About The Film
Hope of Escape is a feature length historical drama that follows the true story of Diana Williams, her daughter Cornelia, and her daughter’s sweetheart, Wilby, as they plan their own emancipation from slavery in Wilmington, North Carolina. Time is running out. Diana and Cornelia discover they are about to be sold and possibly separated forever. Wilby discovers a window of opportunity to break free, but he's overwhelmed by timing and logistics that are more complicated than he could have imagined.
Filmmaker Amy Gerber, who is a direct descendent of Diana, Cornelia and Wilby, brings her forebears to life by following the harrowing journey they made. Hope of Escape recasts the history of enslaved persons pursuing freedom and highlights the trials and triumphs of one family determined to make a better life and a better country.
Hope of Escape offers an alternative to the standard Hollywood "slavery film" genre that usually depicts excessive violence and victimization. This film features enslaved persons with agency, who used their special skills and literacy to plan their emancipation. The film also shines light on the "above-ground Underground Railroad" when slave masters were paid a "ransom" (much like how Frederick Douglass gained freedom) by families in order to free their enslaved relatives.