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Special Screening Of "To Kill A Mockingbird" At The White House w/ Obama Intro + USA Network Broadcast

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by Tambay A. Obenson
April 4, 2012 3:11 PM
3 Comments
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How often does this happen? Not very often, I think. 

Whenever I think of White House screenings of films, I immediately recall D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation being making history as the first motion picture film to be shown at the White House. Woodrow Wilson was prez at the time, and there was that comment he allegedly made about the film: "like writing history with lightning. And my only regret is that it is all so terribly true."

Read on from the press release...

LOS ANGELES, CA, April 4, 2012 – The American Film Institute (AFI), in conjunction with USA Network and Universal Pictures, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at the White House on Thursday, April 5 and with the nation on Saturday, April 7. AFI was created in the White House Rose Garden in 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson set a national mandate to "bring together leading artists of the film industry, outstanding educators and young men and women who wish to pursue the art form as their life's work."

President Obama will introduce the film at a special screening in the White House Family Theater with an audience that includes children from DC area schools as well as Mary Badham, who portrayed Scout in the film; Gregory Peck's family, including wife Veronique; and AFI Trustees Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman of Sony Corporation, Ron Meyer, President and COO of Universal Studios and Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, is also expected to attend. President Obama will then celebrate the film with the nation through a special primetime broadcast on USA Network at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on April 7.

"I'm deeply honored that President Obama will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by introducing it to a national audience," said Harper Lee, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel on which the movie is based. "I believe it remains the best translation of a book to film ever made, and I'm proud to know that Gregory Peck's portrayal of Atticus Finch lives on – in a world that needs him now more than ever."

"TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is an American treasure – a film of family and fatherhood, justice and equality – all so richly embodied in the character of Atticus Finch," said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. "We are honored to screen the film in the White House, where AFI was born, and to partner with USA Network and Universal Pictures to inspire generations of movie lovers to discover and rediscover this classic American film."

AFI proposed the anniversary celebration to the White House in early January and learned last month that President Obama would be available to participate on April 5 – a timely date as it marks the late Gregory Peck's 96th birthday. Peck had a long association with the American Film Institute, serving as Founding Chair of the AFI Board of Trustees from 1967 to 1969, and receiving the AFI Life Achievement Award – the highest honor for a career in film – in 1989.

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3 Comments

  • BluTopaz | April 5, 2012 1:44 AMReply

    And then they can discuss how nothing has changed, how warm & fuzzy

  • Nadine | April 4, 2012 5:10 PMReply

    One of my all time favorites... "Mayella Ewell: I was sittin' on the porch, and he come along. Uh, there's this old chifforobe in the yard, and I-I said, 'You come in here, boy, and bust up this chifforobe, and I'll give you a nickel.' So he-he come on in the yard and I go in the house to get him the nickel and I turn around, and 'fore I know it, he's on me, and I fought and hollered, but he had me around the neck, and he hit me again and again, and the next thing I knew, Papa was in the room, a-standin' over me, hollerin', 'Who done it, who done it?' - HA! Pure LIES from Mayella, but pure truth from Harper Lee. The truth, ya'll the truth... won't see this today...

  • CareyCarey | April 4, 2012 4:29 PMReply

    OH LORD, here we go again. To Kill A Mockingbird: A great American Treasure my ass. Now I love my man President Obama, but what's next, the Camp David camp fire viewing of the "classic" The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn? Spare me and GTFOOH! The only things "classic" and All American and treasured (as apple pie) in the aforementioned po negro stories, is the thought ( and message) that it's the American way of life - (always has been) - that white folks are superior to black folks. And they can call the black man a "ni**er" right up in the White House, as long as the White Savior comes to the rescue. And, from what I read, the messages is... it's standard procedure to mistreat po colored folk, and bambozzle them, and kill them under the blessing of the law, and smile in their face while all the time they want to take thier place. Nevertheless, looking back, did Atticus Finch even save the black man, Tom Robinson? If I am not mistaken, we've all heard "this" story before. Atticus proved to the jury, without a shadow of a doubt, that Tom was innocent. Unfortunately, the jury found Tom guilty, as charged, because of the color of his skin. Everyone was astonished about the outcome of the verdict. Yep, same ol' song, same ol' message. "Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior, to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, and the struggle between blacks and whites". And in the end, the best story - The best FREAKIN' CLASSIC - ever told is about the good ol'honorable white man, who did not save another black face.

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