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Derry Screening of To Kill a Mockingbird to be Catalyst for Conversation 


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EMAil: DinaCivics@gmail.com

DERRY, NH – On October 19, 2019, the New Hampshire Institute for Civics Education (“NHICE”) will screen To Kill a Mockingbird as part of a multi-year statewide program designed to foster conversations with the public on law, justice, and civics.  The screening and post-movie discussion will take place at Pinkerton Academy’s Stockbridge Theatre, Derry, New Hampshire, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (program will begin promptly at 10:30; please arrive earlier to sign in).  Light snacks will be provided for noshing outside the theatre.  This program was made possible with support from New Hampshire Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities.  

New Hampshire Humanities awarded NHICE the Community Project Grant for film screenings in all ten New Hampshire counties to start multigenerational conversations through film about law, justice, and civics.  NHICE selected To Kill a Mockingbird to kick off the Lights, Camera, Civics! program because of the civics, social, and justice issues it raises, and its broad appeal to a range of ages and demographics.  A community discussion accompanying the film showing will be led by Heidi Parenti, Pinkerton Academy English teacher; Dina Michael Chaitowitz, Esq. (NHICE trustee and former federal prosecutor), and a Pinkerton Academy high school student.  


The organizers of Lights, Camera, Civics! hope that the panel discussions accompanying its film showings will encourage civil conversation on sensitive topics and promote understanding among people with diverse viewpoints.  In discussing To Kill a Mockingbird, for example, panelists and audience members will likely discuss racism, intolerance, and segregation--the movie’s central themes--as well as how personal opinion affects legal decision-making, and whether and what procedures are in place in the criminal justice system to protect against personal opinion taking hold of a criminal case.  


 “Movies help us to experience and understand each other and the world around us. They educate and enlighten us.  And, they can lead to a meaningful and much-needed civil discourse,” said Martha Madsen, NHICE’s Executive Director.  “They can serve as a catalyst for meaningful and thought-provoking conversations.”  


Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel came to film in 1962.  Set a small fictitious Southern town during the Depression, local lawyer Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck, is appointed to represent a male person of color falsely accused of raping a white woman.  To Kill a Mockingbird won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Peck), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Art Direction. The novel was recently adapted for the theatre, and the resulting play is currently being shown at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway in New York City.  


The event is free and open to the public but pre-registration is required.  To register, please contact Dina Michael Chaitowitz at dinacivics@gmail.com.  For more general information about Lights, Camera, Civics!, including how to arrange a showing in your county, please contact Martha Madsen at martha.madsen@law.unh.edu.  Learn more about New Hampshire Humanities at www.nhhumanities.org.