JONESVILLE — On Saturday at 7 p.m., the Starmount Crossing Cinema in Jonesville will host a screening of “The Red Cape,” a short documentary about the overthrow of the government in Wilmington by a white supremacist group. Immediately following the screening, film director, writer and co-producer Nelson Oliver will speak at a reception at The Liberty on Main Street in Elkin.
As a native of Jonesville who now works for Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks Studio, this project has been a labor of love and passion for Oliver since discovering the history in 2005. In 2007, Oliver was joined by producing partner, Brendon Murphy, who has continued to work with Oliver on “The Red Cape” even while working on visual effects for such hits as “The Walking Dead.”
The film focuses on events of the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot at a time when the American South was recovering from the Reconstruction Period. During Reconstruction, those who had previously been involved with the Confederacy were often held accountable for the Civil War. This and the misguided perspective of white supremacists lead to a continuation of hostilities long after the guns had ceased to fire.
In 1898, Aflred Moore Waddell became mayor of Wilmington after overthrowing a biracial city council, where he remained in office until 1905. Considered the only successful coup d’état in United States history, this event served to continue racism and acts of extreme violence such as the arson of the black-owned newspaper building, The Daily Record, depicted in the film.
Will Purcell, who worked on the “Hunger Games,” served as special effects supervisor for “The Red Cape” and was able to recreate the scene on the site where The Daily Record had previously stood thanks to the cooperation of the property owner and city officials.
“The movie is about an interesting little known historical event that deserves attention,” asserted Wells Stewart, who was able to see the film at the sold-out screening in Wilkesboro. “Hopefully, we can learn from mistakes in the past. Those who ignore history are prone to repeat the same types of mistakes.”
Tickets for the film are $10, although the reception is free with a cash bar featuring beverages from the Angry Troll microbrewery in the lower level of The Liberty.
According to Andrew Smith, manager at Starmount Crossing Cinema, “There has been an unusual amount of pre-sale tickets sold.” To avoid missing tickets for the screening, Stewart recommended those interested purchase tickets online at starmountcinema.com.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.