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Home | Video Series | Art House | Art House Extra | Abolitionist John Brown Goes to the Movies

Art House Extra | Abolitionist John Brown Goes to the Movies

Art House Extra

It would appear abolitionist John Brown is having his moment in the popular culture spotlight.

Two recently released films feature the noted border warrior. “The Good Lord Bird,” starring Ethan Hawke, is a limited series now on Showtime. And “Emperor,” released earlier this year, is streaming on Amazon.

Two local filmmakers, though, are watching recent interest in Brown as a film topic with a mix of bemusement and gratitude.

You see, decades ago Kevin Willmott and Mitch Brian collaborated on a script they titled “Shields Green & The Gospel of John Brown,” which told the tale through the eyes of one of his Black collaborators.

The two then-struggling filmmakers ultimately managed to sell the script in Hollywood for a tidy sum, only to see nothing come of it.

“It was like we had won the lottery, because we were both down to our last nickel and we just got lucky,’’ Brian recalled.

Now the new movies have Brian wondering what might have been.

“Time’s caught up with us,” Brian said. ”John Brown was very good for us, even though we didn’t get to see it come to fruition as we envisioned it.”

For more watch the attached video.

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