As a Baylor student from Houston, I often drove through the small town of Hearne (population 4,690) headed to and from home along Highway 6. About the only thing I knew about Hearne was that it had two convenient pit stops, a Sonic and a Dairy Queen (like most Texas small towns).
But like most small towns, Hearne also has its stories. One of those stories — which prominently features a Baylor Law School alumnus and his professor — had made its way to the big screen under the title “American Violet.” Short plot summary: A young black mother of four is arrested on false allegations that name her as a drug dealer; she refuses to plead guilty and instead fights the charges.
In the real-life version of the story, the ACLU lawyers who picked up the case asked Baylor Law professor Mark Osler for help handling a small-town Texas trial. Osler recommended a recent Baylor Law graduate, David Moore, to work the case. In the movie, Osler (fictionalized as “Joe Fischer”) plays a small role, but the part based on Moore (“Sam Conroy”) is a central character throughout the movie.
The film was screened in Hearne last night and will be shown tonight at 7:30 at Baylor’s Mayborn Museum (admission is free). The audience will include Osler, Moore, and the actor playing the part based on Moore, Will Patton. (You might recognize Patton from his role as an assistant coach in “Remember the Titans.”)
“American Violet” was screened at the Telluride Film Festival last summer and the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin earlier this month; it will enjoy a limited release nationwide beginning in April. Click here for the movie trailer; for more on the film and the story behind it, read more on Osler’s blog or this piece from the Waco Tribune-Herald.
Sic ’em, alumni who make a difference!