by Dominic Patten
September 21, 2016
The September 24 official opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC will also see the debut of the DuVernay-helmed August 28: A Day In The Life Of A People. Commissioned discreetly and directly by NMAAHC, the 22-minute film of six significant events in African-American history that occurred on that summer day will play exclusively in the museum daily for its first year, I’ve learned.
“I chose to focus on a date that has fascinated me for years,” said DuVernay of the project’s specificity. “In my eyes, August 28 tells so much about black history through the lens of one date. The Smithsonian gave us an opportunity to tell this story and I’m honored to be part of NMAAHC’s inaugural installations.” To that end, DuVernay will be at the opening of the NMAAHC on Saturday in DC.
Starring Don Cheadle, Regina King, Angela Bassett, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Michael Ealy, Andre Holland and Glynn Turman and shot last month on weekends, August 28 depicts the 1955 lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech during the massive March on Washington. The DuVernay written, produced and directed film also will look at the 2005 date that Hurricane Katrina made its tragic landfall and the Denver night in 2008 when Barack Obama accepted the Democrats nomination as the first African-American to be a major American political party’s Presidential candidate.
A Wrinkle In Time director DuVernay and Paul Garnes produced August 28, with Tilane Jones and Tammy Garnes co-producers.