St. Louis joins #SelmaforStudents to make Movie free for Teens

Ford Foundation partners with Deaconess to educate 6,250 locally

St. Louis, MO – January 16, 2015 Just in time for commemorations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, Deaconess Foundation is partnering with Ford Foundation and a group of African-American business and civic leaders to provide free admission for up to 6,250 St. Louis area teens to see Academy Award®-nominated film “SELMA” at participating theaters as part of the national SELMA Education Project.

Beginning today, students in the 7th, 8th, or 9th grade can show their student ID or report card at the box office of any participating theater to receive free tickets while they last. Participating theaters in the St. Louis area are: AMC Creve Coeur 12 (Creve Coeur), Moolah Theatre and Lounge (St. Louis), Regal St. Louis Stadium 18 & IMAX (Hazelwood) and Wehrenberg O’Fallon 15 Cine (O’Fallon, IL).

The national initiative launched in New York City and quickly expanded to 23 cities. To date, nearly $2 million has been raised to educate more than 278,000 students in partnership with Paramount Pictures. Deaconess is coordinating local fundraising efforts with more than $42,000 raised toward the $50,000 goal. This includes initial support from Ford, Deaconess and the United Way of Greater St. Louis. For more information about the program, group sales or other participating cities, visit

“It is important that St. Louis students are informed about this moment in history its connections to the challenges they face today,” said Reverend Starsky Wilson, president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation. “We are grateful for Darren Walker, the Ford Foundation and African American leaders joining us in this effort. We believe this experience will nurture civic engagement among young people and give them hope that systemic change is possible through cooperative, intentional, and well-planned efforts.”

Directed by DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., “SELMA” is nominated for Academy Awards® for Best Picture and Best Original Song for “Glory” by Common & John Legend. The film earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Song for “Glory” and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.

“SELMA” is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s “SELMA” tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history. The film also stars Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi, Common, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, with Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey as “Annie Lee Cooper.”

Paramount Pictures, Pathé, and Harpo Films present “SELMA.” Produced by Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey, the film is executive produced by Brad Pitt, Cameron McCracken, Diarmuid McKeown, Nik Bower, Ava DuVernay, Paul Garnes and Nan Morales. The film is written by Paul Webb. “SELMA” is directed by Ava DuVernay.


About Deaconess Foundation

Deaconess, established in 1889, is celebrating 125 years of service to the St. Louis area and continues its mission — pursuing health and hope for all St. Louis children. A ministry of the United Church of Christ, Deaconess has invested more than $74 million to improve the health of the St. Louis community since 1998. The Foundation believes healthy, hope-filled futures for children benefit the entire region. Deaconess Foundation invests in endeavors that improve the well-being of children, engages our region around the plight of youth, and advocates for change. For more information about Deaconess Foundation or its funding opportunities, visit Connect with Deaconess on Twitter @DeaconessFound and Facebook.