'Judas and the Black Messiah' Team on Honoring Fred Hampton and the Black Panther Party



The Sundance Film Festival is part of the DNA of “Judas and the Black Messiah” — the festival is where writer, producer and director Shaka King first pitched his Fred Hampton film to Ryan Coogler. Plus, Sundance is where stars Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield’s first collaboration “Get Out,” premiered three years ago. While there’s no in person festival this year, due to the ongoing pandemic, the debut of “Judas and the Black Messiah” is still set to be a cultural moment.

With the film set to debut in theaters and on HBO Max amid a surge of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, mirroring the social climate of the film’s late 1960s setting, King believes there is no better time for the film to arrive.

“It feels almost like this movie had to get made with these individuals; it doesn’t really feel like there’s been any coincidence,” King said. “People have been trying to make movies about Fred Hampton incredible filmmakers — Antoine Fuqua, Forest Whitaker — for decades, and there’s always been some kind of hiccup.”

Variety Studio presented by AT&T TV at the Sundance Film Festival

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