SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – It is a story of horror, bravery, and historic change. A filmmaker from Louisiana brings to the big screen the story of Emmett Till and his mother’s fight for justice after his murder.
Keith Beauchamp is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and now produces and writes films in Brooklyn, New York. He co-wrote and produced the movie titled “Till.” He spoke about his personal connection to its main character.
The story of Emmett Till is now told in history books, but what it took to get there is laid out in the MGM and Orion production of “Till.”
Emmett Till was a 14-year-old black boy from Chicago who visited his family in Money, Mississippi, in 1955. During a stop for candy at the local grocery store, he was accused of whistling at a white woman. That night her husband and others busted into Till’s family home, kidnapped, tortured, and shot him before throwing his body into the river. Three days later, his body was found mutilated. The white men later went on trial but were acquitted by the all-white male jury during this Jim Crow era of the south.
“Although Emmett suffered a horrific death. He did not die in vain. Emmett Till’s murder became the catalyst that sparked the American civil rights movement,” Beauchamp said.
Beauchamp said his inspiration for making the movie was Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley.
“She was a mentor and friend of mine for eight-and-half years, so she was my inspiration on carrying the torch and making sure her son’s story is told. She was the most prolific person I’ve ever met. When she became my mentor, it changed my life tremendously, and when she spoke her words moved your soul,” Beauchamp said.
The movie follows Mamie’s history-changing decision to hold an open-casket funeral. The world saw what happened to her son, and Till became an icon for the civil rights movement.
“The fight for freedom and equality for our civil rights and human rights is an ongoing fight. We must remember our past because if we don’t, we’re doomed to repeat it. That’s what is happening today,” Beauchamp said.
He said it’s a story of a mother’s strength, resilience, and unwavering attitude about what is right. Something he hopes viewers take home from the experience.
“So this is a story that should be told time and time again to awaken that sleeping giant for change in us,” Beauchamp said.
“Till” began playing at the Robinson Film Center Thursday evening with a Q&A with Beauchamp beforehand. It was sold out.
The movie is in theaters across the country and is also being played at the Regal Boardwalk in Bossier, where tickets are available.