It’s always great when a film festival takes advantage of special circumstances for a film. One of the neat things about Barry Jenkins’ upcoming film, “If Beale Street Could Talk” is that it takes place in the city of New York, more specifically Harlem. The famed neighborhood in New York has long been regarded as the epicenter of Black culture in America for hundreds of years. Many of the most influential artists in American history emerged from this neighborhood. The Apollo remains one of the most important comedy clubs in history. However, the theater has been a host to many other events in the past. Now it will host a screening for the New York Film Festival.
In a press release from Annapurna, NYFF has agreed to host the premiere of “If Beale Street Could Talk” in the famed theater. This is the first time that a film in the festival will play outside the Lincoln Center Campus, where the festival takes place. Thus, it will also be the first time for the Apollo to participate in the festival. The red carpet premiere of the film is set for October 9th, 2018. Attendees will include the cast, crew, local Harlem citizens and high schoolers from the area.
The choice is brilliant for a litany of reasons. It is rare that films can really represent a particular neighborhood so vividly. James Baldwin, the writer of the “If Beale Street Could Talk” novel, grew up in Harlem. The story will be a unique vision of the Black experience in America, specifically growing up in Harlem. To hold something so special in the revered Apollo theater is an awesome moment for the film. Jenkins and his crew must be excited for the opportunity.