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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Michael B. Jordan’s ‘Fruitvale Station,’ ‘Just Mercy’ Open Inaugural Social Justice Now Film Festival

Michael B. Jordan’s award-winning films “Just Mercy,” and “Fruitvale Station” will serve as the opening-night screenings for the inaugural Social Justice Now Film Festival (SJNFF).

Both films will play on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at Paramount’s Drive-In Theater, sponsored by Amazon Studios.

Jordan serves as a co-ambassador for the film festival, which runs Oct. 21-25, alongside Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi. On screen and off, Jordan and his Outlier Society production company have made social justice causes a priority. Jordan won a NAACP Image Award for his performance in 2019’s “Just Mercy,” portraying civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson in his quest to free Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a wrongfully accused prisoner on death row. “Fruitvale Station” was directed by Ryan Coogler, and saw Jordan embody the late Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old who was fatally shot by BART police in 2009.

The festival’s slate of spotlight screenings — films that highlight the themes of social justice, and explore issues of racial injustice, implicit bias, Black identity and human rights — include HBO’s documentary “40 Years A Prisoner,” “Us Kids,” and “SNCC” (executive produced by Pharell Williams and his company I Am Other), as well as the narrative feature “Reefa.”

“Through these films, we hope to advance the dialogue and help to reshape the narrative of racial and social justice in this country. The festival’s mission is to encourage people to recognize the fierce urgency of now — to watch, reflect, and take action,” SJNFF creators Jeff and Nicole Friday said in a statement. The Fridays’ nonprofit Film Life Foundation is organizing the festival.

All official selections and spotlight screenings will be available to stream for free on abffplay.com, a new digital platform by Endeavor Streaming, from Oct. 21-25. The slate of films were selected by a jury of industry executives including Endeavor, the parent company of the event’s coalition partner Endeavor Content.

More information on the festival and the full list of official selections can be accessed via http://www.socialjusticenowfilmfestival.org.

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