*Regina King has made history at the Venice Film Festival by becoming the first Black female director to be selected to premiere in its 88-year-long history.
Speaking in a press conference via Zoom at the festival on Monday, King spoke about her directorial debut “One Night in Miami,” and the pressure for it to perform well.
“Unfortunately, across the world, that’s how things seem to work. One woman gets a shot and if she does not succeed, it shuts thing down for years until someone else gets a shot,” she said, according to Variety.
“I am so grateful for our film to be a part of the festival but I really, really want it to perform well. 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,” she added.
Regina King’s ‘One Night in Miami’ Enters the Oscars Race From Venice https://t.co/t4slJV9rgA
— Variety (@Variety) September 7, 2020
King’s film is an adaptation of Kemp Powers’ stage play of the same name about the real-life meeting between Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke after Clay’s surprise win over Sonny Liston in February 1964.
Variety said the film is the first major contender for the 2020 Oscars season.
“I have been in the presence of a lot of amazing directors,” King told PEOPLE. “That has been the best resource anyone could have.”
“One Night in Miami” stars Kingsley Ben-Adir (High Fidelity) as Malcolm X, Aldis Hodge (Hidden Figures) as Jim Brown, Eli Goree (Riverdale) as boxer Cassius Clay, and Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton) as Sam Cooke.
King’s film is not in competition, but Melissa Silverstein, the founder of Women and Hollywood, said her inclusion was groundbreaking.
“At a festival where women directors have struggled to be programmed even after the festival committed to push for gender parity, King will rightly be the center of attention as not only a female director, but a black female director – a group that is sorely underrepresented in this industry,” she said.
“One Night in Miami” will premiere on Amazon later this year.