Buirski also producing Alex Gibney’s concert documentary Harlem Woodstock.
Filmmaker Nancy Buirski, who was at Tribeca last week with her directorial debut feature documentary The Loving Story, is currently writing a script for a fictional feature film inspired by the same story.
The project is about Mildred Loving and her husband Richard Loving, who were an interracial married couple who were convicted of violating anti-miscegenation laws, and took their fight all the way to the Supreme Court in a landmark 1967 case.
Buirski was a documentary photographer and New York Times Foreign Picture Editor before she founded the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, NC. In 2008, she left her director post to become a Full Frame consultant and produce films. That year she read an obituary of Mildred Loving which inspired her to direct the documentary (which she also produced with Elisabeth Haviland James).
“They were such compelling protagonists and such unlikely heroes. I thought this story needed to be told, and needed to be told in depth. I wanted to make it human,” she told Screen.
The project grew in 2010 when Buirski found a filmmaker, Hope Ryden, who had documented the court case in 1965 and had unseen footage that had been sitting in a closet for 44 years. “It was cinema verite style, it wasn’t just any shooting, it was excellent shooting,” Buirski said. She also used archival still photos from former LIFE magazine photographer Grey Villet.
HBO will present the US TV premiere of The Loving Story in February 2012.
Buirski also plans to produce the narrative feature, and there is “an exciting director attached” who will be announced at a later date.
As a producer, Buirski is also working on Althea Gibson documentary Althea and The Mystery of The Moulin Rouge, about a short-lived integrated casino in 1950s Las Vegas.
She is also producing (with Hal Tulchin) Alex Gibney’s Harlem Woodstock, about The Harlem Festival of 1969, six free weekend outdoor concerts in New York in the summer of 1969 – the same year Woodstock captured more public attention. Artists performing at the festival included Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, BB King, Nina Simone and Gladys Knight. John Legend will executive produce that documentary.