Shootout film to premier in Galax

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Courthouse tragedy documentary will debut at historic Rex Theater

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter


The historic Rex Theater in downtown Galax will host what could be its first-ever world premier with the showing of the documentary, “Hillsville 1912 — A Shooting in the Court,” on Aug. 18.
San Diego filmmaker Rick Bowman knew from growing up in Carroll County about the gun battle between members of the Allen family and officials of the county and the court at the conclusion of Floyd Allen’s obstruction of justice trial.
When Floyd famously refused to serve jail time, all hell broke loose in the courtroom, leaving five people dead and seven wounded.
The Aug. 18 event will begin with music provided by the duo Conner and Miller.
Participants will also have a chance to visit with some of the historians that Bowman interviewed, he said. Bill Lord, author of “Red Ear of Corn,” and local historian and artist Ron Leonard have confirmed they will be there.
The showing of the film will start at 7:45 p.m. and last about an hour.
Tickets are available at the Galax Visitors’ Center. The cost is $10.
Bowman and Ray Kohl, Galax Visitors’ Center director, note that the premier is a first on several levels.
Though multiple books have been published on the shootout, its origins and its aftermath, this is the first production that’s ever reached the screen, the filmmaker said — even though the 100th anniversary is fast approaching.
“As far as I know, there’s never been anything on film about this,” he said. “In Virginia everybody knows the history, but seeing it on the screen could bring it a little more to life.”
“I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to have a premier of this documentary in our small town,” Kohl said.
He’s not aware of any other premier being held here, although once Roy Rogers did appear on stage in Galax.
Galax has 400 tickets available, and Kohl hopes to fill up most of those seats on opening night.
“And then people can say, ‘We saw it first,’” Kohl said.