Oscar winning actress Regina King makes historic debut at Venice Film Festival

Oscar winning actress Regina King made history on Monday, September 7, by becoming the first African-American woman to make her directorial debut at Venice Film Festival.

HER movie, One Night in Miami, is the first film directed by an African-American female to be chosen in the history of the festival.

The drama, which premiered on the Lido, is a fictional account of an actual meeting between boxer Cassius Clay, activist Malcolm X, American footballer Jim Brown, and singer Sam Cooke in a Miami hotel room in February 1964.

The group were celebrating Clay’s unexpected title win over Sonny Liston.

It was unanimously critically-acclaimed and is now an Oscar contender on the autumn film festival circuit.

There are even calls for the ‘Watchman’ actress to be nominated for the Best Director, which if happens, will make her the first Black woman to receive a nomination in that category.

King recognised that the success or failure of One Night in Miami, could have ramifications for other black female directors.


“It’s interesting because how this film performs will open doors or maybe close doors for more black female directors … that’s how things seem to work,” she said over video link.

Speaking to Los Angeles Times ahead of the festival, King said: “We felt like we had to get this movie done and out there because we’re in a moment where people might be open to what it has to say.

She added: “We’re having deeper conversations about race right now and I’d like to see those conversations move toward actionable things. Maybe this movie might help move the needle in that direction.”

When asked by the same publication when she realised she could be a director, King replied: “It was once ‘Southland’ came along and [producers] John Wells and Chris Chulack put me in the space of being a collaborator. It took me to have that experience where I wasn’t just an actor for hire to go, “Oh, my God. This is what it’s all about.” From that point on, if I didn’t have good chemistry with the creator, I wouldn’t do it.”

Earlier this year, Amazon Studios bought the worldwide distribution rights to the film, which stars Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, and Leslie Odom Jr.

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Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
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