Essence Magazine’s 2021 filmmaker to watch, Lawerence “LAW” Watford has secured rights to the book The Seminarian: Martin Luther King Jr. Comes of Age by Patrick Parr. Watford plans to adapt the book for television via his Tyler Street Films partnership with Jack Manning III and Tiffany Elle Burgess.
The biography, written by Parr and published by Chicago Review Press in 2018, explores the life of a younger Martin Luther King, Jr. during his formative years as a theology student at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. The book made significant waves after its release, specifically because of its examination into King’s romance with Betty Moitz, a white woman who was the daughter of the school dietitian.
“I’m always attracted to stories that have incongruence as a central theme, so when I first read about Dr. King’s relationship with Betty Moitz in the press, I was intrigued—as I imagine most people probably were,” said Watford in a press statement.
The emerging writer and director stresses that his intentions for the project will go far beyond the sensationalism of this one controversial romance.
“We’re always aware of the ways in which our heroes have impacted us during our formative years, but it’s rare that we get an authentic glimpse into the events and people that shaped them into these legendary people we celebrate today,” Watford shared. “We also never get an opportunity to envision them, truly and fully as human beings. So the goal is to introduce us to the variety of people that influenced MLK’s life during that time.”
Watford has gained attention for telling complex stories which focus on social narratives. The Brooklyn native was recently named one of Essence Magazine’s 7 Black Independent Filmmakers to Watch for his short film Catharsis, which was recently acquired by Revolt TV. The drama tells the story of a Black mother who confronts the District Attorney who refused to prosecute the NYPD officer responsible for her son’s death.
Be sure to support the up and coming filmmaker as he continues to uncover a world of niche narratives. Look out for his next story which tackles a different side of Dr. King’s legacy people have never seen before.