Chinonye Chukwu’s movie ‘Till’ to premiere at New York Film Festival’s opening weekend

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From left, Danielle Deadwyler plays Mamie Till Mobley and Jalyn Hall plays Emmett Till in “Till.” [Orion Pictures photo]

Chinonye Chukwu’s anticipated feature film “Till” will make its world premiere at the 60th New York Film Festival on opening weekend.

The 60th New York Film Festival, presented by Film at Lincoln Center, will take place Sept. 30-Oct. 16.

“Till” stars Danielle Deadwyler as Mamie Till Mobley, Jalyn Hall as Emmett Till, Frankie Faison as John Carthan, Haley Bennett as Carolyn Bryant, Sean Patrick Thomas as Gene Mobley, John Douglas Thompson as Moses Wright and Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg as Alma Carthan.

The follow-up to Chukwu’s powerhouse 2019 drama “Clemency,” “Till” tells the true story of Mamie Till Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14-year-old son Emmett Till. In 1955, Emmett was lynched while visiting his cousins in Mississippi. In Mamie’s poignant journey of grief turned to action, audiences will witness the universal power of a mother’s courage and its ability to change the world.

“In her new film ‘Till,’ Chinonye Chukwu has crafted a bracing portrait of the short life of Emmett Till and the fearless activism of his mother, Mamie Till, whose fight for justice following the murder of her son was a catalyst for the ongoing battle for civil rights in our country,” said Eugene Hernandez, executive director of the New York Film Festival and senior vice president of film at Lincoln Center, in a statement.

“Three years ago, Chinonye’s film ‘Clemency’ opened our New Directors/New Films festival with MoMA, and now it’s our honor to invite her to unveil this vital film at the 60th New York Film Festival, including screenings for students.”

On the festival’s opening weekend, Chukwu will join her cast and producers at the film’s launch, according to a news release.

“I’m incredibly proud and excited to premiere my film Till at the 60th New York Film Festival.” Chukwu said in a statement. “As a filmmaker, to be embraced by NYFF for this particular feature and to have the opportunity to screen ‘Till’ for youth nationwide is exhilarating. Considering its storied history of programming highly respected cinema, I’m deeply humbled to be in the company of filmmakers I’ve long admired.”

“Till” is produced by Keith Beauchamp, Barbara Broccoli, Goldberg, Thomas Levine, Michael Reilly and Frederick Zollo. The film is written by Michael Reilly, Keith Beauchamp and Chukwu.

“It is an immense privilege to help bring Chinonye’s singular, cinematic telling of Mamie Till Mobley’s remarkable story to audiences across the globe” said Alana Mayo, president of MGM’s Orion Pictures, in a statement.

“Orion is committed to being a home for a broader spectrum of creative stories and storytellers, so to be recognized by NYFF for Till is a tremendous honor, and we look forward to sharing Chinonye’s beautiful film with festival audiences and students across the country in October.”

In a partnership to ensure this film can be seen by younger generations across the country, the New York Film Festival, MGM’s Orion Pictures and United Artists Releasing will collaborate with community partners to invite high school students to special screenings with the filmmakers in attendance at Alice Tully Hall during the NYFF60.

In addition, the film and post-screening conversations will be shown simultaneously to students in cities across the United States, bringing part of American history and the New York Film Festival to new audiences.

“We cannot wait for audiences everywhere to see the poignant, revealing, heartbreaking yet inspiring film that is ‘Till.’ This film centers my cousin Mamie Till Mobley in a startling, powerful way – it focuses not just on Mamie’s grief, but also on her heroic efforts to get justice for her son, Emmett. For people who fear that they will be traumatized by this story, audiences should know it is first and foremost the story of a mother’s love. Some will even be surprised by Mamie’s fearless commitment to showing the truth,” said Deborah Watts, who is a cousin of Mamie and Emmett Till and co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, in a statement.

“Seeing this film made is yet another milestone for our family, and a testament to Mamie’s fight for justice and to our commitment to legacy. The power of history turning tragedy into triumph is something Mamie would have wanted all of us to do.”

Returning every fall to celebrate a new slate of essential cinematic offerings from around the globe, NYFF has been a part of New York’s rich cultural and historical landscape since 1963. Produced by Film at Lincoln Center, the 60th edition will run 17 days and promises another year of film offerings from around the globe.


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