David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay
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Selma star and director on why their film is so relevant today

The film Selma takes place during one of the key moments in the struggle for civil rights in America in the 1960s - the preacher Dr Martin Luther King leading marchers from Selma to Montgomery Alabama - despite violence from police and white racists.

The film, which stars British actor David Oyelowo, comes at a time Americans are reflecting on the killings of unarmed young black men in Ferguson, Missouri and New York city.

Such is the sensitivity to matters of race, when another British actor Benedict Cumberbatch talked of "coloured" actors in an American interview, there was a storm of protest.

The BBC's Gavin Esler met the star of Selma and its director, Ava DuVernay, one of the few African American women directors involved in big Hollywood projects.

  • 28 Jan 2015
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