The Watsons Go to Birmingham

Last month I had the wonderful opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the production of the made for television film, The Watson’s Go To Birmingham. It is being presented by Walmart and P&G as part of the Walden Family Theater a new destination for family films on  Hallmark Channel. The movie is based on the children’s book of the same name written by Christopher Paul Curtis.
Author Christoper Paul Curtis

Not only was I able to get a sneak peak at production but I also was able to speak to Christopher Paul Curtis and the producers Tonya Lewis Lee (she is also the screenwriter) and Nikki Silver.
Nikki Silver, Tonya Lewis Lee and Me

But first, a brief synopsis of the story. I admit that I was not familiar with the story before being invited to the set. So, I purchased the book and read it before I went to visit the set. The story takes place in Detroit in 1963 and describes a family visit to see grandma in Birmingham with the intention of the oldest son, 15 year old Byron staying for a summer to get “straightened” out after poor behavior. In contrast to Byron is bookish 11 year old Kenny and they also have a younger sister, 8 year old Joetta.

Although my son at 6 is still too young to read this book, I will certainly read it with him when he is older so that we can discuss the themes that were relevant to that era in our history. After speaking to both the author and the executive producers, it became quite clear that the point of both the book and the film is to inspire conversation about a difficult period in American history among families.

I was truly inspired by the passion that everyone involved in the project expressed and am looking forward to the film airing in the fall. Since we are approaching summer, if you have an older child, I think it is the perfect time to read the Watsons Go To Birmingham and then you can watch the film when school is back in session. More than anything it is about familial relationships and it is a story that is worth reading and seeing. With a cast that includes Anike Noni Rose, Wood Harris, David Alan Grier and Latanya Richardson Jackson this film is sure to be a hit and I can’t wait to see it! I’ll be sure to remind you when the film will air because this is truly “can’t miss tv” for the entire family! 

I loved seeing the period clothing

David Allan Grier and Wood Harris on set

retro cars were all over set


Krystel Spell said…
I love these type of period or era movies. I can't wait to watch !

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