Controversy comes to head at Capri Theatre board meeting

Controversy comes to head at Capri Theatre board meeting

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A controversy involving the Capri Theatre in Montgomery came to a head at Tuesday night's meeting of the Board of Directors.

The theater prides itself on showing independent films, but the board's recent decision to cancel the screening of "Atticus v. The Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman," a documentary about the Don Siegelman case, caused a conflict.

A private group rented The Capri to show a documentary that was critical of the prosecution and conviction of former Governor Siegelman. One of theater's board members is a former prosecutor who is criticized in the film, and the board ultimately voted to rescind the rental and not allow the showing. That upset a lot of people.

Many felt the decision went against the mission of the Capri to be an independent movie house that presents films not always shown by the big chains. Board members say their decision was based on their belief that the documentary defamed board member Leura Canary, who was a prosecutor at the time of Siegelman's trial.

A motion was made Tuesday night to take another vote on the issue, but it was not seconded, so it didn't happen. Long-time supporters of the Capri were disappointed.

"We've always been an independent organization and shown films with a diversity of views, a diversity of subject matters, that independent tradition and if you will a tradition of respecting free speech and the right of people to see things and make up their own mind," said Randal Williams, the former President of  the Capri Community Film Society. "That has been the history and tradition of the Capri. And I'm afraid the decision that has been made goes against that tradition. And is an unfortunate one."

Mr. Williams also told us that the board continues to not allow the showing of "Atticus v. The Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman" even though none of the board members have actually seen it. He also says the film society will continue to support the Capri, but they will continue to try to convince  the Board to change its mind on the showing of the documentary.

We asked members of the Capri Board for comment tonight but they declined so speak to us.

Chip Hill, a spokesman for the Siegleman family sent us this statement:

"Leura Canary should absolutely bring legal action if she feels she has been defamed. Her husband threatened to sue in 2002 when we first tried to have her recused from the Siegelman case due to her gross conflicts of interest. I just wish one of them would follow through and actually file suit because my single greatest wish is for Bill and Leura Canary to sit for a deposition and have to answer questions under oath about their roles in the Siegelman case."

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