Heavens Fall to Screen at St. Edward’s University
“My name is Le’Darrion Allen and I am the Black Heritage Coordinator for St. Edward’s University’s Multicultural Leadership Board,” the caller introduced himself. “My job is to plan, coordinate, and execute events pertaining to, but not limited to African Heritage, and I specifically wanted to show Heavens Fall because…” he continued in a followup email, “I believe this film fits perfectly not only with Black History month, but also with the curriculum which all freshman and sophomore Criminal Justice majors are studying at my university. Seeing this film will definitely give them a deeper understanding of the importance of case law.”
Le’Darrion, an articulate and soft-spoken young man, went on to say that upon graduation he plans to attend law school and that seeing Heavens Fall has ‘strengthened and inspired’ his ambitions. He cited the case of Powell vs. Alabama (Ozie Powell is one of the nine Scottsboro defendants depicted in the film), in which the United States Supreme Court ruled that in a capital trial, the defendant must be given access to counsel upon his or her own request as part of due process. The Powell case was the first time the Court reversed a state criminal conviction for a violation of a criminal procedural provision of the United States Bill of Rights. Le’Darrion’s Administration of Justice professor at St. Edward’s introduced him to the case, which has clearly had an influence on his decision to become a lawyer.
Such requests to screen Heavens Fall are rare, but happen more often than you might imagine. Whether or not these requests validate the filmmakers isn’t what’s important here. Movies have a way of lasting and over time can affect the lives of younger generations that are still looking for answers to some of today’s toughest questions. At the very least, they can spark a debate that informs our views on racial inequality, freedom of speech, immigration, the disintegration of civil liberties, and a host of other significant issues.
As an educational tool, film has the power to change people and for this opportunity I am eternally grateful. We should all be so fortunate to receive a call from the likes of Le’Darrion Allen—a young man whose future holds unlimited possibilities. I look forward to bringing you more news on the upcoming screening and reactions to the film.