If you haven’t’ already seen it, you’ve certainly heard of it: this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Picture, “Twelve Years a Slave,” has become a household name for its heart-wrenching portrayal of Solomon Northup, an African-American man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841.
But few are aware that the 2013 film was actually the second cinematic telling of the story—the first having been released by PBS in 1984, and called “Solomon Northup’s Odyssey.”
That’s precisely why the March on Washington Film Festival, now in its second year, chose to screen the PBS version on Tuesday as a preview to this year’s festival.
“The focus of the entire film festival is the untold or lesser told stories of the civil rights movement. A focus on the thousands of men and women who courageously worked to make this nation whole,” explained Film Festival founder Robert Raben. “When we discovered that “Twelve Years a Slave” was actually the second version of this obscure work, we thought that showing the first version was a perfect representation of what we’re talking about. So much of history is simply not told.“
The multi-city film festival will launch July 21, and in Washington will offer free screenings of civil-rights-related films at venues around the city.