Based on true events during the 2000 election, AMERICAN VIOLET tells the astonishing story of Dee Roberts (critically hailed newcomer Nicole Beharie), a 24 year-old African American single mother of four young girls living in a small Texas town who is barely able to make ends meet.
While police drag Dee from work in handcuffs, dumping her in the squalor of the women’s county prison, the powerful local district attorney (Academy Award ® nominee Michael O’Keefe) leads an extensive drug bust, sweeping her housing project with military precision. Dee soon discovers she has been charged as a drug dealer.
Even though Dee has no prior drug record and no drugs were found on her in the raid, she is offered a hellish choice: plead guilty and go home as a convicted felon or remain in prison, jeopardizing her custody and risking a long prison sentence.
She chooses to fight the district attorney and the unyielding ccustody and risking a long prison sentence.
She chooses to fight the district attorney and the unyielding criminal justice system, risking everything in a battle that forever changes her life and the Texas justice system. AMERICAN VIOLET also stars Academy Award ® nominee Alfre Woodard, Emmy Award ® winner Charles S. Dutton, Tim Blake Nelson, Will Patton and Xzibit.
NOTE: American Violet was initially inspired by an NPR story by Wade Goodwyn. [See also A Drug War’s Collateral Damage]
That was six years ago. Much of the film was informed by thousands of pages of information provided on a range of stories by the ACLU among others. A variety of media reports and legal documents, including sworn testimony, depositions and affidavits, all of which can be found on the public record also helped us find authentic patterns and voices for our storytelling. Finally, taped interviews with community members who had experienced circumstances similar to those outlined in our work proved useful.
However, American Violet is not a documentary. It is a narrative feature film that is, as it says, based on true events. Some scenes and characters have been fictionalized for dramatic effect and have no relationship to the historical record. Names have been changed to protect the innocent and also to protect this film.
The movie has a blog here. Below is the trailer: