CANNES, FRANCE (May 14, 2015) - Shatterglass Films and Chaz Ebert (LIFE ITSELF), wife of former Urbana native and Chicago Sun-Times Film Critic Roger Ebert, announced today they will adapt award-winning book Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America for film. The book, based on the life of slain Chicago teenager Emmett Till, was co-written by Till’s mother, the late Mamie Till-Mobley and award-winning journalist Christopher Benson, nominated for a 2004 Pulitzer Prize and won a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award Special Recognition that year.
Emmett Till, a 14 year-old boy who was visiting relatives in the Mississippi Delta, was slain after reportedly whistling at a white woman. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the brutal lynching of Emmett Till that took place on August 28th, 1955. Till’s murder, which was the focus of international press coverage, inspired Americans in their quest for justice and equality, and galvanized the Civil Rights Movement that ultimately led to federal legislation, and extensive legal and social progress.
"The full Emmett Till story needs to be told now and told well as a narrative for our times, given all that is happening on American streets today and Shatterglass Films are the people to tell it,” said Chaz Ebert.
Christopher Benson added, “This is not an African American story, it is an American story.”
“We are proud to play a vital role in bringing this compelling story to a wide audience at this critical time in our history,” said award-winning producer Brett Hays (CONSUMED). “The film will fill in the gaps in public awareness regarding the significance of Till’s death, particularly in light of recent slayings of Black youth in American cities under questionable circumstances.”
“For the first-time in a feature-length film, people will see Emmett Till’s story, which is a critical part of America’s journey toward social, legal and political progress," commented producer Luke Boyce. “Audiences will see Till as more than the icon we have come to know mostly in photographs.”
Luke Boyce, Brett Hays and Jen Shelby are producing the film for Shatterglass Films, and Christopher Benson is also producing. Chaz Ebert and Nate Kohn are executive producing.
Principal photography will be completed in Chicago, the Mississippi Delta and Central Illinois in 2016.