Our Mockingbird-Documentary Film
Race . Class . Gender . & Justice: Then & Now
Post screening moderated discussion with original local cast members and play director
Apr 28th, 2013
Documentary screening supported and made possible by Hadassah, a local, regional and national Women’s Zionist volunteer organization that inspires a passion for and commitment to the land and people of Israel.
Documentary Summary: Threaded through Our Mockingbird is the story of two contrasting high schools in Birmingham, Alabama – Mountain Brook/all white with a state of the art theater, and Fairfield/all black/with no theater department or even auditorium — who stage a co-production of the adapted play, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The documentary chronicles the collaboration starting from the first meeting of the two schools, the casts interactions with Harper Lee, and through follow up encounters as many graduate high school and enter the world armed with the experience of being around a different culture. That this high school production occurs in Alabama, the setting for To Kill A Mockingbird and center of the South’s civil rights struggle, gives the collaboration important context. When the schools reprise the production in Montgomery for state dignitaries, invited foot soldiers from the civil rights movement are moved to tears as they see white and black students — on stage, in harmony – something they could have only dreamed about when they were marching for equal rights.
The joint venture of the two Birmingham high schools provides a current dimension into To Kill A Mockingbird as a force still capable of reaching audiences and promoting change. The insights of the students from this collaboration show how each generation finds empathy with the Tom Robinsons and Boo Radleys of their time, that is to say, the “outsiders” or marginalized members of society.
Along with the story of the high school production, the characters and themes of To Kill A Mockingbird are analyzed from multiple perspectives — students, teachers, actors, lawyers, judges, writers. Our Mockingbird was previewed as a Work In Progress at the 50th anniversary celebration of To Kill A Mockingbird in Monroeville, Alabama, hometown of Harper Lee. It was also invited to appear at Independent Film Week in NYC where it was exposed to leading distributers, broadcasters, and film festival programmers from around the world.