Paramount makes Ava DuVernay’s Selma free to rent for the month of June

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Just days after Warner Bros. made director Destin Daniel Cretton's JUST MERCY (Buy Here) available to rent for free during the month of June across all digital platforms, Paramount Pictures has announced that they'll be offering cinephiles the same deal for director Ava DuVernay's powerful drama SELMA (Buy Here).

For those of you who've yet to experience DuVernay's critically-acclaimed film, SELMA tells the incredible story of how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the epic march from Selma to Montgomery to secure equal voting rights in an event that forever altered history.

55 years after the historic marches from Selma, as we witness the expression of decades of collective pain, we should reflect on Dr. King’s words: “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Paramount hopes that this small gesture will encourage people throughout the country to examine our nation’s history and reflect on the ways that racial injustice has infected our society.  The key message of SELMA is the importance of equality, dignity and justice for all people.  Clearly, that message is as vital today as it was in 1965.

In related SELMA news, DuVernay recently backed SELMA star David Oyelowo, who played Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 2014 historical drama, in relation to the film being snubbed at the Oscars. Oyelowo brought the backlash into the light recently while speaking with Screen International. According to Oyelowo, SELMA had received a bad wrap with Oscar voters after the cast wore "I Can't Breathe" shirts to the film's 2014 premiere – a signal of solidarity to the last words of Eric Garner, who had been suffocated to death by a police officer. Oyelowo says that Academy members bristled at the display, deeming it offensive and inappropriate, which then led to the group vowing not to put the film up for consideration. In the end, SELMA won the awards for Best Picture and Best Original Song.

Not long after Screen International's story went live, DuVernay retweeted the article alongside the caption "True story."

Not long after the director's tweet went viral, the Academy tweeted back, saying "Ava & David, we hear you." The Academy then added, “Unacceptable. We’re committed to progress.”

In the Screen International interview, Oyelowo recalled the way the Academy had balked at the "I Can't Breathe" shirts.

“Members of the Academy called in to the studio and our producers saying, ‘How dare they do that? Why are they stirring S-H-I-T?’” he said. “And ‘We are not going to vote for that film because we do not think it is their place to be doing that.’”

“It’s part of why that film didn’t get everything that people think it should’ve got, and it birthed #OscarsSoWhite,” Oyelowo continued. “They used their privilege to deny a film on the basis of what they valued in the world.”

It's obvious that Hollywood still has a lot to learn when it comes to matters of racial inequality. With any hope, strides will be made in a positive direction sooner rather than later. Progress begins with a single step, so long as you're willing to walk to the path.

Source: Paramount Pictures, Screen International

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.