Spike Lee's film "2 Fists Up" premiered at Missouri Theatre
COLUMBIA - Interim University of Missouri System President Mike Middleton and Spike Lee took the stage before the first and only hour long premiere of Lee's documentary, "2 Fists Up," at Missouri Theatre.
The film largely focuses on protests and interviews with the group, Concerned Student 1950. The film also touches on the Black Lives Matter movement all over the country and other college campus' response that "Stand in Solidarity with MU."
Before the film started Lee said he hopes this film will strike up serious conversations.
He partnered with ESPN films to make this documentary for a series of short films called “Spike Lee’s Lil’ Joints.”
Even with the partnership, the football team was not the main focus of the film.
The film showed some clips of coverage from ESPN and discussed the tweets and comments from Gary Pinkel in fall 2015.
Several football players attended the premiere along with members of Concerned Student 1950 and former MSA President Payton Head.
Both group members and Head said they were proud of the final result.
"My one issue with everything that happened last semester is the fact that there were so many different media outlets that told so many different stories as to what happened here. They tried to define what happened here at Mizzou. This documentary gave students, faculty and staff here [a chance] to tell our own story and tell what exactly happened here at the University of Missouri," Head said.
Marshall Allen, a member of Concerned Student 1950, said the group asked Spike Lee to center the film around black women, "because often times the stuff that happened last semester, all the stuff that's been happening now, throughout history and throughout the movement black women are often erased."
Marshall Allen and Victoria Peterson both agreed that Lee did exactly what they wanted him to do and felt his film told the story accurately.
"It would climax and come back down, and climax and come back down again. It was the reality, it was what we were living," Peterson said.
The film also contained some historical aspects. That includes when Mike Middleton helped write a list of demands in 1969 as a student. Concerned Student 1950 is still pushing for those demands today.
"I think the way that Spike Lee brought in a lot of the historical perspectives was very important. I think that to emphasize that this is not new, it's not new at Mizzou and we are not the only campus that experiences the systemic racism that is here," Carolyn Magnuson, a member of the audience, said.
"I think that a lot of people try to create Mizzou to be this hotbed of racial harassment in our nation, when in reality that's every single school here. We are all dealing with the same issues," Head said.
Head, Marshall and Peterson all said the next step is continuing change on MU's Campus.
In the film, Middleton said he would try to do everything he could to meet the demands and make changes.
A shorter 22 minute version of the film will premiere on ESPN on June 3. A 30 minute version will play at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York later in April.