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Oprah, Common, David Oyelowo lead commemorative march in Selma, Alabama

Edmund Pettis Bridge
In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 86th birthday, the filmmakers and cast of the Oscar-nominated film SELMA joined local residents of Selma, Alabama, in a commemorative march on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, to pay tribute to Dr. King’s contributions to the city 50 years after the famous march and its role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Director Ava DuVernay; actors David Oyelowo and Common;and the film’s producers Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, participated in the daylong event on the eve of the Dr. Martin Luther King national holiday. The celebration started with a Q-and-A with select filmmakers and cast moderated by Congresswoman Terri Sewell at Selma High School for local high school students and teachers.

Selma Mayor George Patrick Evans addressed the community at Selma City Hall. Rev. Dion Culliver of Tabernacle Baptist Church and Rev. Leodis Strong of Brown A.M.E. Chapel welcomed attendees with a prayer. The filmmakers and cast proceeded with a commemorative march to the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

The day’s events culminated with a special screening of SELMA at the Selma Walton Theater for Alabama state officials and the film’s local cast and crew.

SELMA is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. King led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the Civil Rights Movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s SELMA tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.

“I’m honored that Paramount Pictures and the cast has put Selma to the forefront of the nation again during MLK weekend. The dream marches on,” Mayor Evans expressed.

Today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 19, Paramount Pictures is hosting two free screenings of SELMA for the general public at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Selma Walton Theater. These showings are added to the free screenings in SELMA throughout the month of January. Tickets are available at the box office on a first come, first served basis.

Directed by DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., SELMA is nominated for Academy Awards® for Best Picture and Best Original Song for “Glory” by Common and John Legend. The film earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Song for “Glory” and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.

The film also stars Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi, Niecy Nash, Ledisi, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, with Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey.

Paramount Pictures, Pathé, and Harpo Films present SELMA, Produced by Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey, the film is executive produced by Brad Pitt, Cameron McCracken, Diarmuid McKeown, Nik Bower, Ava DuVernay, Paul Garnes and Nan Morales. The film is written by Paul Webb.

(Photos courtesy Paramount Pictures)