*”A Thousand and One” starring Teyana Taylor and Will Catlett is out in theaters and writer & director A.V. Rockwell (in the video above) is dishing on the film. Rockwell sees the film as her coming of age in New York.
“For a long time I knew I would eventually make a story that spoke to my coming of age in New York, like what that era was and saying farewell to it,” Rockwell said. “But I think what made it urgent was really witnessing first-hand the impact of gentrification on the Black community specifically within New York City. I just felt like our neighborhoods were being targeted. No matter where I went, I felt that same experience. It felt like we were being pushed out of the city together.”
Rockwell also considers the film a love letter to Black women.
“I also wanted to tell a story that was like my love letter to Black women,” Rockwell said. “I think if that was a heart-break letter to New York City, it was my love letter to the inner city Black women that nurtured me and made me who I am today.”
A THOUSAND AND ONE (2023)
While “A Thousand and One” is a love letter to Black women, Rockwell emphasizes that as opposed to being a love letter to New York as well that it’s a heart-break letter.
“I think I would consider it more of a Heart-Break letter,” Rockwell said. “I think this movie explores so much of my disappointment and feeling like New York is such a part of who I am within my DNA and how I feel about the fact that this city doesn’t love me. I think this movie- so much of it is about a required love. Not only between people but also the places that we live in. So yeah I couldn’t say that I would call this a clear & definitive love letter. I think it’s more complicated than that.”
The Teyana Taylor-led film follows unapologetic and free-spirited Inez (Taylor), who kidnaps her six-year-old son Terry from the foster care system. Holding onto their secret and each other, mother and son set out to reclaim their sense of home, identity, and stability, in a rapidly changing New York City, according to a press release.
Rockwell also spoke on how the cast for the film came to be.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 27: Teyana Taylor attends the New York premiere of Focus Features’ “A Thousand and One” at AMC Magic Johnson Harlem on March 27, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)
“It was very challenging to put this movie together,” Rockwell said. “Not only because of wanting to find the right people, you know just people that were talented, had the depth, had the creativity and the talent as performers. But also I think just the way I wanted to reflect the truthfulness of these people as I knew them, you know as they nurtured me growing up or just reflected who I knew growing up, within the city.”
Being that this is Taylor’s first leading role, Rockwell also discussed why this role was perfect for the singer, songwriter, and actress.
“This is her first leading role,” Rockwell said. “She’s so tremendous in this role and she really had to fight through and through.”
Released on March 31st the film has made so far nearly two million dollars in the box office and Rockwell is telling everyone why they should go see “A Thousand and One.”
“I think this movie has something in it for everybody,” Rockwell said. “I think that for so many people and we see evidence so far of just how people have reacted to the movie Sundance Film Festival onward. I think that there’s a lot of power in people being able to see themselves in these characters no matter what your walk of life is, but also see the world. See the places that you live in and how the systems in play impact your life. How it’s happening within your hometowns and home cities impacts your life. But also you see other people better too. The movie helps to give you the opportunity to connect better to the people in your lives. The people around you. To be better to each other. To show up for each other.”
Rockwell also says audiences may need tissues on standby when they watch the film.
“I think this movie has the opportunity to not only heal people and surprise them and take them on an emotional ride but start a lot of necessary conversations as well,” Rockwell said. “I’ve heard that you might need tissue too. It might be a little bit of a tear-jerker for a lot of folks too. But come prepared to go through all of that as you go experience “A Thousand and One.””
“A Thousand and One” definitely shows no signs of letting up, especially since the film had a well-received release at the 2023 Sundance, being awarded the Grand Jury Prize award all before the film’s late-March theater release.
Check out “A Thousand and One” in theaters now and watch our full interview with A.V. Rockwell above.
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