The Austin Film Festival has announced that filmmaker Jeff Nichols’ drama Loving will play on the opening night of this year’s event in Texas, which takes place Oct. 13-20. The film stars Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton as real-life couple Mildred and Richard Loving, who played a crucial role in invalidating laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
“Mildred and Richard got married in ‘57 and the state of Virginia, like a lot of states actually, deemed the marriage to be unlawful under the Miscegenation Act, which means that a white person couldn’t marry a black person,” Negga told EW earlier this year. “So they were banished from their home and had to go and live in Washington. And they tried several times to come back but they were hounded by the local police. And they were both country people from a very small town in Virginia called Bowling Green and basically they just wanted to be married, live their lives, have children, and be surrounded by their family in this place that they grew up.”
“They wanted a very simple life but they wanted to be lawfully married because, why not?” she continued. “Someone said, ‘Why don’t you write a letter to Bobby Kennedy?’ And so she did. And Bobby Kennedy referred her to the American Civil Liberties Union, and two lawyers took up their case and it took them nine years but they overturned the law, which had a domino effect. But it took quite a few years in some states, actually. I was very surprised at how late it took to repeal that law in some states.”
It was also announced today that the Austin Film Festival will host the Texas premiere of Lion, which stars Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. More information about the event’s lineup can be found at the festival’s official website.