Regina King Makes History as First Black Female Director Included at Venice Film Festival
By Jackie Willis
JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP via Getty Images
Regina King is now getting noticed for her work behind the camera. The Oscar-winning actress is making her directorial debut with the film One Night in Miami, and it's already a historic feat for her.
The movie was selected to premiere at the 77th Venice Film Festival in Italy, and marks the first time that a film directed by a Black woman has ever been featured at the prestigious event.
One Night in Miami, based on former journalist Kemp Powers' stage play of the same name, is a fictional account of a real meeting in 1964 between Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). The four men meet up to discuss their roles in the civil rights movement and the cultural upheaval of the '60s.
Speaking to reporters via Zoom as part of the festival, King shared how the success or failure of the film could "open doors or close doors for more Black female directors."
"Unfortunately, across the world, that’s how things seem to work. One woman gets a shot and if she does not succeed, it shuts things down for years until someone else gets a shot," she said, according to Variety.
King still has very high hopes for her movie. "I am so grateful for our film to be a part of the festival but I really, really want it to perform well," she confessed. "There’s so much talent out there -- so many talented directors -- so if One Night in Miami gets it done here, you’ll get to see a lot more of us."
The film was bought by Amazon in July, and while King had originally decided to push back the release date, she now has a sense of urgency to release it amid the Black Lives Matter movement.
"We thought we’d push it back because we didn’t know what the climate of going to theaters would be like,” the 49-year-old filmmaker explained. “And then a couple of months after the pandemic hit, [George Floyd died in police custody], and for all the producers and everyone involved, we were like, ‘This needs to come out now.’ I feel like fate always had it planned out this way, but maybe we’re lucky and we’re going to have the opportunity to be a piece of art out there that moves the needle in a conversation about transformative change."