Cinema is one of the few art forms that can bring a viewer into the moment, into a past day and a larger idea, fully and completely, for the better part of two hours.
"Selma" is transporting audiences back to the historic 1965 marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his epic leadership regarding the matter of votes, voices heard, and all civil rights. The issue at hand in the Oscar-nominated film: The denial of voting rights for African-American citizens, and the stand taken by many to right that injustice. A stand that led directly to the White House and the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
It's a deep, compelling, and incredibly contemporary slice of history that feels urgent 50 years on, and one that students can delve into beyond their textbooks. And here's how: Selma for Students is a campaign -- or movement, really -- that is all about middle-schoolers seeing "Selma" in theaters, for free.
Los Angeles is one of the cities on the list, and a number of local theaters are welcoming 7th, 8th and 9th graders with a school ID or report card. There's also an asterisk welcoming 10th and 11th graders as well, but check with your local theater first and see what grades are covered.
The countrywide event has seen more cities join the list, after "27 African-American business leaders created a fund for 27,000 of the city's 7th, 8th and 9th grade students to see the film for free."
The result? Weekend one was sold out. Soon other civic and business leaders joined in, in a number of cities around America.
The theaters on the Southern California list include AMC Burbank 16, Cinemark Baldwin Hills Crenshaw and Regal LA Live Stadium 14.
This is definitely a "while tickets last" happening, and a major one, too, so be sure that the young people in your life experience a historic and just moment in civil rights brought to cinematic life.