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Civil Rights Drama ‘Praying for Sheetrock’ in the Works as Feature Film (EXCLUSIVE)

Enderby Entertainment is developing a feature film based on Melissa Fay Greene’s civil rights drama “Praying for Sheetrock,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The non-fiction book, published in 1991, was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, Georgia Historical Society Bell Award and the ACLU National Civil Liberties Award.

The story is set in McIntosh County, deep in the pine woods of the Georgia coast, where a white sheriff wielded all the power and a small and isolated African American community was denied access to political power, good jobs, fair housing, and decent education. An unemployed black man, Thurnell Alston, led the way to challenging the sheriff and changed the way of life in the community forever.

“To make a great film, you start with a great story,” said Enderby CEO Rick Dugdale. “As filmmakers, we can only hope to find a writer like Melissa, and we’ve long loved this story and its lyrical Southern storyteller. We live in a time where it’s important to make sure that we don’t forget our past.”

Dugdale and Enderby partner Daniel Petrie, Jr. will produce. Bryan Sullivan will serve as executive producer.

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“An oppressed people, cut off from the outside world, have an intuitive sense of justice and — against all odds — they reach for it, though their audacity endangers them,” said Greene. “This is as moving a story as it’s ever been my privilege to witness and to record, and I’m thrilled that the Enderby Entertainment team is also moved by that historic, but little-known, outcry for freedom.”

Enderby’s producing credits include “Blackway,” starring Anthony Hopkins, Ray Liotta and Julia Stiles; the political thriller “An Ordinary Man,” starring Ben Kingsley and directed by Brad Silberling; and the Intrigo trilogy.

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