The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wednesday announced that a film about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is among eight that made a shortlist of titles up for a documentary short Oscar.
“The Witness From the Balcony of Room 306,” by Adam Pertofsky, is an account of the King assassination as witnessed by Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles.
The film was among 31 overall submissions for the best documentary short subject category. Documentaries about Cesar Chavez’s grape boycott, gay men in China and historian David McCullough also made the shortlist of eight, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Three to five of them will be named when nominees in all the categories are announced on Jan. 22.
In other MLK news, the civil rights icon’s youngest daughter, Rev. Bernice King, has been ordered by an Atlanta judge to bring intimate correspondence between her father and late mother, Coretta Scott King, to a Fulton County courtroom Tuesday for a hearing to determine the letters’ fate, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
At stake, among other things, is a $1.4 million publishing contract for the autobiography of Mrs. King.
Bernice King, also the administrator of her mother’s estate, has refused to hand over letters and photos for an autobiography she says her mother didn’t want. That pits her against brother Dexter King, who is head of the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr. Inc., or King Inc., the corporation that handles the rights to their father’s works. In May, he signed the contract with Penguin Group, clearing the way for the autobiography of Mrs. King.
Attorneys for King Inc. have asked a Fulton County Superior Court judge for a temporary restraining order forcing Bernice King to relinquish control of her mother’s papers. They cite a 1995 contract signed by Mrs. King and all the King children giving the corporation the rights to any work that exploits relationships with Martin Luther King Jr., including “autobiographies relating to the life of any of the heirs.”