Ava Duvernay's Martin Luther King film, Selma, is free to rent on all digital platforms this month. The film follows MLK's journey towards Montgomery, Alabama in an effort to secure equal voting rights for Black people in America. His first attempt was stopped in its tracks by police who hit protestors in a historic event called "Bloody Sunday." Real-life protests have sprung up all over the world as a result of the death of George Floyd. Every day of the last week has featured numerous videos of protests on social media and people have been asking about media to understand the issues at play here. Paramount believes that the message of both DuVernay and Selma can go a long way in starting a discussion about the past and how it affects the present.
They said in a statement: "We witness the expression of decades of collective pain, we should reflect on Dr. King's words: 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' We hope this small gesture will encourage people throughout the country to examine our nation's history and reflect on the ways that racial injustice has infected our society. The key message of Selma is the importance of equality, dignity and justice for all people. Clearly, that message is as vital today as it was in 1965."
Happy to share: Paramount Pictures is offering SELMA for free rental on all US digital platforms for June, starting today. We’ve gotta understand where we’ve been to strategize where we’re going. History helps us create the blueprint. Onward. @SelmaMovie. https://t.co/mxhGpfQeIP— Ava DuVernay (@ava) June 5, 2020
Warner Bros. is also making Just Mercy available for free download as well. They are hoping to help educate viewers on systemic racism. That film features the story of Bryan Stevenson, a human rights lawyer who works to free wrongfully convicted inmates from death row.
"We believe in the power of story," their statement on Twitter read. "Our film 'Just Mercy,' based on the life work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, is one resource we can humbly offer to those who are interested in learning more about the systemic racism that plagues our society. For the month of June, 'Just Mercy' will be available to rent for free across digital platforms in the US."
"To actively be part of the change our country is so desperately seeking, we encourage you to learn more about our past and the countless injustices that have led us to where we are today," the statement continued. "Thank you to the artists, storytellers and advocates who helped make this film happen. Watch with your family, friends and allies. For further information on Bryan Stevenson and his work at the Equal Justice Initiative please visit EJI.org."
Have you seen either of these two films? Let us know in the comments!