Shatterglass Films and Chaz Ebert will adapt the Emmett Till book Death Of Innocence: The Story Of The Hate Crime That Changed America into a feature film. The book is based on the life of the murdered Chicago teenager and was co-written by Till’s mother and journalist Christopher Benson. It was nominated for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the death of Till, who was 14 and visiting relatives in the Mississippi Delta when he was kidnapped, brutally tortured and killed after reputedly whistling at a white woman. With his mother insisting that newspapers carry the horrific image of her son, who was beaten, mutilated, shot in the head and thrown into the river, the 1955 murder became the focus of international press coverage and was a galvanizer of the coming civil rights movement. His story has been the subject of several documentaries including the excellent 2003 PBS American Experience docu The Murder Of Emmett Till and Keith Beauchamp’s 2003 The Untold Story Of Emmett Louis Till.
“The full Emmett Till story needs to be told now and told well as a narrative for our times, given all that is happening on American streets today, and Shatterglass Films are the people to tell it,” said Ebert, the widow of Roger Ebert.
Luke Boyce, Brett Hays and Jen Shelby are producing for Shatterglass, and Benson also is producing. Ebert and Nate Kohn are executive producing. The plan is to wrap principal photography next year after shoots in Chicago, the Mississippi Delta and Central Illinois.
Chicago-based Shatterglass and Ebert also are working on the documentary Ebertfest, about the Windy City-set film festival created by famed Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert in 1997. He died in 2013.