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Friday, July 31, 2015

Free showing of 'Selma' rescheduled for tonight

Plainfielders get a special summer treat with a FREE showing
this Thursday at 8:30 PM.

NOTE: Thursday's evening showers prevent the FREE showing of the movie 'Selma', and it has been rescheduled for tonight (Friday) at 8:30 PM at Aristacare on Norwood Avenue.

Plainfielders will have a special summer treat with a FREE showing of the movie 'Selma' this Thursday evening as part of the Recreation Division's Thursdays at the Movies series. This comes after a twisted path in bringing the movie to Plainfield viewers. You can view Mayor Mapp's promotional annoucement here.

Nominated for an Oscar as 'Best Picture', the film tells the story of three dangerous months in 1965 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the push for voting rights for Blacks.

In the face of violent opposition, Dr. King led an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama's state capital, to advocate for equal voting rights.

After being attacked and having the attack broadcast nationally on TV, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (a significant section of which was set aside recently by the Supreme Court).

The film features a remarkable portrayal of King by Nigerian-born British actor David Oyelowo as well as a strong supporting cast. With four Golden Globe nominations and two for Oscars, the movie won an Oscar for Best Original Music.

The strong supporting cast includes Oprah Winfrey and rapper and actor Common.

Mayor Mapp originally planned a special free showing of the movie for March, in cooperation with the Plainfield Public Schools, which offered the Plainfield High School Auditorium as the venue. The auditorium, which seats 1,300, would have been ideal for an expected large community turnout.

Arrangements were handled by the Recreation Division. An employee contacted the distribution company and negotiated a detailed agreement on date, price and a showing to as large an audience as could be assembled, but one time only.

Plans went ahead to work out arrangements with the school district for the auditorium and a ticket distribution scheme was devised which woul have given residents and District students fair access to free tickets. Tickets were even printed up.

Then, at the last possible moment, just as the Mapp administration was about to issue a press release on the event, word came that the 'suits' in Los Angeles had put the kibosh on the project.

Business people at the L.A. studios advised the New York distribution folks that they would not allow a community showing in Plainfield. Specifically, their marketing rollout included a period during which the movie would only be allowed to be shown at college campuses.

So, Plainfield was the loser.

Or was it? We are getting to see themovie -- even if somewhat delayed -- but the studio forfeited invaluable publicity which a timely showing to an audience in a largely Black community would have generated.

You tell me who was the real loser.

'Selma' will be shown at 8:30 PM (it needs to be fairly dark for outdoor movies) this Thursday, July 30, outdoors at Aristacare Rehab Center, on Norwood Avenue. Aristacare, formerlyknown as Norwood Terrace is located directly behind United Presbyterian Church which is across the street from Richmond Towers.

Entry to the parking lots can be from Front Street at the church, or Norwood Avenue, which is well-posted with signs.

Be sure to bring lawn chairs or blankets -- the movie is being shown outdoors. Popcorn will be provided.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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