HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--An additional five cities have joined the massive national campaign by African-American business leaders to raise funds for free student admission to the Golden Globe-winning film “SELMA,” expanding the unprecedented movement to a total of 13 cities, nationwide.
Following the lead of a team of African-American business leaders in New York and across the U.S., funds have been established in Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area and Washington D.C. African-American business leaders in these cities – along with organizers in Boston, Nashville, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sarasota, FL and Westchester – have created programs that will allow students in these locations to see “SELMA” for free at participating theaters.
The 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.
“The chance to share a film, which has so poignantly captured a pivotal moment in our history, has struck a deep chord within the African-American business community and resonated so profoundly across the country that a simple idea has become a national movement,” said Tony Coles, former CEO, Onyx Pharmaceuticals. “We are gratified that generous donors across the country see the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our youth.”
Added Frederick O. Terrell, Vice Chairman, Credit Suisse, “I think the overwhelming response to our ‘SELMA’ initiative across the country has been a reminder to all of us of the power of a simple idea and the collective power of communities. Buying tickets for our children to see this wonderful film is an opportunity for greater awareness and education.”
“This initiative is unprecedented in African-American history. Never before has a group of black leaders donated the funds to enable students across the country to view a film created by a black director for free,” said Henry Louis Gates, professor of African American Studies, Harvard. “This is a testament to Ava DuVernay and the cast of ‘SELMA,’ and to the leaders of this initiative, Charles Phillips and Bill Lewis.”
In Chicago, the leaders have developed a program for students of After School Matters, a nonprofit organization that provides out-of-school programming opportunities for Chicago teens. Teens that participate in After School Matters will be sent an invitation to receive a complimentary ticket to see “SELMA” at one of the participating theaters. The students will provide their student ID and the After School Matters ticket at participating Chicago theaters. The After School Matters program in Chicago will begin on Friday, January 16th.
In the other cities, 7th, 8th and 9th grade 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.
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.
Business leaders in additional cities are currently organizing commitments from community organizations. Those cities will be announced Friday, January 16th.
The local business leaders who are leading the efforts in the five cities are:
E. Robbie Robinson, Managing Director at BDT & Company and Vice Chair
of the Board of After School Matters, and Desiree Rogers, CEO of
Johnson Publishing Company and an advisory board member of After
School Matters, in Chicago
“The film ‘SELMA’ represents a powerful moment in our nation's history," said Robinson. “It is critical that our teens appreciate the significance of this moment and its extraordinary impact on the advancement of civil rights. After School Matters is thrilled to provide our teens the opportunity to see the film.”
Former Ambassador Ron Kirk and Paget L. Alves in Dallas
“Thanks to Charles Phillips and Bill Lewis, whose vision and encouragement lead to this momentous event, students all around the country will have the opportunity to know Dr. King’s historic journey towards civil rights,” said Alves.
Roderick West, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative
Officer, Entergy Corporation, in New Orleans
“New Orleans is proud to be a part of this remarkable movement to share this important and timely piece of American history,” said West.
Charles Ward, Chief Development Officer, Yerba Buena Center for the
Arts, in Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area
“Watching these efforts unfold across America has been an inspiration to our community,” said Ward. “We are honored to be able to help our students experience such an event.”
Toni Cook Bush, News Corporation, and DeDe Lea, Executive Vice
President, Global Government Relations, Viacom, in Washington D.C.
“It’s an honor to contribute to such a worthwhile cause,” said Bush. “I am certain that our students in Washington will find hope and encouragement in Ms. DuVernay’s film and will leave the theater better for it.”
To help get the word out about the program, tweet using the hashtag #SelmaForStudents.
Directed by Ava DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., “SELMA” earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Song for “Glory” by Common and John Legend, and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.
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.”
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.
“SELMA” is playing in theaters nationwide. To learn more about the film, go to http://www.selmamovie.com.
About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. Paramount controls a collection of some of the most powerful brands in filmed entertainment, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Television, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films, and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., and Paramount Studio Group.