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Roxy to show “Woodlawn”

High school football, religion and race relations are embedded in the culture of Alabama. The makers of the movie “Woodlawn” combine all three elements in the critically-acclaimed film, which will show Aug. 12 at the historic Roxy Theatre in downtown Russellville.

Show time is 7 p.m. and admission is $5.

In the movie, a gifted Alabama high school football player must learn to boldly embrace his talent and his faith as he battles racial tensions on and off the field. The film is based on the true story of how love and unity overcame hate and division in early 1970s Birmingham. Tony Nathan (Caleb Castille) lands in a powder keg of anger and violence when he joins fellow African-American students at Woodlawn High School after its government-mandated desegregation in 1973. The Woodlawn Colonels football team is a microcosm of the problems at the school and in the city, which erupts in cross burnings and riots.

Coach Tandy Geralds (Nic Bishop), who later enjoyed great success at Deshler High School in Tuscumbia, is at a loss to solve these unprecedented challenges with his disciplinarian ways. It’s only when Hank (Sean Astin), an outsider who has been radically affected by the message of hope and love he experienced at a Christian revival meeting, convinces Geralds to let him speak to the team that something truly remarkable begins to happen.

More than 40 players, nearly the entire team, black and white, give their lives over to the “better way” Hank tells them is possible through following Jesus, and the change is so profound in them it affects their coach, their school and their community in ways no one could have imagined. The Colonels make a run at the state playoffs led by Nathan, who becomes a Birmingham sports superstar and attracts the attention of legendary University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant (Jon Voight).

The movie is rated PG and lasts two hours and four minutes. Church groups that might want to attend the movie can also find teaching and discussion resources online at www.woodlawn.com. The historic Roxy Theatre will open the doors at 6 p.m., and the show will start at 7. Popcorn, candy and drinks will be served at the concession area.

Future events at the Roxy can be found at Historic Roxy Theatre on Facebook or at www.historicroxytheatre.com. Proceeds from the movie help with preservation efforts of the theatre by the Franklin County Arts and Humanities Council.

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