Winner 2012

The Loving Story

Augusta Films and HBO Documentary Films with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities

In Nancy Buirski’s beautifully spare documentary film, a fundamental truth about the history of segregation is revealed almost in passing –- that so much of white Americans’ racial fear was tied to a kind of sexual panic. And amidst the shameful system of anti-miscegenation laws that dotted the southern United States well into the 20th century (the most tangible byproduct of those anxieties) lies the story of Richard Loving, a white Virginian, and his half-black, half-Native American wife, Mildred. Their fight to avoid both prison and exile for their “criminal” marriage is perhaps the most beautiful love story ever written into American case law. Using archival interviews with the couple, current interviews with their children and the ACLU attorneys who took up their cause, as well as original recordings of the oral arguments that led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous decision striking down laws against interracial marriage, the film argues that, then or now, the law should not traffic in matters of love. For its gorgeous and sympathetic telling of a couple’s fight to persevere in the face of injustice, The Loving Story receives a Peabody Award.


Executive Producers: Sheila Nevins (for HBO), Scott Berrie, Marshall Sonenshine. Produced by: Nancy Buirski, Elisabeth Haviland James. Senior Producer: Nancy Abraham (for HBO). Director: Nancy Buirski. Writers: Nancy Buirski, Susie Ruth Powell. Editor: Elisabeth Haviland James.