‘Butter’ to open National Conference

Sarah Jessica Parker pic examines hate crime

The world premiere of Sarah Jessica Parker starrer “Spinning Into Butter” will kick off the upcoming National Conference on Race, Reparation and Reconciliation Sept. 14 in Atlanta.

The indie film, an adaptation of Rebecca Gilman’s play, stars Parker as the dean of students at a New England college who’s thrust into the investigation of a racial hate crime. Parker also produced “Butter,” which explores issues of race and cultural stereotyping, along with Ryan Howe, Norman Twain and Lou Pitt.

The two-day event’s the brainchild of Clarence Jones, Martin Luther King Jr.’s former adviser. He told Daily Variety that the film — which he saw two months ago — had served as an impetus to organize the conference, along with the aftermaths of Hurricane Katrina and the Don Imus firing.

“There’s a frankness in the movie that I’ve never seen before about race, which is the 800-pound gorilla in the national living room,” Jones said. “And we’re never going to get past that until we deal with the issue of slavery and reparations in a way that’s both reasonable and meaningful.”

Organizers said Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has tentatively agreed to attend. Other participants are expected to include NAACP chairman Julian Bond, Reps. John Conyers Jr. and Charles Rangel, Jesse Jackson, National Urban League president Mark Morial, Russell Simmons, Tavis Smiley and Andrew Young.

Whitsett Hill topper Thom Mount said the shingle will have a theatrical distribution deal for “Butter” locked up within the next few weeks.

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