The Loving Story

The Loving Story

Executive Producer:
Sound Recordist:
Archival Footage:
Featuring the Photographs of:
  • Grey Villet
Production Company:

* Most external filmography links go to The Internet Movie Database.

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The Loving Story (2011)

Also Known As: Long Way Home: The Loving Story

Opened: 09/16/2011 Limited

Fallbrook 709/16/2011 - 09/22/20117 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Twitter, Facebook

Genre: Documentary

Rated: Unrated


This evocative documentary recounts the little-known story of the Lovings. The marriage of Mildred (who is part-black and part-Native American) and Richard (who is white) was declared illegal in 1958 by their home state of Virginia. They refused to leave one another and, with the help of the ACLU, relentlessly pursued their right to happiness. Their case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where, in 1967, laws against interracial marriage in this country were struck down once and for all. With luminous, newly discovered 16mm footage of the Lovings and their lawyers, first-person testimony and rare documentary photographs, this film takes us behind the scenes of the legal challenges and the emotional turmoil of the landmark case. THE LOVING STORY recreates a seminal moment in history and reflects a timely message of marriage equality in a personal, human love story.

Director's Statement

THE LOVING STORY is an unusual telling of a civil rights story. Though often overlooked among the pantheon of civil rights struggles, Mildred and Richard Lovings' quest to live together as husband and wife in the state of Virginia was a pivotal one. A white man and a part-black, part-Rappahannock woman were in love and did not understand why their marriage was a criminal offense in the eyes of state. Their effort to make this right -- to not live in shame or in exile -- is universal, metaphorically reminding us of oppressed and exiled people everywhere. The Lovings were banished from their home for their commitment to each other, and they fought long and hard to return to it, to love each other within the bosom of their family.

We were fortunate to unearth authentic footage, photographs and interviews from the period, which have been woven into the tales recounted by those who were there at the time or were close to the Lovings. The film takes viewers into the actual time and place as their story unfolds through their own voices and that of others present. Never-before-seen footage and photographs of this very private couple reveal who the Lovings really were, and what it was actually like to marry as a mixed-race couple in the Jim Crow South.

White supremacy groups are growing in the U.S. -- in the very communities that perpetuated and maintained anti-miscegenation laws up to the 1967 Supreme Court ruling. While we've elected the first mixed-race president, we also recently witnessed a Louisiana Justice of the Peace refusing to marry a mixed-race couple. Anti-miscegenation sentiments are at the heart of racial segregation and apparently still alive today. The struggle for same-sex marriage has important civil rights parallels -- both address basic human rights. We believe this nuanced character study, this story of courage and strength, will ignite interest in the tale's morality and create a safe place for people of all beliefs to gather and explore the timeless issues within the film.

-- Nancy Buirski (Director/Producer)

Filmmaker Biographies

Nancy Buriski (Director/Producer/Writer)

Director, producer and curator Nancy Buirski is the founder and was the director the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival for ten years. She produced five collections of Full Frame shorts with Docurama and a library collection of feature-length documentaries, The Katrina Experience. She was executive producer of TED's Pangea Day Film Content. Buirski is a producer of Time Piece, the innovative cross-cultural anthology of Turkish and American shorts (directors, Albert Maysles, Alex Gibney, Nathanial Khan, Edet Belzberg and Sam Pollard, among others), Harlem Woodstock (director, Alex Gibney) and Althea (director, Rex Miller). She is next directing the documentary Tanaquil Le Clercq: Afternoon of a Faun and is producing a fiction version of the Lovings' story. Prior to her work in film, she was a documentary photographer, writing and photographing "Earth Angels: Migrant Children in America," and the foreign picture editor at The New York Times.

Elisabeth Haviland James (Producer/Editor)

Elisabeth Haviland James is a producer, director and editor based in Durham, NC. She is currently directing and producing Lucy: A Portrait, an experimental documentary about writer and psychologist Lucy Daniels. She is also adapting Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Marlette's novel "Magic Time" for the screen. James is a consulting producer to the narrative feature Oka! Amerikee, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival. Her other recent credits include producer of The Good Fight and co-producer of The Lord God Bird, both directed by George Butler. She served as director of photography and editor on Brothers in Arms, featuring Senator John Kerry, during the 2004 election. Ms. James has worked as a director, producer, cinematographer, photographer and editor with a number of media clients, including White Mountain Films, Roland Films, National Geographic, PBS and MTV. She is a graduate of the M.A. Program in Documentary Film and Video at Stanford University, where she produced and directed four award-winning short documentaries. Her thesis film, Net Loss, was awarded the Nicholas Roosevelt Award for Environmental Journalism. Her other short films include Flaunt, Worms at Work, and Precipice, a national finalist for the 2002 Academy Award in the Student Documentary category.

Marshall Sonenshine (Executive Producer)

After beginning his career in law, Marshall Sonenshine became a banker with Salomon Brothers in 1986. In 1989, he joined Wolfensohn & Company, the M&A boutique headed by former Salomon Brothers' head of banking Jim Wolfensohn and U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, and became partner in 1992. He served as part of the leadership team that merged Wolfensohn first into Bankers Trust, where he headed both the Media and Aerospace/Transportation M&A practices, and later into Deutsche Bank, where he was asked to serve as co-head of M&A. Mr. Sonenshine is an adjunct professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School and is a frequent speaker and expert on financial markets and corporate transactions. He has advised on numerous leading transactions worldwide, such as Disney/ABC, Sony/Columbia Pictures, AIG/International Lease Finance, GE/GPA Group plc, Chancellor/Capstar (Later Clear Channel), and the Restructuring of the Philadelphia Inquirer and News. Mr. Sonenshine is chairman of the Harvard Law School Fund, trustee and chairman of development for Jazz at Lincoln Center and for the International Center of Photography, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the New York Tri State Committee of the Democratic National Committee. He and his wife, Dr. Therese Rosenblatt Sonenshine, live in New York and have three sons.