything related to the film, like when exactly it was made, who stars in it, etc. Although you can tell it’s nothing that was produced in recent years.
I did find a clip from the short film below, thanks to YouTube.
Deadline was first to report the news on the Alloy Entertainment project.