For the first time in motion picture, Director Ava DuVernay features the historic non-violent struggle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and his supporters to win the voting rights of the African-American population in the U.S. The screenplay (written by Paul Webb) chronicles the significant events that took place between the 1963 Birmingham church bombing and the 1965 signing of the Voting Rights Act. The film is set primarily within the city in the Black Belt region of lower west Alabama, that is, Selma.
DuVernay triumphantly merges the techniques of drama and documentary in Selma right from the very start until the end. Clearly based on well-researched facts, the credibility of the narrative is supported by FBI surveillance reports and archival footage of the Selma-Montgomery march. DuVernay taps on restrained realism that allows the viewers to acknowledge the complexity in a process that reflects on leadership, strategies, principles, choices, and expectations associated with the fundamentals of adhering to and honouring people's civil rights. By only focusing on one particular chapter in the life of our protagonist, Duvernay is able to fully develop the characters while brilliantly capturing the world of politics apace with the civil rights demonstrators that set the stage for Selma.