MYRTLE BEACH, SC – The planning committee of the 11th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend has announced its schedule of eight movies and documentaries that comprise the weekend event’s first MLK Film Festival, according to Bennie Swans, MLK Weekend founder and chairman.
The eight films will be shown on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 13 and 14, in Convention Hall Room 101 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, the headquarters of the 11th Annual Freedom Rally Weekend. All the films as well as parking at the convention center are free.
The film festival is just one element of the five-day-long 11th annual commemoration sponsored by three organizations, Swans’ group, the Carolina African American Heritage Foundation and its planning committee; the City of Myrtle Beach; and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. The weekend includes Monday, Jan. 16, the state and federal MLK holiday, and events from Friday to Monday include a jobs fair; a small business procurement workshop; a major workshop called “Translating Diversity Into Economic and Social Value,” a 5k “Freedom Run,” a parade with floats, marching bands and parade marshals; a talent show, a musical tribute to Dr. King, an ecumenical church service on “Civil Rights Sunday,” a major corporate and community awards breakfast, and a host of special guest speakers.
The eight movies and documentaries are:
- “The March,” the 60-minute PBS documentary from the American Experience series, narrated by Denzwl Washington, which tells the story of the famous March on Washington;
- “Boycott,” a movie starring Jeffrey Wright as MLK that tells the story of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott sparked the day Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus, the event that not only launched MLK as a civil rights leader but which is often considered as the incident that founded the Civil Rights era;
- “Freedom Riders,” a documentary that tells the story of the two small groups of white and black men and women in 1961 who risked their lives to see if it was possible to ride a bus from Washington to New Orleans through the deep South (only one made it);
- “The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306,” a 36-minute documentary told largely by the Rev. Samuel “Billy” Wyles, who was at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis the afternoon MLK was murdered;
- “Selma,” the epic story of “Bloody Sunday” and the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, and the its effect on the creation and signing of the 1965 Civil Rights Act by LBJ; nominated for a “Best Picture” Oscar, it stars David Oyewolo;
- “Here Am I, Send Me: The Journey of Jonathan Daniels” is a documentary narrated by actor Sam Waterston That tells the story of a young Episcopal seminarian who went to Selma in 1965 to work with Dr. King, crossed the Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, and was shot and killed saving the life of a young black woman civil rights worker, an act for which he was acclaimed a martyr by the Episcopal Church;
- “Selma, Lord, Selma,” a Walt Disney TV movie telling the story of Sheyeann Webb, who at age 9 was “The Youngest Marcher” who crossed the Pettus Bridge with Dr. King; she is portrayed by actress Jurnee Smollett of “The Underground” TV series;
- “Soundtrack for a Revolution,” a PBS “American Experience” mix of historical film clips and contemporary musical performances by artists including John Legend, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean, The Roots, gospel duo Mary Mary, Ritchie Havens, Angie Stone, and others. Archival footage and interviews with civil rights foot soldiers and leaders including legendary Cong. John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond, Andrew Young, and Dr. King describes the movement through its music — the freedom songs that protesters sang on picket lines, in mass meetings, in police wagons, and in jail cells as they fought for justice and equality.
A special feature of the showings of “Selma, Lord, Selma” and “Here Am I, Send Me: The Journey of Jonathan Daniels” will be major press conferences and Q-and-A sessions featuring retired Episcopal priest Rev. Judith Upham of Fort Worth Texas, who in 1965 was a fellow seminarian with Jonathan Daniels and who also went to Selma, crossed the Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, was a friend of Daniels and Sheyann Webb, and is shown in the Daniels documentary. Her appearance after the Daniels documentary will begin on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 11 a.m. Her appearance after the “Selma, Lord, Selma” movie will begin on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
The Saturday afternoon showing of “Selma, Lord, Selma” is being billed as a “Saturday matinee,” and since it is a Walt Disney made-for-TV movie, the MLK Weekend is gearing this showing toward school students throughout Horry County in the 10- to 16-year-old age group, although others are of course welcome to attend.
Popcorn and other concessions will be available at the convention center.
-This information is from a Press Release.