August 28th will mark sixty years from the date of Emmett Till’s confirmed death, brutally murdered in Mississippi. His death and open-casket funeral (as well as the acquittal and subsequent public confession of his murderers) is widely recognized as a touchstone for the Civil Rights Movement to come. Now, only weeks after the announcement of a Jay-Z- and Will Smith-co-produced HBO miniseries, director Keith Beauchamp is crowdfunding for a new feature film.
"Till" is being assembled by Beauchamp (whose 2003 documentary "The Untold Story of Emmett Till" is partially credited for leading the Department of Justice to reopen Till’s murder case), Whoopi Goldberg, and the production team behind "Mississippi Burning." While it’s not clear what role those besides Beauchamp will play, the screenplay will be adapted from "Untold" and "Simeon’s Story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmett Till" (written by Simeon Wright, Till’s cousin).
According to the film’s Kickstarter page, the film will depict not only Till’s murder but his mother Mamie Till Mobley’s decisions that made Till a central figure for Civil Rights Movement activists. Beauchamp explains why he decided to use crowdfunding:
This was not just one family’s tragic loss. It was a nation’s loss. The story of Emmett is our shared responsibility to tell. Thanks to Kickstarter, we can begin to fulfill that responsibility.
Beauchamp has additionally asked people to use the hashtag #MyTillMoment on social media to share the moment where they first learned about Till’s murder and/or saw the harrowing and infamous photograph of his corpse during the open-casket funeral.
Click here for the film’s Kickstarter page.