The historical drama Selma premiered in Manhattan Sunday night, where members of the film’s cast and crew posed for pictures donning “I can’t breathe” shirts over their formal clothing.
The group then marched to the steps of the New York Public Library, where they raised their arms together in the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose.
Director Ava DuVernay led the cast to the steps of the library, where actors David Oyelowo, E. Roger Mitchell, Wendell Pierce, Omar Dorsey, John Lavelle, Stephan James, Kent Faulcon, Lorraine Toussaint, Andre Holland, Tessa Thompson, and Colman Domingo all showed their support for Garner.
The release of the highly anticipated drama is no coincidence, according to actress Lorraine Toussaint, via Variety.
Toussaint, who plays the civil rights activist Amelia Boynton, said Selma‘s timeliness is undeniable.
“There are no accidents,” she said. “I’m so proud to be a part of this film, and I’m so proud of Ava’s accomplishment. To bear witness to the fact that this voice is being heard at this moment… it speaks to the times and the needs of this time, too.”
Paramount chairman-CEO Brad Grey, and Viacom president-CEO Philippe Dauman were in attendance at the premiere, along with producer Oprah Winfrey.
Paramount Pictures will debut Selma on Christmas Day in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C., followed by a wider release on Jan. 9.