*The American Black Film Festival has announced that the 2021 event will open its milestone 25th year with Warner Bros. Pictures’ eagerly anticipated film “King Richard” starring Will Smith.
The biopic finds Smith portraying Richard Williams, father of legendary athletes Venus and Serena Williams.
Based on the true story that will inspire the world, “King Richard” follows the journey of Richard Williams, an undeterred father instrumental in raising two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time, who will end up changing the sport of tennis forever. Driven by a clear vision of their future and using unconventional methods, Richard has a plan that will take Venus and Serena Williams from the streets of Compton, California to the global stage as legendary icons. “King Richard” is a profoundly moving film that shows the power of family, perseverance and unwavering belief as a means to achieve the impossible and impact the world.
King Richard highlights one father’s relentless drive and unapologetic vision to change the game. Determined to do things his way, Richard Williams made a plan and defied the odds by raising not one, but two of the greatest athletes of all time: Venus and Serena Williams (who executive produced the film alongside their sister Isha Price).
The expanded 2021 ABFF festival will be available as a worldwide digital experience November 3-28 via its online platform ABFF PLAY. King Richard will be available by special invitation to a limited audience.
Smith, who also serves as one of the film’s producers, stars alongside Aunjanue Ellis as the girls’ mom, Oracene Wlliams, Saniyya Sidney as Venus Williams and Demi Singleton as Serena Williams, with Tony Goldwyn and Jon Bernthal as coaches Paul Cohen and Rick Macci. Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men) from a script written by Zach Baylin, “King Richard” will be released in U.S. theaters and stream exclusively on HBO Max, November 19.
“It is with pride and excitement that we mark our 25th year opening with Warner Bros.’ King Richard, a film that is a touchstone of ABFF’s legacy of showcasing extraordinary Black talent and inspiring storytelling reflecting the brilliance of diversity in Hollywood,” said Nicole Friday, president and general manager, ABFF Ventures LLC. “We’re especially gratified to have the film’s director, Reinaldo Marcus Green, a previous finalist in HBO’s prestigious Short Film Competition, return to ABFF as feature film director — demonstrating the importance of the HBO pipeline in advancing the careers of Black artists. This event is simply a grand slam on every level.”
“Having King Richard at ABFF this year is truly a full circle moment,” stated Reinaldo Marcus Green. “Back in 2013, my short film Stone Cars, that I made while studying at NYU screened in competition and was distributed on HBO — so opening up the festival for ABFF’s 25th anniversary means a lot to me. It’s an absolute honor to return this year with our film. Thank you to Warner Bros. and the whole filmmaking team, the family we built on set, the Williams family for allowing us to tell their groundbreaking story and, of course, our wonderful crew and cast led by none other than Mr. Will Smith.”
ABFF 2021 worldwide virtual experience will include over 100 independent films from 35 countries, spotlight screenings, talks and networking events featuring creators, artists and industry executives. Access to the festival is free. To register, visit here.