An additional 12 locations have joined the growing movement lead by African-American business leaders to raise funds for students across the country to see the Academy Award®-nominated film “SELMA,” expanding the first-of-its-kind campaign to 25 locations nationwide.
Due to the generous contributions by so many of the country’s most prominent African-American business leaders, more than 275,000 middle and high school students across the U.S. will experience the critically acclaimed film for free at participating theaters while supplies last.
The new locations joining the movement are Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Central Florida/Orlando, Connecticut, Detroit, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Montgomery, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, and St. Louis.
“Paramount Pictures is extremely proud of this film, which is so clearly resonating with audiences young and old,” said Megan Colligan, President, Worldwide Distribution and Marketing, Paramount Pictures. “It’s a testament to the extraordinary talents of Ava DuVernay, David Oyelowo and the entire cast and crew that ‘SELMA’ is being celebrated by communities all over the country.”
The business leaders who are leading the efforts in the new locations are:
• Dr. Meria Carstarphen, Superintendents, Atlanta Public Schools; Dr. Michael Lomax, President & CEO, United Negro College Fund; Hala Moddelmog, President & CEO, Metro Atlanta Chamber; and Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, President, Morehouse College, in Atlanta
“This movie is an educational moment for more than 10,000 Atlanta Public Schools students who we are inviting to see this film. I am proud and humbled by the immediate outpouring of support from our Atlanta community who has joined this growing national movement,” said Meria J. Carstarphen, superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools and Selma, Alabama native. “Our Atlanta education partners believe in our students, and I am grateful for the opportunity they are providing our students to see one of the most pivotal moments in American history.”
“‘SELMA’ is such an important film for young people to see now in the wake of Ferguson, Cleveland and New York. The struggle for justice is a long one, and Selma is history that a new generation needs to know more fully,” said Lomax. “So, I felt it was imperative to join with others around the country who were raising funds so middle and high school students can see the film, learn their history and be inspired to make the civil rights and justice lifelong pursuits.”
• Robert F. Smith, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, in Austin
“It is of the utmost importance to expose our young people to the courage, compassion and integrity that is brought to life in the film ‘SELMA.’ It illuminates a period of American history that is very relevant today,” said Smith. “Dr. King has been a source of inspiration for me and for many people of all races and ethnicities. I consider this not just an opportunity, but a responsibility, to bring his message and his dream to the students of Austin.”
• Sylvia Brown, Board Member, John Hopkins Healthcare Advisory Board, in Baltimore
“Baltimore is proud to be a part of this wonderful effort. We hope that young audiences find inspiration and encouragement in the film and in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s story,” said Brown.
• Grant Hill, former NBA player; Harold Mills, Chief Executive Officer, ZeroChaos; Clarence Otis, retired Chairman & CEO, Darden Restaurants; and Ron Williams, former Chairman & CEO of Aetna in Central Florida/Orlando
“The story of Dr. King’s historic journey in Alabama is one that students all over the country should know intimately,” said Otis. “It’s an honor to provide the opportunity for students in Central Florida to see Ava DuVernay’s beautiful film.”
• Dr. Laurence C. Morse, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Fairview Capital Partners, Inc., in Connecticut
“I am privileged to have been able to join with an extraordinary group of concerned, civic- minded individuals in the State of Connecticut to provide an opportunity for a number of young people who might not otherwise have been able to do so, to see and experience this deeply moving, engaging film about a critically important period in our nation’s recent history, and in the continuing evolution of our democracy,” said Morse.
• Faye Alexander Nelson, President, DTE Energy Foundation; Tonya Allen, President & CEO, The Skillman Foundation; Lisa Dancsok, Vice President, Quicken Loans; Mariam C. Noland, President, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan; Vivian R. Pickard, President, General Motors Foundation; Laura Trudeau, Managing Director, Detroit, Kresge Foundation; and Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation in Detroit
“Detroit students will have the opportunity to join with students across the country to view ‘SELMA’ thanks to the generosity of a group of national and local foundations and corporations. We are pleased to help coordinate the generous commitments of the DTE Energy Foundation, Ford Foundation, General Motors Foundation, Kresge Foundation, The Skillman Foundation, and Quicken Loans,” said Noland.
• T. Warren Jackson, Senior Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer, DIRECTV, and Debra Martin Chase, CEO, Martin Chase Productions, in Los Angeles
“It’s important that the civil rights struggle depicted in ‘SELMA’ reach as many young people as possible so that the enduring lessons of the civil rights movement can be harnessed to inspire them to transform their lives and communities. We appreciate the support of the California Endowment, and have enlisted the Constitutional Rights Foundation to work with the schools in creating a broader educational program to insure just that,” said Jackson.
