Everyone's been asking when they can see Prom Night in Mississippi in Toronto. Although I don't have answers for that yet, it did just show for the first time in Mississippi this week!!
Here is Director Paul Saltzman's take on the experience:
just back from the oxford, ms. film festival. screenings were awesome. they scheduled one but the demand was great so they increased to 3 screenings on the first day, that were all packed. then on sunday another screening with overflow audience. apparently, in 6 years, they've not had such demand. 'prom night in mississippi' won the audience appreciation award. we are delighted.
at the first screening, about 10 of our students attended. as the kids came down from the audience for the q&a they got a standing ovation from the whole crowd of about 300. it was fabulous, a magic moment. morgan freeman then arrived and after the q&a went down the line and congratulated each of the kids, one at a time. our sense is that the event was life-changing for these young and courageous kids.
monday night, we screened for the community in charleston, in the high school auditorium. it holds 980 and there were more standing at the back. for the first 5 minutes about half the dialogue was drowned out with cheers as the crowd saw the people they knew, on-screen. afterwards, all the seniors in the audience, whether in the film or not, came down front for q&a. the town is 70% black, 30% white, like the high school population. the audience was about 90% black and 10% white. apparently, the buzz around town among the whites was that the film made them and their town look bad. the local newspaper publisher/editor and his wife weren't going to come but we talked with them, in advance, and they did attend. afterwards, they said they had been wrong in their fears.
on tuesday, we spend a couple of hours with morgan and peggy up in memphis, at the house they are in while morgan does his physical therapy. a very sweet visit. morgan reiterated his love for the film and his appreciation to us and all who helped make it happen. he added: "i think the prom and the film, together, is one of the most significant, seminal events for the town of charleston since reconstruction." wow! he leaves this week for 3 months in south africa on a nelson mandela film, directed by clint eastwood.