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Regina King becomes first Black woman director at Venice Film Festival

The award-winning actress premiered her directorial debut ‘One Night in Miami’ earlier this week.

Regina King Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Regina King made history at this year’s Venice International Film Festival as the first-ever Black female director to have a film included in the annual event. The Academy Award-winning actress screened her directorial debut One Night in Miami earlier this week.

Speaking via Zoom with Variety, King said critics’ reception of her film will either “open doors or close doors for more Black female directors.”

“Unfortunately, across the world, that’s how things seem to work,” she told the outlet. “One woman gets a shot and if she does not succeed, it shuts thing down for years until someone else gets a shot.

“I am so grateful for our film to be a part of the festival but I really, really want it to perform well,” she added. “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.”

King’s film is based on Kemp Powers’ fictional account of a real 1964 meeting between Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, Jim Brown and Cassius Clay — before he changed his named to Muhammad Ali. One Night in Miami was purchased by Amazon in late July and suffered release delays due to the pandemic. However, King decided to push forward its debut after the police killing of George Floyd.

“We thought we’d push it back because we didn’t know what the climate of going to theaters would be like, and then a couple of months after the pandemic hit, [George Floyd was killed],” she said. “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,” she added.

See a trailer from the film below.

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