by Lauren Legette
How many times have you tuned in to a Docu-film about the life of an extraordinary individual, only to be disappointed by poor acting, low budget corner cutting, or the room full of loud and distracting moviegoers who have ruined the entire experience for you? Stopped counting? Yes, me too.
However, Thursday, November 14, 2013 was different. Yes, I missed Scandal (of which I heard was a totally knock out episode but I digress) for perhaps the most moving experience of my life. I was among 200 guests invited to a New York City Screening of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom at the Alice Tully Hall Theater. Notable attendees included Singer Tony Bennett, TV Personality A.J. Calloway, Recording Artist Ashanti and CBS Anchor Gayle King to name a few.
The film’s Director, Justin Chadwick, who spoke of the amazing journey it took to develop this film, addressed the audience. He shared how Producer Anant Singh spent nearly 25 years conducting research on the life of Nelson Mandela in order to vividly tell this very factual story. Chadwick then introduced some of the actors and among them were Naomie Harris (Winnie Mandela) and Idris Elba (Nelson Mandela).
The film was absolutely extraordinary from the second it began. It is an intense look at Mandela’s gradual rise to becoming a civil rights activist. Viewers got an in-depth look at his fearlessness, which is so common among history’s most notable Civil Rights Leaders. A fearlessness that Winnie Mandela, played by Naomie Harris, quickly adopted.
A feeling of heartbreak permeated the room as we watched Mandela experience the loss of his mother and son and, in many ways, the rest of his family as he sat in a jail cell for over 20 years.
We all know (or think we know) the story of Nelson Mandela. But this film captures the very essence of his life and is without a doubt a must see. I am so empowered by the strength of Nelson Mandela and the impact he had not just on his country but the world! 5 stars!
Following the movie premiere, there was an intimate after party where guests mingled among the actors. In a quick exchange I said to actress Naomie Harris, “I’m so proud of you! Thank you for being such an incredible role model for someone even at my age.” To which she replied, “Thank you so much for your support! It means so much to me!”
About the Author, Lauren Legette
Lauren Legette is a graduate of Hampton University where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism. She is currently working for Fast Company Magazine in New York City.