MINNEAPOLIS – Thekicked off Thursday night with a powerful and moving film.
“Till” is based on the true story of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955.
The film centers on Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, her relationship with her son, and her quest for justice after his brutal murder.
“It’s mixed emotions because it’s a true story. It’s our family you’re going to see onscreen,” said Deborah Watts, cousin of Emmett Till and co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation. .
Watts attended the film’s screening at the film festival with his daughter Teri, who spoke about the importance of what the film means to their family and American history.
“It shows Emmett. It humanizes him, and that’s what we want the world to see. We want to see Grandma’s journey, the love she had for her son as well,” Teri Watts said. “She is an American hero. This tragedy happened, it is part of our American DNA, and so we want to be able to let the world know about it. She was only 33 years old. A young mother of a child who was murdered.”
“The inner side of Grandma Till-Mobley and what drove her, the love, her care and her courage and where that came from. You’re going to see that. And also her legal journey and how she was able to transform her pain in purpose and passion,” Deborah said.
Deborah Watts says the true story behind the film is still clearly relevant today as she reads stories in the news, seeing parallels to what her family went through nearly seven decades ago.
“We believe in connecting the past to the present and the future. And some of the same threads of hate and violence continue, unfortunately. And in the Twin Cities here, we have too many examples of lives that have been stolen “, she said. . “Mothers in the movement, if you will, they know the moment Grandma made that decision to move forward to make sure she stood up, stood up for her son, and stood up for herself. will fight for justice.”
No one has ever been convicted for Emmett Till’s murder.
The Till family still demands justice and Watts hopes others who see the film will also speak out for justice, not just for Emmett but for all families.
“Unfortunately we’re still dealing with some of these tragedies that are still happening across the country and unfortunately Grandma has provided this blueprint for how you stand in your dignity, you know, and your humanity, and how you demand that the country bears witness to what happened to your child,” said Deborah Watts.
The Twin Cities Film Festival will run until next Saturday.
“Till” will be in national theaters starting next Friday.