UPDATE: Ava DuVernay has announced that on August 28, for one day only, the short film can be streamed online at AvaDuVernay.com
Lupita, Regina, Don, David, Gugu, Angela, Andre, Michael, Glynn + a tremendous crew worked with me to create AUGUST 28 for @NMAAHC. For today only, you can watch the full film outside of the museum exhibit on https://t.co/opVOsXIZD3. August 28 is a day to remember. Always. xo pic.twitter.com/sgwdp43nR0
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 28, 2019
August 28 is an important day to commemorate in history, and back in 2016, Ava DuVernay created a short film centered on the day to coincide with the official opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. August 28 first debuted at the museum on September 24, 2016, and was shown for the first time on television on OWN in 2018.
“I chose to focus on a date that has fascinated me for years. 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," she said in an initial statement during the time of the film's premiere.
The 22-minute scripted film uses both documentary and narrative techniques to take viewers to six historical moments through history that all occurred on August 28. It traverses a century of progress, protest, passion and perseverance of African American people. The star-studded cast includes Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Don Cheadle, Regina King, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, André Holland, Michael Ealy and Glynn Turman.
The short film gives a historical perspective within the creative framework of this one date that has had a profound effect on America, including these six events:
- The passing of The Slavery Abolition Act on August 28, 1833.
- The lynching of Emmett Till on August 28, 1955.
- The first radio airplay from Motown Records on August 28, 1961, with The Marvelettes "Please Mr. Postman".
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech during the massive March on Washington on August 28, 1963.
- Hurricane Katrina making its tragic landfall on August 28, 2005.
-Then-Senator Barack Obama's acceptance of the Democratic nomination for the presidency on August 28, 2008.
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When I got the call, I was awe-struck. Would I be interested in a commission? To make a film for the new Smithsonian African-American museum? That would be installed on a continuous loop in the museum for years? Gulp. And yes! I chose to focus on a date that has fascinated me for years. Today. August 28. The date that Emmett Till was murdered in one year. Which is the same date that the March on Washington and "I Have A Dream" occurred in another year. Which is the same date that Katrina made land fall in yet another year. Which is the same date that Senator Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for POTUS in yet another year. Which is today this year. In my eyes, August 28 tells so much about black history through the lens of one date. The Smithsonian let me tell this story. And many friends helped. With a black producing team, cinematographer, camera team, electrical team, production designers, costume designer, composer, casting director, assistant directors and more (yes, there are that many African-Americans proficient in all capacities behind the camera), we made a film quietly over two weekends in early August. Our stellar cast is Don Cheadle, Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo, Angela Bassett, Andre Holland, Regina King, Michael Ealy, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and the legend Glynn Turman. This is a museum exclusive. Debuting with the opening of the illustrious and important @NMAAHC in September! Honored to be a part of it. xo!
Malik Sayeed was the cinematographer for the project, and the editor was Spencer Averick. Meshell Ndegeocello composed the score. Paul Garnes produced, with co-producers Tilane Jones and Tammy Garnes.
The film isn't available to stream as of now, but you can watch previews of it below, as well as DuVernay speaking about the project for CBS News: