nullMotion picture and television studio STX Entertainment has announced the beginning of principal photography on the theatrical feature "The Free State of Jones" in and around New Orleans, Louisiana.

nullThe "epic action-drama" (as the press release describes it) is written and directed by Gary Ross ("The Hunger Games," "Seabiscuit," "Pleasantville"), and stars Matthew McConaugheyGugu Mbatha-RawKeri Russell and Mahershala Ali. 

Set during the Civil War, "The Free State of Jones" tells the story of defiant Southern farmer Newt Knight, and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy. Banding together with other small farmers, and with the assistance of local slaves, Knight launched an uprising that led Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy, creating a Free State of Jones. His marriage to a former slave, Rachel, and his subsequent establishment of a mixed race community was unique in the post-war South. Knight continued his struggle into Reconstruction, which distinguished him as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War.

STX Entertainment announced plans to release the movie nationwide on March 11, 2016. IM Global is co-financing and will be releasing internationally with Route One Entertainment and Union Investment Partners also co-financing.

The film is being produced by Scott Stuber ("Ted," "Safe House") through his Blue Grass Films shingle, with Jon Kilik ("Foxcatcher," "The Hunger Games") producing through his Jon Kilik Productions, and Ross producing through his Larger Than Life Productions.