The architect of 1963’s momentous March on Washington, Bayard Rustin was one of the greatest activists and organizers the world has ever known. He challenged authority, never apologized for who he was, what he believed, or who he desired. And he did not back down. He made history, and in turn, he was forgotten.
It’s 1960 and Rustin (Emmy Award winner Colman Domingo Colman Domingo), with good friend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Aml Ameen), are looking for their next target for passive resistance after the huge success of MLK’s leading the Mobile, Alabama bus boycott that kicked off in 1955 shortly after Rosa Parks was famously arrested and fined for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man, all of which led to the U.S. Supreme Court to force Montgomery to fully integrate its bus systems. The two turned their eyes to the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in 1960 that ultimately nominated Senator John F. Kennedy for president.
Directed by DGA Award and five-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe, Rustin shines a long overdue spotlight on the extraordinary man who, alongside giants like the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Ella Baker, dared to imagine a different world, and inspired a movement in a march toward freedom.
The film kicked off at the Telluride and Toronto International Film Festivals and went on to win audience awards at Heartland and Mill Valley Film Festivals. Along the way, director George C. Wolfe received the Spotlight Award at Mill Valley Film Festival, the inaugural Sherzum Award at the Hamptons Film Festival and will be honored with the Impact Award at the upcoming Middleburg Film Festival.
Rustin is written by Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black and Julian Breece from a story by Breece. It is produced by Academy Award winner Bruce Cohen, Higher Ground’s Tonia Davis and George C. Wolfe, executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, and features an all-star cast including Chris Rock, Glynn Turman, Aml Ameen, Gus Halper, CCH Pounder, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Johnny Ramey, Michael Potts, with Jeffrey Wright and Audra McDonald.
Netflix will release Rustin in select theaters on November 3 and streaming on November 17. Here is the trailer and poster.