“One Night in Miami,” the feature directorial debut of Academy Award winner Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) dropped at the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 7, the first film by a Black woman to ever premiere at the 77-year festival.
Taking place in Miami, Florida on Feb. 25, 1964, the film is a fictional account of an evening with prolific figures Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom, Jr.) and Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), as they gather to discuss civil rights and the cultural upheaval of the 1960s. The clip shows the four men celebrating Ali’s championship win before Malcolm reveals his plans with the gentlemen for the evening.
“I put my heart and soul into these projects,” said screenwriter Kemp Powers. “I wanted to connect on a human level.”
Amazon Studios bought the worldwide rights to “One Night in Miami” after a very competitive bidding war between multiple studios. While no details were disclosed about the sale and the figures, it is rumored to have been one of the biggest independent film sales in recent history.
Assembling a talented roster behind the camera, the drama could be an all-around awards contender. Oscar-nominee Terence Blanchard (“BlacKkKlansman”) is composing the film’s music, following the announcement he will be receiving the TIFF Variety Artisan Award, scheduled to air on Sept. 15. Cinematographer Tami Reiker (“The Old Guard”) shot the film while Francine Jamison-Tanchuck (“Just Mercy”) provides her costume talents. Two-time Oscar-nominee Tariq Anwar serves as the film’s editor.
“One Night in Miami” is just one of many prospects on Amazon Studios’ plate this year, many from female filmmakers. Already planning a campaign for Marjane Satrapi’s “Radioactive” with Rosamund Pike from earlier in the year, other possibilities include Phyllida Lloyd’s “Herself” with Clare Dunne while pushing documentaries such as Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés’ “All In: The Fight for Democracy” and Garrett Bradley’s “Time.” Another film for Amazon is Darius Marder’s “Sound of Metal” with Riz Ahmed from Sundance.
The film is producers are Jess Wu Calder and Keith Calder of Snoot Entertainment (“Blindspotting”) and Jody Klein of ABKCO (“The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus”). King and Powers serve as executive producers.
“One Night in Miami” is set to be released in 2020 and will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10.