Screen » Film

Film Screening: American Violet


Being poor and black isn't a crime. That is, unless the bureaucrats in the town you live in decide it is. Federal money to combat drug trafficking goes to counties with the highest number of drug convictions--legit or not. If you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, you might end up in the fight of your life.

Based on the true story of a series of drug raids in the projects of a small town in Texas in 2000, the film American Violet tells the story of a single mother faced with the choice of pleading guilty to dealing drugs or fighting the system for what she knew to be true. She and 15 others filed suit against District Attorney John Paschall and the South Central Texas Narcotics Task Force. The ensuing lawsuit (Regina Kelly v. John Paschall) stated that racially motivated drug sweeps had been going on for more than 15 years and were described as "paramilitary" by the ACLU. The case was settled in 2005 and charges were dismissed.

Winner of awards at film festivals including Telluride, SXSW and the Mill Valley Film Festival, American Violet is the last in a series of three films dealing with civil rights issues presented by the ACLU of Idaho during special screenings at The Flicks.