Padding her resumé with a pair of buzzy items in a (late 2016) 20+ minute music video commissioned by Alicia Keys called The Gospel and, a 2018 Sundance Film Festival preemed short Feathers (it gained further traction at TIFF that same year), we begin our countdown (or count-up) with A.V. Rockwell‘s directorial debut. A Thousand and One was invited to 2019’s January Screenwriters Lab and Directors Lab and was first mentioned in the trades when Focus Features made the surprise move of getting behind the project before it even began lensing — how is that for a confidence vote. What also helped in that equation is the producing team behind the project and the multi-talented artist Teyana Taylor – she toplines a film that on paper sounds like an intimate piece that fully encompasses the notion of identity in more ways than one. Lensing began sometime June in New York City, which means an edit without the final touches might have reached the programming team.
Gist: This follows Inez (Taylor), who kidnaps six-year-old Terry from the foster care system. Holding onto their secret and each other, mother and son set out to reclaim their home, as well as their identity and stability, in a rapidly changing New York City.
Production Co./Producers: Sight Unseen’s Eddie Vaisman and Julia Lebedev, Hillman Grad Productions’ Lena Waithe and Rishi Rajani, Makeready’s Brad Weston.
Prediction: U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION.
U.S. Distributor: Focus Features.