SOUTHERN RITES visits Montgomery County, Ga., one year after the town merged its racially segregated proms, and during a historic election campaign that may lead to its first African-American sheriff. Acclaimed photographer Gillian Laub, whose photos first brought the area unwanted notoriety, documents the repercussions when a white town resident is charged with the murder of a young black man. The case divides locals along well-worn racial lines, and the ensuing plea bargain and sentencing uncover complex truths and produce emotional revelations. This timely film debuts the week of the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision 61 years ago. Executive produced by John Legend, Troy Carter and Mike Jackson; written and produced by Josh Alexander.

Available on: HBO | iTunes | Amazon Instant Video | Google Play | Vudu | Xbox Video | Sony Playstation | B&N Nook Video


Gillian Laub has spent the last two decades investigating political conflicts, exploring family relationships, and challenging assumptions about cultural identity. Her work frequently addresses the experiences of adolescents and young adults in transition who struggle to understand their present moment and collective past. In Southern Rites, Laub engages her skills as a photographer, filmmaker, storyteller, and visual activist to examine the realities of racism and raise questions that are simultaneously painful and essential to understanding the American consciousness. The Southern Rites exhibition partnered with the International Center of Photography, is now available for booking. If you are interested in finding out about availability or to reserve a slot on the tour, please contact or 212.857.9738.



OVERVIEW: Southern Rites is an original and provocative twelve-year visual study of one community’s struggle to confront longstanding issues of race and equality. In May 2009, The New York Times Magazine published a photo-essay by Gillian Laub entitled, “A Prom Divided,” which documented Georgia’s Montgomery County High School’s racially segregated prom rituals. Laub’s photographs ignited a firestorm of national outrage and led the community to finally integrate. One year later, there was newfound hope—a historic campaign to elect the county’s first African American sheriff, yet the murder of a young black man—portrayed in Laub’s earlier prom series—by a white town patriarch, reopened old wounds. Through her intimate portraits and first-hand testimony, Laub reveals in vivid color the horror and humanity of these complex, intertwined narratives. The photographer’s inimitable sensibility—it is the essence and emotional truth of the singular person in front of her lens that matters most—ensures that, however elevated the ideas and themes may be, her pictures remain studies of individuals; a chronicle of their courage in the face of injustice, of their suffering and redemption, possessing an unsettling power. 




Event Date Where

Southern Rites Screening at The Battery - San Francisco

- 7:00 PM

The Battery, San Francisco - The Parlor
San Francisco, CA

Movies That Matter - Southern Rites Screening at The Modern

- 7:00 PM

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Fort Worth, TX

i3 Lecture at School of Visual Arts

- 7:00 PM

School of Visual Arts - RM418F
New York, NY, 10011

 Movies That Matter - Southern Rites Screening at The Jewish Museum

- 10:00 AM

The Jewish Museum - Scheuer Auditorium
New York, NY, 10128

Southern Rites Screening at 25th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival

- 12:00 PM

Lee Auditorium at Missouri History Museum, Forest Park
St. Louis, MO, 63112

PhotoPlus Expo 2016

- 4:30 PM

Javits Center
New York, NY, 10001

Asylum Hill 2016 Faith & Justice Summer Film Series 

- 7:00 PM

Asylum Hill
Hartford, CT, 06105

Insight Talk by Getty Images 

- 7:00 PM

New York, NY, 10013

Atlanta International Documentary Film Festival Southern Rites Screening

- 7:30 PM

Atlanta, GA, 30316

National Center for Race Amity Southern Rites Screening

- 9:40 AM

Boston Marriott Quincy
Quincy, MA, 02169

National Center for Race Amity Southern Rites Screening

- 1:30 PM

Boston Marriott Quincy
Quincy, MA, 02169

University of Pennsylvania Screening of Southern Rites


- 6:00 PM

Meyerson Hall
Philadelphia, PA, 19104

Weekend Workshop with Gillian Laub: Visual Storytelling & Documentary Photographic Projects

- 9:30 AM

The Center of Photography at Woodstock
Woodstock, NY, 12498

The Center of Photography at Woodstock: An Evening with Gillian Laub

- 7:30 PM

The Center of Photography at Woodstock
Woodstock, NY, 12498

ICP Southern Rites with Gillian Laub

- 7:00 PM

International Center of Photography
New York, NY, 10018

Southern Rites Screening at The Harlem International Film Festival

- 7:00 PM

Mist Harlem
New York, NY, 10026

Feature Shoot / BlowUp NYC: A Photographic Storytelling Event

- 6:30 PM

New York, NY, 10011

Southern Rites: A Social Cinema screening with From Moment to Movement at New America NYC

- 6:30 PM

New America
New York, NY, 10010

Lecture | THREAD Storytelling Conference at Yale University

- 8:00 PM

Yale College Writing Center
New Haven, CT, 06511

Lecture at The Facing History High School

- 9:00 AM

The Facing History School
New York, NY, 10019

Artist Lecture and Film Screening, Dartmouth College

- 4:30 PM

Hood Auditorium
Hanover, NH, 03755

HBO Premiere of Southern Rites

- 9:00 PM

Check your local listings

Southern Rites Screening, Big Sky Film Series

- 7:00 PM

Top Hat
Missoula, MT 59802

Artist Lecture, Film Panel and Book Signing

- 7:30 PM

New York, NY, 10010

Southern Rites exhibition opening at Benrubi Gallery

- 6:00 PM

Benrubi Gallery
New York, NY, 10001

Atlanta Premiere of Southern Rites, Center for Civil and Human Rights

- 6:00 PM

Center for Civil and Human Rights
Atlanta, GA, 30313

John Legend and Gillian Laub: A TimesTalks Conversation (tickets required)

- 7:30 PM

NYU Skirball Center
New York, NY, 10012

Southern Rites Hot Docs Screening. Fox Theatre. Tickets now on sale!

- 9:45 PM

Toronto, ON

Southern Rites Hot Docs Screening. TIFF Bell Lighthouse. Tickets now on sale!

- 2:00 PM

TIFF Bell Lighthouse
Toronto, ON, M5V 3C6

World premiere of Southern Rites at Hot Docs Film Festival at the Hart House Theatre. Tickets now on sale!

- 6:45 PM

Toronto, ON, M5S 3H3


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