“As a filmmaker, I recognize the transformative power of film; that’s why the overwhelming response to the ‘SELMA’ initiative here in Los Angeles and across the nation is so heartening. It’s a reminder of the importance of voting and civics engagement and demonstrates how anything can be accomplished through creativity and collective effort,” said Martin Chase.
• Gayle S. Rose, Chief Executive Officer, Electronic Vaulting Services, in Memphis
“On behalf of former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr., we are thrilled to provide 10,000 7th, 8th and 9th grade Memphis students the gift of this film and what history has to teach us,” said Rose. “We thank Paramount Pictures, Malco Theaters, and many generous donors who made this happen in a matter of days. This is a testament to the charitable nature of our people.”
• Ira D. Hall, resident of Miami Beach, FL, and Dr. Sherrlyn Scott, Supervisor, Department of Social Sciences Miami-Dade County Public Schools, in Miami
“Over 5,500 Miami Dade and Ft. Lauderdale students can now see for free ‘SELMA,’ the movie that so powerfully portrays the courage, tenacity, humanity and moral strength of Alabama citizens, combined with the extraordinary brilliance and moral conviction of key civil rights and national leaders. That unstoppable coalition jointly fought for and won the rights of African Americans to vote! It is wonderful that students today can feel and sense this history so strikingly brought to life in ‘SELMA,’” said Hall.
“We are thankful to our contributors in Miami who quickly organized to support such a worthy endeavor,” said Scott. “Their generosity will make a lasting impact on the students in our community.”
• Alden McDonald, President, Liberty Bank, and Neill Wright, First Tuskegee Bank President, in Montgomery
“This effort is an integral part of our corporate philosophy of linking our heritage to our vision of true equality for all the people we serve,” said McDonald.
“In as much as Montgomery is part of the journey we took as a people to gain voting rights in the 1960s, we have joined with other business leaders and concerned citizens to provide free access to the ‘SELMA’ film for local students. We believe that we continue to make the historical connections for this generation to ‘keep the dream’ of true equality alive and well,” said Wright.
• Dr. Eugene Flood, Jr., EVP and President of Diversified Financial Services, TIAA-CREF, in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill
“We are pleased to support this unprecedented program for North Carolina students to be able to see this remarkable film,” said Flood.
• Rev. Starsky Wilson, President & CEO of the Deaconess Foundation, in St. Louis
“It is important that students are aware of this moment in history and make connections between the struggles of earlier generations and the challenges facing today’s youth,” said Rev. Starsky. “We are grateful to the Ford Foundation and other funders for joining us in this effort. We hope that this film will encourage civic engagement among young people and demonstrate to them that systemic change is possible through cooperative, intentional, and well-planned efforts.”
These African-American business leaders are following the lead of those in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sarasota, FL, Washington D.C. and Westchester.
“This was an important opportunity to educate our children about the heroes of the civil rights movement and keep an important legacy intact. I am proud that our community seized the moment,” said Fletcher “Flash” Wiley, Counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, who helped to organize the efforts in Boston.
The nationwide efforts are inspired by the success of the program in New York City, in which 27 African-American business leaders created a fund for 27,000 of the city’s 7th, 8th and 9th grade students to see the film for free. Due to the overwhelming demand, the New York City effort sold out in the very first weekend and was expanded to 75,000 tickets.
Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, which is distributing “SELMA,” is coordinating the programs with participating theaters in the U.S. For a list of participating theaters in select cities offering free admission to students during this program and for information on group sales, visit www.SelmaMovie.com/studenttickets
The students who present a current student ID or report card at the box office of any participating theater will receive free admission while tickets last.
To help get the word out about the program, tweet using the hashtag #SelmaForStudents.
Directed by DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., “SELMA” is nominated for Academy Awards® for Best Picture and Best Original Song for “Glory” by Common & John Legend. The film earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Song for “Glory” and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.
Paramount Pictures, Pathé, and Harpo Films present “SELMA.” Produced by Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey, the film is executive produced by Brad Pitt, Cameron McCracken, Diarmuid McKeown, Nik Bower, Ava DuVernay, Paul Garnes and Nan Morales. The film is written by Paul Webb. “SELMA” is directed by Ava DuVernay.
“SELMA” is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s “SELMA” tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history. The film also stars Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi, Common, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, with Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey as “Annie Lee Cooper.”
“SELMA” is playing in theaters nationwide.