State tourism leaders counting on 'Selma' movie to change perceptions

(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Published: Jan. 9, 2015 at 7:51 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 24, 2015 at 3:48 PM CST
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(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

SELMA, AL (WSFA) - Long before the movie "Selma" hit the big screen, it had people talking from the Walton Theatre in Selma.

"I am hoping for some recognition for Selma and Dallas County from this film," Willie Carlisle said.

Carlisle says he was among the original marchers during Bloody Sunday. Carlisle was 16-years old at the time.

Lee Sentell agrees. Sentell heads up the Alabama Department of Tourism.

"What was depicted in the movie 50 years ago is not the Alabama today," Sentell said.

This is the very message Sentell hopes the film gets across to audiences nationwide, a message that things have changed for the better.

"This is going to tell a lot of people about the history of civil rights and what happened in Alabama literally changed the world because we had a third of the people in the United States not eligible to vote. It's our job to communicate how Alabama has changed," Sentell said.

Kathy Faulk manages the Alabama Film Office.

"Imagine having a blockbuster, feature film named after a town. What more could you ask for in a state. We believe this will draw interests," Faulk said.

The entire movie was supposed to have been shot in Atlanta, but that all changed when Oprah Winfrey got involved. We're told Winfrey insisted on having real backdrops such as the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

The movie opened Friday across the country. The film is being shown for free in Selma beginning this weekend and every weekend throughout the month of January.

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