The Oxford Film Festival will host a free screening of “All the Difference,” a documentary exploring issues related to young African American men, Monday night at the Burns-Belfry Museum and Multicultural Center.
Based on Wes Moore’s New York Times bestselling memoir, “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates,” the film follows the five-year journey of two African American teens from the South Side of Chicago who refuse to be seen as statistics. They dream of graduating college, despite odds that are heavily stacked against them.
In the memoir, Moore receives the Rhodes Scholarship and is featured in The Baltimore Sun. Around the same time, another man named Wes Moore appears in the newspaper because he was named as a suspect in a botched robbery and murder of a police officer.
Both young men come from a similar background — the same neighborhood, fatherless households, encounters with the police — yet different choices led to vastly different results for their lives. Both the book and movie cover the generational difficulties that black teenage men face.
Much of the film takes place while the teens are in college and learning how to adjust to being away from family and friends, form study habits and align their goals with their academic strengths. Besides these common college concerns, the young men also face issues intensified by their race and socioeconomic background differences, such as a constant fear of paying off loans.
“All the Difference” is part of the PBS documentary series “POV.” Composing this series is a vast collection of short and feature-length films covering a wide array of topics — from “Survivors,” which depicts the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone to “Girl Model,” which explores the issues and consequences of the modeling industry.
Oxford Film Festival’s executive director, Melanie Addington, said “All the Difference” was chosen as its “back to school” film because it is about two men who are going to college against the odds and will be relatable to students.
The screening of “All the Difference” is part of the film festival’s Monday Movie Series, which features films related to race, gender and religion.
“We do at least one film a month, held on a Monday,” Addington said. “The Monday Movies Series was selected as a partnership with Burns-Belfry to identify films that are about diversity issues.”
The Oxford Film Festival will host its 19th annual festival in February. Addington said the festival aims to get more students involved this year by adding a student category to the over 200 films it already plans to showcase.
“New this year is a student category, as the University of Mississippi just added a film major,” Addington said. “We wanted to support that — and students internationally — to showcase their works.”
This film’s screening is hosted in collaboration with the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and the Burns-Belfry Museum and is sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council and PBS.