Shuttlesworth movie

By RACHAEL HEADLEY, Features Editor

Martin Luther King, James Bevel and Malcom X are some of the first names that come to mind when thinking of the Civil Rights Movement, but for Andrew Manis there is one that stands out from the rest: Fred Shuttlesworth.

Manis, a history professor at Middle Georgia State College and 1976 Samford alumnus, met Shuttlesworth 37 years ago while visiting his uncle in Cincinnati. Moved by his passion and his story, Manis decided that someone needed to tell it. In 1986, Manis began the process of writing Shuttlesworth’s biography.

Twelve years and countless hours later, the University of Alabama Press published his book, “A Fire You Can’t Put Out.”

shuttlesworth movie“Fred Shuttlesworth is so powerful and charismatic,” Manis said. “He is the most unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Although getting Shuttlesworth’s story in print was an achievement for Manis, he still had not yet reached his final goal.

“There’s so much drama in [his] story,” Manis said. “I said to myself, ‘One day, this will be a movie.’”

Four years ago, Manis received a call from a producer in California that wanted to move forward with an adaptation of the book. The lead ended up being a dead end for the movie, but Manis did not give up hope. Although the partnership did not work out, he gained an important asset from it: screenwriter Denise Snaer.

“The [screenwriter] was very dedicated to the project,” Manis said. “So even after it didn’t work out with the producer, we continued to work together.”

Currently, Manis has found a pathway to production, but first needs to fundraise for the screenwriter and additional fees. He is in the midst of a “Kickstart campaign” to raise money for the completion of the script and promotion.

Manis said that if everything goes “ideally,” the team will spend the next three to four months finishing the scripts and will begin meeting with agents by the summer or early fall. A year of production will ensue and hopefully the feature film would be in theaters by late 2016 or early 2017.

To learn more about the Kickstarter campaign and the plans for the film, visit the Facebook page “A Fire You Can’t Put Out.”


Photo courtesy of Andrew Manis

The proposed feature film is based on Andrew Manis’s 1999 biography “A Fire You Can’t Put Out.”


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