Award-winning Filmmaker Maia Wechsler today announced that a sneak preview of MELVIN & JEAN: AN AMERICAN STORY, her new 59-minute documentary about Sixties radicals Melvin and Jean McNair, will be featured as part of this year's impressive DOC NYC line-up.
Slated to be screened at the IFC Center in Lower Manhattan at 5:30PM on Friday, November 9th, "Melvin & Jean: An American Story" offers a look back at that singular, tumultuous and wrenching period in U.S. history and asks viewers to consider whether a lifetime of good can make up for a criminal act.
"Melvin & Jean: An American Story" is a poignant tale of two people, the radical Sixties, crime in the name of a cause -and second chances. The documentary follows Melvin and Jean McNair from revolt and exile to renewal and reconciliation. As a young couple in 1972, the McNairs made news when they hijacked a plane from Detroit to Algeria to join the International Section of the Black Panthers. Simultaneously an act of political resistance to racism and the Vietnam War and an act of desperation committed by two young people who saw no other way to escape the constant state of racial oppression in the U.S., the controversial act continues to have long-term repercussions, four decades later.
After serving several years in prison in France for the hijacking, the McNairs remained in France and, for 35 years, have lived as model citizens in their adopted country. Forty years after the fact, the two are still coming to terms with their crime and its lifelong consequences as they try to gain the freedom to return home without spending the rest of their lives behind bars in America.
"When I met Melvin and Jean in France many years ago, I couldn't reconcile the people they were -valued members of their community working with disadvantaged kids- with the crime they had committed," explained Filmmaker Maia Wechsler. "I made this film to better understand what could compel two college-educated people in their early twenties to hijack a plane with their own young children on board. This film is a journey, theirs -- and ours, as viewers."
To buy tickets for the DOC NYC sneak preview: http://stage.docnyc.net/film/melvin-jean-an-american-story or for more information about "Melvin & Jean: An American Story" or Filmmaker Maia Wechsler: http://melvinandjean.com