Zola

Director: Janicza Bravo Run Time: 90 min. Rating: R Release Year: 2021

Starring: Colman Domingo, Nicholas Braun, Riley Keough, Taylour Paige

Country: United States
Language: English

About the film:

Nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Director Janicza Bravo was named one of Variety’s Directors to Watch at the 2020 Palm Springs International Film Festival.

“Y’all wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out? It’s kind of long but full of suspense.”

Thus began the odyssey of one A’Ziah King, also known as Zola. From acclaimed writer-director Janicza Bravo, Zola’s stranger than fiction saga, which she first told in a now iconic series of viral, uproarious tweets, comes to dazzling cinematic life.

Zola, a Detroit waitress, strikes up a new friendship with a customer, Stefani, who seduces her to join a weekend of dancing and partying in Florida. What at first seems like a glamorous trip full of “hoeism” rapidly transforms into a 48-hour journey involving a nameless pimp, an idiot boyfriend, some Tampa gangsters and other unexpected adventures in this wild, see-it-to-believe-it tale.

About the filmmaker:

Born in New York City, Janicza Bravo was raised on an army base in Panama City, Panama, before moving back to the U.S. at age 12. She studied directing and design for theatre at New York University. Her previous work includes the Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning dark comedy short film, Gregory Goes Boom (2013), and her debut feature Lemon (2017). She has also directed episodes of Atlanta, Dear White People, and Mrs. America.

In 2014, she was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, and a collection of her short films are currently available to stream at Criterion, who applauds “the singular, gonzo sensibility that has made her one of American independent cinema’s most exciting voices.”

One of the most anticipated films of the year, Zola is Bravo’s second feature, written with critically acclaimed playwright Jeremy O. Harris, whose Slave Play received 12 nominations at the 2021 Tony Awards. Read more about the film and the challenges they faced as Black filmmakers in IndieWire.

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Trailer