The most common question to jump start conversation with people standing in a festival wait line, or with the person sitting in the next theater seat, or chit chat with a fellow press pass holder, is “What films have you liked so far?” Here the film most often mentioned was Prom Night in Mississippi (see film review). Many films that were showcased pertained to the perpetual dark side of life offering little hope, but the documentary Prom Night in Mississippi was most definitely a film with a happy thought. The twinkle in the eye, the lip curl of a smile or the positive verbal comment indicating a favorite made me feel happy for the filmmakers. They effectively communicated a very personal story with a lasting impression. The film audience expressed pleasure to view a film with a positive impact. The film’s message is to encourage all of mankind to “do something” to make a positive difference in the world. And, even though it might require patience, it is often not that difficult and well worth the effort.
In Prom Night in Mississippi, Academy Award Winner Morgan Freeman proposes to pay for an integrated prom night in place of the traditional segregated one. His proposal addressed a deep-rooted conflict of racial segregation still affecting people in his home town of Charleston, Mississippi. Freeman’s example by his “one-step-toward-a-solution” involvement encouraged others to get on board with the idea which created excitement and joy. The line-up of interested people had been in place for a long time, especially the students. He took the first step; the school took the next step and passed the baton to the students who took off running with the idea. Together they were agents of change who will never to be forgotten in Charleston’s history.
Did they have opposition? Absolutely! Impressive was how each party communicated their qualms with sincere honesty. The stimulating dialogue created an understanding of their position which once absorbed, it endeared the film audience. I believe that everyone could relate to it in some form or another, as well as, reminiscence of their own prom night.