Written by | Ray Cornelius
HBO and the 2016 Atlanta Film Festival presented a special advanced screening Sunday night of the upcoming film “Confirmation.” The event took place at the historic Rialto Center for the Performing Arts at Georgia State University and featured the film’s star Wendell Pierce.
“Confirmation” recounts the 1991 controversy when Judge Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court Justice was called into question over accusations that he sexually harassed former colleague and attorney Anita Hill. Thomas was Hill’s supervisor at the U.S. Department of Education and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and allegedly used work situations to discuss sexual subjects such as pornography, his anatomy, and his own sexual prowess.
Wendell Pierce stars as Judge Clarence Thomas in “Confirmation”
The film features an all-star cast including Pierce as Judge Thomas, Kerry Washington as the attorney Hill, Jeffrey Wright as Hill’s attorney Charles Ogletree, Jennifer Hudson as Angela Wright, the second woman who accused Judge Thomas of sexual harassment, Kimberly Elise as Hill’s friend Sonia Jarvis and Greg Kinnear as Joe Biden, who at that time served as the Senate Judiciary Committee Chair.
In addition to walking the red carpet, Pierce chatted briefly with Atlanta press about his role and why this part of our American history is still relevant today as it was in 1991.
“It’s the 25th anniversary of this story and we have to be ever vigilant about it. We have to continue to bring awareness and a vigilance to fight something that is on going like sexual harassment. But especially now because we have an entire generation that doesn’t even know who these two people were. They don’t even know the people involved in the months and weeks that actually changed our political and cultural landscape. It wasn’t until then that we had a conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace,” said Pierce.
He went on to further explain how the the situation changed the way companies built their HR departments and how many of them have instituting sexual harassment seminars during employee orientation. Hill’s accusations also opened the door for more women to join Congress and it served as a catalyst for more open and honest dialogue about sex, politics and harassment in the workplace.
“It was seminal moment that we should always reflect on in our history and make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes of our past,” said Pierce who has also starred in other HBO projects such as “Treme” and “The Wire.” The 49-year-old actor admitted that he prepared for the role by reading Thomas’ book “My Granfather’s Son” and found that they both shared a love for family and education. Pierce also claims that this movie is not a political one but rather a human story.
“It’s not a political journey, this film. It’s actually about a man at the pinnacle of his career who is about to lose it all because of the events of his past. So there is self-reflection and a defense of his integrity and his character. That is what his son is going to have to learn about him. And so his understanding of how he is going to be perceived by his son is the thing that drives him and the force behind the fervent defense of his character.”
“Confirmation” was film on location in Atlanta and features a number of familiar faces including stage and film actress Donna Biscoe as Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and real estate maven Shelia Maddox as Ellen Wells, a friend and colleague of Hill who testified on her behalf. “Confirmation” was directed by Rick Famuyiwa and will premiere on HBO April 16th.
Check out more photos below from last night’s screening:
Rialto Center Director Leslie Gordon with ACVB’s Jo Ann Haden-Miller
ATL’s Office of Cultural Affairs Camille Love with Funk Jazz Kafe’s Jason Orr
Asante Bradford of GA’s Digital Entertainment & Interactive Media
Jason Orr, Rhonda Penrice, Christopher A. Daniel and Janet Wally
HBO presented “Confirmation” in conjunction with The Atlanta Film Festival
Pierce introduced the film and thanked HBO for another great opportunity
Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com