Variety is exclusively reporting that Roger Donaldson is set to direct independent drama Jena Six.
The film is set to focus on the true story of the Jena Six, who were six black high school students in a small Louisiana town who were initially charged with attempted murder for attacking a white student in 2006. The attack took place several months after a series of racial incidents at the school, including three nooses hanging from a tree at the high school a day after a black student asked the principal if black students could sit under the tree.
The six teenagers were arrested and Mychal Bell, a teenager, was convicted by an all-white jury of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery – meaning that he faced a sentence of up to 22 years.
News of the conviction sparked outrage and allegations that the prosecution was racially motivated and disproportionate to the crime. A civil rights demonstration drew more than 15,000 protesters to Jena and was attended by Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III.
Roger Donaldson, whose recent credits include November Man and The Bank Jon, will be directing from a screenplay penned by Jonathan Amaret, who will serve as producer alongside Dawn Krantz. Production is set to commence in New Orleans this April.