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Chinonye Chukwu, the filmmaker behind Clemency, will direct a movie about the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till and his mother Mamie Till Mobley’s subsequent pursuit of justice.
The project will cover Mobley’s insistence on an open casket funeral, which became a galvanizing moment that helped lead to the creation of the civil rights movement.
The story is based on the research conducted by documentarian Keith Beauchamp, and his relationship with Mamie Till Mobley and Emmett Till’s cousin, Simeon Wright who was an eyewitness to the kidnapping of Till and who served as a consultant to the project before his death in 2017. For more than 27 years, Beauchamp has investigated the kidnapping, torture and murder of Emmett Till for whistling at a white woman, eventually getting United States Department of Justice to reopen the case in 2004.
Beauchamp co-wrote the screenplay with Michael J. P. Reilly and Chukwu.
James Bond franchise producer Barbra Broccoli and Whoopi Goldberg will produce with Beauchamp, Reily, Thomas K. Levine and Frederick Zollo.
Said Chukwu, “Amidst the pain and brutality that is inherent to Mamie and Emmett’s story, I intend to delve deeply into their humanities, the love and joy they shared, and the activist consciousness that grows within Mamie as she seeks justice for her son.”
Added Beauchamp: “With Emmett Till’s name being spoken today among Black Lives Matter chants, it is more important than ever to understand why this senseless murder took place and the selfless actions taken by my dear friend Mrs Mamie Till Mobley that led to the mobilization of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement.”
“Today the return of open racism reminds us that the real danger is in not telling Emmett Till’s story. Chinonye Chukwu taking the helm as our director is an opportunity for us to step forward artfully and without fear to tell the truth. We could not be in better hands,” said Goldberg.
Chukwu became the first Black woman to receive the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival for Clemency.
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