What was the feeling like in the days leading up to the prom, and at the prom itself?
As prom day approached there was a growing excitement, like any teenage graduating class would have, with the girls getting their dresses and the guys renting their tuxes, and the girls having their hair and nails done and the boys having haircuts and getting their cars washed.
As for concerns about the event, the kids always thought that it would come off fine. It was the parents and teachers who were somewhat worried. But on the actual day, the kids were just terrific. Standing in that room with the prom going on, there was nothing but a bunch of teenagers, like anywhere else in the world, having a ball.
Some parents went ahead with having a white prom and wouldn't let their children attend the integrated prom. Well as it turned out the integrated prom was absolutely wonderful, but ironically there was a fight at the white prom between two boys over a girl. And so the trouble was not at the integrated prom, but at the white prom.
What kind of impact did the event have on the community, and how are the kids in the film doing today?
Most of the kids are in school now, and some are working so they can afford college. We did a 20-minute update on the kids that is available through HBO-On-Demand. It includes interviews and footage of our main characters, one year later.
In April 2009, the second integrated prom came off beautifully. There was, again, a white prom held by some of the parents who still wouldn't let their children go to an integrated prom. The white prom seems to have diminished in size a bit, and we filmed that from outside. As with the white prom in 2008, those white parents wouldn't allow us to film inside.
We've kept in touch with the main kids in our film, and in fact Jessica and Chasidy came with us to Sundance for the world premiere of the film and have been with us to several other film festivals. And the question and answer sessions after the screenings have been just terrific, very alive with lots of questions. Both Jessica and Chasidy tell us that they have had wonderful life-expanding experiences through their involvement with the film, which has been very gratifying for Patricia and myself.