“You Belong to Me,” a film following murder, sex, and race in the life story of Ruby McCollum, recently began production. Dr. Paul Ortiz, among other prominent historians, was interviewed for the film. The official press release follows below.
“You Belong To Me”: Feature of Murder, Sex, and Race Begins Production in Florida
Beverly Hills, CA, July 23, 2013 – Clearwater, Florida based production company Deliberate Murder LLC announced today that they are in production on You Belong To Me , a feature-length documentary portraying the shocking tale of Ruby McCollum. This story of race-induced sexual exploitation explores not only the infamous shooting and the trial but the impact of the case on Live Oak, Florida, the South and the Nation for more than sixty years. Production is slated to wrap up later this year.
The film is produced by both Hilary Saltzman, daughter of legendary producer Harry Saltzman of the original James Bond movies, and Jude Hagin, who served as film commissioner in Central Florida for 15 years. Kitty Potapow, former president of the Film Commission of Real Florida, Inc., is Executive Producing. You Belong To Me is being written and directed by John Cork, the creative force behind more than 100 documentary shorts and two feature length documentaries including Murnau, Borzage and Fox. Additionally, Cork wrote The Long Walk Home starring Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg. Lisa Van Eyssen, joins Cork on board as a producer from his production company, Cloverland.
The powerful film centers on Ruby McCollum, the wealthiest black woman in Suwanee County, Florida in the late 40s. With a husband who was a property owner and a son who was attending UCLA, her family was a promising exception to the perceived lifestyle of African-Americans in the Jim Crow South. Or so it seemed from the outside…
Despite her wealth, Ruby could not escape the clutches of the Jim Crow South, nor the inherent racism that came with it. One antebellum belief that had survived into Ruby’s day was the practice of paramour rights – a white man’s sexual entitlement to any black woman of any age or marital status, without consequence. Enter Dr. C. LeRoy Adams, a white State Senator-elect who, according to Ruby, had sexually violated her repeatedly over the years, leading her to giving birth to a daughter fathered by Dr. Adams. On August 3rd, 1952, Ruby McCollum pregnant once again by the Doctor, did something that grabbed national attention and paved the way for the abolition of what was essentially racially motivated sexual slavery: she shot Dr. Adams four times, killing him.
“You Belong To Me” investigates Ruby’s story, exploring a dark period in U.S. history and documenting the changing role of race and gender in our society and our legal system. Ultimately, the film reveals how tragedy and sacrifice can pave the way for necessary change.
For more information on the film, please consult the website