The movie “A Wrinkle in Time” opens Friday in U.S. theaters, and a group of organizers have been fundraising to get free screenings of the films in cities around the country, including one in Austin. The Austin screening of this film based on the classic children’s book will be on March 18 at 1 p.m. at the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller.
There are 126 seats available, but the woman behind this Austin event, Jasmine Whittaker, said she’s open to exploring more screenings if there is even greater interest. She added that while the event is designed for girls, siblings and friends of the black girls in attendance are also welcome to join.
Whittaker is creating this event as part of a group called “Sisters in the Storm.” It’s a name with two meanings: one honors the life of Stormiyah Denson-Jackson, a black 12-year old who died of apparent suicide after dealing with bullying at a boarding school in Washington, D.C.
“It’s reported that [Denson-Jackson] was in love with math and science, but something about her life, she just didn’t love,” Whittaker said. “Here was this budding young girl who loves math and science, which is something that as a community, as a country, we’re always pushing girls into STEM, but we had one who fell through the cracks, unfortunately.”
Sisters in the Storm also draws from the main character in “A Wrinkle in Time” named Meg Murray, who is spunky and loves math and science. In this film, Meg is played by a 14-year-old black girl, Storm Reid.
“So we decided that we wanted girls that were Stormiyah, that look like Stormiyah, who love math and science to see Meg who’s actually played by Storm, the actress’s name is Storm, so we wanted them to know that they are a storm,” Whittaker said.
In addition to the Austin screening, the group is also planning showings in Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Greensboro, North Carolina; Houston, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Plainfield, New Jersey; and Washington, D.C.
“I’m black girl, I’ve seen the way that the world kind of treats black girls, I have a daughter,” Whittaker explained. “And just thinking about me, myself, loving math, loving science, loving school when I was younger, and I didn’t always feel affirmed. I didn’t always feel comfortable. And so I want girls that look like me, that look like Stormiyah Jackson, that feel the way that I have felt before, I want them to be affirmed and to know that it’s not only on the big screen.”
Their efforts have even gotten support from the director of “A Wrinkle in Time,” Ava Duvernay. She re-tweeted their cause and reached out to one of the organizers to help.
Duvernay is an award-winning director and this film makes her the first woman of color to direct a live-action film with a production budget over $100 million. She was drawn to creating this movie with a black girl as the hero, and she called it “a love letter to our girls.”
The Austin screening put on by Sisters in the Storm also has an Amazon Wish List going to buy copies of the actual book “A Wrinkle in Time” for every attendee. They are partnering with SoulCiti to host the event and will provide free Lick Honest Ice Cream after the event. Additionally, Mikaila Ulmer, the young black entrepreneur behind the company Me & the Bees Lemonade will be there to meet with the girls who attend.
If you would like to help out with the Sisters in the Storm project, head to their website.