Monday, August 24, 2020
NYFF58 2020 OPENING NIGHT: STEVE McQUEEN'S LOVERS ROCK
FILM AT LINCOLN CENTER (FLC)
58TH NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL (NYFF58 2020)
September 17 through October 11, 2020
Two additional films from McQueen's SMALL AXE anthology,
Mangrove and Red, White and Blue,
will be featured in the Main Slate
The World Premiere of Steve McQueen’s Lovers Rock will be the Opening Night film of the 58th New York Film Festival.
Lovers Rock is part of the Small Axe anthology, which comprises five original films by Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen (Hunger, 12 Years A Slave), which will premiere on BBC One later this year and air on Amazon Prime Video in the US.
Set from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, the films each tell a different story involving London's West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will despite rampant racism and discrimination. It is produced by Turbine Studios and Steve McQueen’s Lammas Park for BBC One with Amazon Studios co-producing in the US.
The five films that make up Small Axe are Mangrove, Lovers Rock, Alex Wheatle, Education, and Red, White and Blue.
Lovers Rock tells a fictional story of young love and music at a blues party in the early 1980s. Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn makes her screen debut opposite the BAFTAs 2020 Rising Star award recipient Micheal Ward (Top Boy).
Shaniqua Okwok (Boys), Kedar Williams-Stirling (Sex Education), Ellis George (Doctor Who), Alexander James-Blake (Top Boy), Kadeem Ramsay (Blue Story) also star, as well as Francis Lovehall and Daniel Francis-Swaby, who make their screen debuts. Lovers Rock was co-written by Courttia Newland and Steve McQueen.
In an historic note for the festival, two other films from the anthology, Mangrove and Red, White and Blue, will also have their World Premieres as part of this year’s Main Slate.
Mangrove is the true story of the Mangrove 9 (a group of Black activists who clashed with London police during a protest march in 1970) and the highly publicized trial that followed. The trial was the first judicial acknowledgment of behavior motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police. Letitia Wright (Black Panther), Shaun Parkes (Lost in Space), and Malachi Kirby (Curfew) star alongside Rochenda Sandall (Line of Duty), Jack Lowden (The Long Song), Sam Spruell (Snow White and the Huntsmen), Gershwyn Eustache Jnr (The Gentlemen), Nathaniel Martello-White (Collateral), Richie Campbell (Liar), Jumayn Hunter (Les Misérables), and Gary Beadle (Summer of Rockets). Mangrove was co-written by Alastair Siddons and Steve McQueen. Mangrove and Lovers Rock are part of the Cannes 2020 Official Selection.
Red, White and Blue spotlights the true story of Leroy Logan, who saw his father assaulted by two policemen, motivating him to join the Metropolitan Police and change their racist attitudes from within. John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Steve Toussaint (Prince of Persia) star with talented newcomers Tyrone Huntley, Nathan Vidal and Jaden Oshenye. Red, White and Blue was co-written by Courttia Newland and Steve McQueen.
“Steve McQueen is one of the essential artists of our time, and he reaches a new level of mastery with the Small Axe films,” said New York Film Festival Director of Programming Dennis Lim. “These are works of historical drama that speak powerfully and urgently to our present moment of reckoning over police brutality and systemic racism. They tell stories of outward struggle and inner conflict but also of everyday joy.”