African-American Business Leaders Offering NYC Students Free Admission to 'Selma'

Selma Still - H 2014
Atsushi Nishijima

Selma Still - H 2014

27,000 students will be able to see the Paramount film, centering on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for free

Paramount Pictures has partnered with 27 African-American business leaders in New York to offer free admission to its awards contender Selma, centering on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade students in New York will be admitted to screenings of the film for free at participating theaters if they provide a student ID or report card. The initiative kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday and runs through Jan. 19, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or while tickets last.

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“Martin Luther King Jr.’s momentous journey in Alabama is an important piece of American history,” said Bill Lewis, co-chairman of Investment Banking at Lazard. “We are passionate about bringing this story to New York City’s students and we encourage business leaders in other cities to organize similar programs so that more students around the country have the chance to see this powerful film about an epic chapter in American history.”

Said Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Brad Grey: "Paramount is honored to partner with New York City's deeply esteemed business men and women to give students in New York the opportunity to experience [director] Ava DuVernay's beautiful and moving masterpiece."

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Selma chronicles a tumultuous three-month period in 1965 when King (David Oyelowo) led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. It has been nominated for four Golden Globes, including best picture.

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The movie also stars Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi, Common, Carmen Ejogo, and Lorraine Toussaint, with Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey.

Selma opens nationwide Friday.