Director Sam Pollard has created a new film about the FBI’s extensive surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. MLK/FBI seeks to tell the story of that time in America and King’s challenges as the figurehead of the movement. The film uses archival footage, many of it never seen before and interviews with former FBI director James Coney and authors Donna Murch and Beverley Gage among others who provide a historical and cultural context for the Civil Rights Movement. The film is based on David J. Garrow’s book The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr.: From “Solo” to Memphis.
Pollard uses the film to demystify the ideas he had about the FBI being a completely benevolent organization when he was a child. He also wanted to make the public aware that King’s success as an activist did not cast him as a hero to everyone. J. Edgar Hoover, who was the director of the FBI, feared the rise of a “Black Messiah” and this idea made King a target.
Pollard has addressed race in his past work including 4 Little Girls When The Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts, and Slavery By Another Name. MLK/FBI will open in select theaters and digital and cable VODs on January 15th.