Paramount Pictures has made Ava DuVernay‘s Selma free to rent on all digital platforms through the month of June.
The announcement comes as protests continue, worldwide, over police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck.
“We hope 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,” read the announcement from Paramount.
DuVernay also announced the free rental program on her Twitter account, writing, “We’ve gotta understand where we’ve been to strategize where we’re going. History helps us create the blueprint.”
Selma was nominated for best picture at the 87th annual Academy Awards, and depicts the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, as a part of the campaign to secure equal voting rights. David Oyelowo played Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with Carmen Ejogo, Tessa Thompson and Andre Holland also starring.
Warner Bros. made wrongful conviction drama Just Mercy, starring Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan, free to rent for this month, while Netflix has made DuVernay‘s Oscar-nominated doc The 13th, which takes a look at the country’s prison industrial complex, free for viewing on the streamer’s YouTube channel.
On June 4, The Criterion Channel announced that it would be taking down the pay wall in front of many films from black filmmakers, including work from Maya Angelou, Julie Dash and William Greaves, among others. “We’ve taken down the paywall on as many of these titles as we can, so even if you aren’t a subscriber you can watch them for free.”