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Documentary “Silver Dollar Road” Premieres at 2023 Toronto International Film Festival

The feature-length documentary “Silver Dollar Road,” directed by Oscar-nominated Raoul Peck, is premiering today at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival. The film is based on Lizzie Presser’s award-winning reporting for ProPublica and The New Yorker on Black land loss and the taking of heirs’ property in the South. Co-produced by Velvet Film, ProPublica, JuVee Productions and Amazon MGM Studios, it will be in theaters in New York City and Los Angeles on Oct. 13 and on Prime Video on Oct. 20.

“Silver Dollar Road” follows the Reels family, whose ancestors bought land one generation after slavery on the central coast of North Carolina. As beach-front property became prime real estate in the second half of the 20th century, developers began trying to seize it, driving out Black American families using legal mechanisms through the courts. The Reels embarked on a decades-long journey to save their land, their livelihood, their homes and their history. When brothers Melvin Davis and Licurtis Reels refused to leave the property, going against a court order, they were incarcerated for contempt of court and remained in jail for eight years — becoming two of the longest-serving inmates for civil contempt in U.S. history.

By bringing the land and water of Silver Dollar Road to life and by crafting a film from the voices of the Reels family, Raoul Peck, who directed Oscar-nominated “I Am Not Your Negro,” tells a poignant story of injustice and Black resistance.

The film is produced by Blair Foster, Rémi Grellety, Hérbert Peck and Raoul Peck. It is executive produced by Viola Davis, Julius Tennon, Rob Williams, Lizzie Presser, Almudena Toral, Stephen Engelberg and Robin Sparkman.

Watch the trailer for Silver Dollar Road.

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