The Rooftop Films Summer Series is back. In its 25th year, the popular program will run from June 17th through mid-September, screening a variety of independent films at outdoor venues across NYC.
The series kicked off its feature programming on Thursday evening with the premiere of Janicza Bravo’s Zola on the lawn at Fort Greene Park. Presented by A24, the premiere was well attended by celebrities, many of them Brooklynites and film crew friends and family.
The event began with a live DJ set from DJ 9am, who had the audience on their feet jamming to a popular mix of hip hop and reggaeton tracks.
Right after sunset, Elaine Welteroth welcomed attendees and invited the filmmakers on stage for an introduction, including co-writer/director Janicza Bravo, executive producer A’Ziah “Zola” King, co-writer Jeremy O. Harris, editor Joi McMillon and actor Colman Domingo. Bravo thanked the crowd and her parents in attendance, ending with special praise for King, who’s original story Bravo brings to life on-screen with Zola.
What began as a 150 tweet thread King published in 2015 – wherein she recounted how an exotic dancing trip to Florida quickly turned south – soon became a viral shock to the Twittersphere. Zola is Bravo’s retelling of King’s epic 48-hour journey into Tampa’s seedy, seductive underworld, involving gangsters, a violent pimp, a shady prostitute, and a host of other characters.
“Zola” had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020. Its wider theatrical release in the United States is set for June 30.