The 1970's was not far from the memories of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's, especially for Alabama. An upcoming film based on a true story entitled Woodlawn, tells how a football team at Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama overcame the racial tensions of the early 1970's.
The film focuses on the real life story of Woodlawn High School running back, Tony Nathan (Caleb Castille), who went on to play college football for the University of Alabama under Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant (Jon Voight) and professional football for the Miami Dolphins. Coming off the heels of the Civil Rights Era and into a new decade, Nathan finds himself as an African-American student in an integrated high school that is racially divided.
Unlike other historical films that show the atrocities of racsim, which leaves you feeling angry and empty when the credits roll, Woodlawn is different. The film gives us the opportunity to see that racial tensions can indeed be abandoned. The film begins to take a positive turn when the high school football team is challenged to put their faith in Christianity and the teachings of Jesus.
One of the men involved in the spiritual renewal of the team is Hank Erwin, (Sean Astin), the team's chaplain. Because of the spiritual revival Erwin is part of, the football team's coach, Tandy Gerelds (Nic Bishop), is inspired to allow African-American players an opportunity to play in football games.
The spiritual awakening that sparks forgiveness and unity at Woodlawn High School begins to spread throughout the city of Birmingham and eventually onto their football rival, Banks High School. These two schools eventually play each other at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama in front of the largest crowd that ever attended a high school football game in the state.
Whether you agree with the faith presented in this film or not, one couldn't help, with all of the racial tensions we see in the news today, to want to see a movie that actually happened where racism becomes tolerance, despair becomes hope, emptiness becomes fulfillment, and hate becomes love. A movie that is based on a true story that demonstrates racism being conquered because of a spiritual awakening as is presented in Woodlawn is a much definite relief for our country and is most needed for America right now more than ever.
Woodlawn opens in theaters October 16, 2015 and stars Sean Astin, Caleb Castille, Nic Bishop, Sherri Shepherd and Jon Voight.