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Gillian Laub's Southern Rites gets beyond black and white

What started as a film about a town's first integrated prom spun into something bigger following a crime that rocked fragile race relations.
What started as a film about a town's first integrated prom spun into something bigger following a crime that rocked fragile race relations. (Gillian Laub/HBO Documentaries)
Listen18:24

Filmmaker Gillian Laub set out to make a film about the first integrated prom in a small Georgia town, where it seemed racial tensions were beginning to loosen their grip — but that narrative took an abrupt turn with the shooting death of an unarmed 22-year-old black man. 

Laub joins Shad to discuss the resulting film, Southern Rites, a complex and timely examination of fragile race relations in the south. The photojournalist-turned-documentarian believes the story illuminates an American crisis.

"There are no easy villains or martyrs in this situation," says Laub.

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