ill We're Free, a short film that tells the true story of mother Mamie Till -whose defiant work to expose the truth behind her son Emmett Till's murder helped spark the civil rights movement- premieres at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak.
The volunteer cast includes local sports radio personality Sean Baligian and also stars local actors Chevonne Wilson as Mamie Till and Ben Will as Emmett Till. The film is produced by downriver production company Whatantics Entertainment, and directed by Denn Pietro.
"We have joined forces between the Detroit film and theater community to make a remarkable film that, I'm happy to say, looks and feels like a studio film despite having an all-volunteer cast and crew that shared their enormous talents and passions for a script that they really believed in," producer Rita Montpetit Liegl says in a press release. "The end result is beautiful."
The film was shot mostly in Detroit, Farmington Hills and Monroe, Mich., with additional footage filmed in Mississippi, where the story takes place.
Along with Till We're Free, the theater will screen two other short films at this premiere by the same director: Whippersnapper and Freezer Geezers. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or the Main Art Theatre website.
"I kept coming across the iconic photo of Emmett Till in his casket, which isn't a photo that's easy to forget," Pietro says in a press release. "I was compelled to keep reading about him, and the more I read, the more the story weaved into a shocking tale that compelled me to write this screenplay.
"I think our film finally brings to life the story of Emmett Till and the acquitted men who got away with murder in a way that will hopefully help preserve his legacy in the civil rights movement."
For more information, check out the BLAC calendar listing for Till We're Free at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak.