It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog so I thought I’d share a little of what became of our documentary feature Rebels: James Meredith & the Integration of Ole Miss. After a truly olympian marathon editing process, the film premiered to a packed house at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, September 30th. Heavy rains forced the planned memorial service and history walk into the Ford Center before the screening which, I believe, turned out to be a good thing for us in terms of linking the film showing to the overall program of events that evening. Regardless of the reason, the huge auditorium was full of students, graduates, faculty, staff, and leaders from all over the state. We were able to procure a wonderful HD projector and screen to showcase the film in the highest quality possible which I give Executive Producer Andy Harper full credit for coming up with that a few days before the premiere on my whiny whim. I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the screening and the reaction we recieved from everyone was very positive.
On the same night, the film was broadcasted on television screens across Mississippi on MPB and helped commemorate the 50th anniversary of the integration in the way I had always hoped we would be able to.
Since that night, we have begun the process of exploring future outlets for the film including classrooms, festivals and additional public television screenings. We hope to have the film seen by as many people as possible which will hopefully include free web access to the film in the near future. In the meantime, to help promote the film’s website www.1962rebels.com, I am currently producing two short profiles on a few of the characters in the film whose stories truly showcase what it means to be a rebel but were unfortunately not included in the feature film due to pacing and time constraints. The first will look at 1962 Daily Mississippian Editor Sidna Brower whose bold editorials spoke out against the violence and urged acceptance by the student body. Her controversial position earned her a censure by the student body government. The next profile will tell the story of the Rev. Duncan Gray who was the Episcopal Priest of Oxford in 1962 who courageously stood up to the mob that fateful September night and attempted to stop the violence. Look for these short films in early 2013.
In addition, you can check out the IMDb page of Rebels at www.imdb.com/title/tt2464426/ . There’s not much there but it’s still fun to look at.
It’s been a great journey bringing this story to the screen. One that began honestly when I moved to Mississippi almost eight years ago and first learned of this incredible story. My hope is that the film does justice in some way to the events that transpired here 50 years ago and provides at good jumping off point for students to begin to learn about not only the history of this state, but of this country as well.