Film production company WGTB Productions LLC will be filming a single scene for the movie “The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963” on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. It will eventually air on the Hallmark Channel.
Parking will be restricted on both sides of North Park Square between Church and Cherokee streets from Tuesday at 11 p.m. until Wednesday at 11 a.m., according to a release issued by the city of Marietta.
Marietta police officers will hold traffic while filming is taking place. No streets around the Square will be closed during the film shoot, according to the release. Film crews will work with police to minimize the impact of the shoot on businesses around the Square.
“The Watsons Go to Birmingham” is a period film set in 1963 about the volatile civil rights era in Alabama. Ten to 12 period cars will be parked in the background. Newer cars will not be allowed in the area being filmed.
The film is based on the 1995 young-adults’ novel of the same title by Christopher Paul Curtis.
The plot centers on a 9-year-old African-American boy whose family takes a trip from their home in Flint, Mich., to visit the boy’s grandmother in Birmingham, Ala. They end up experiencing one of the most chilling moments in America’s history: the burning of the Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham during the summer of 1963. That event led to the historic March on Washington, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Production starts in April with Kenny Leon (“Steel Magnolias,” “Raisin in the Sun”) directing from a script written by Tonya Lewis Lee, who is married to movie director Spike Lee.
The Hallmark Channel Original Movie is set to have its World Premiere on Friday, Sept. 20, with a cast that includes Anika Noni Rose, David Alan Grier, Skai Jackson, LaTanya Richardson, Wood Harris, Bryce Jenkins and Harrison Knight, according to Indiewire.com.
Most of next week’s film shoot will take place inside Marietta’s historic Strand Theatre, which was built in 1935 and underwent a $6 million restoration a few years ago. The first shoot will take place in front of the Strand’s ticket booth and is scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday.
The Hallmark movie is being shot at different sites around metro Atlanta, said Ryan Dirkes, the assistant location manager for WGTB Productions.
Dirkes, who was listed on the city’s press release as the contact for more information, said he wasn’t authorized to give out any information about the film or the shoot.