It’s #BlackExcellence ?
Been a long time coming and now, director Nia DaCosta finally gets the recognition she totally deserves and we can’t help but cheer on!
R-rated horror movie Candyman directed by Da Costa over the weekend topped the US box office grossing nearly a whopping $22Million in its first three days, earning her the coveted spot as the first Black female filmmaker to have a movie debut in the No. 1 slot.
Distributed by Universal Pictures and MGM, and starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in the lead role, “Candyman” is a sequel to the 1992 horror flick of the same name.
The screenplay, co-written by Da Costa, Win Rosenfeld and Jordan Peele has generally racked up positive reviews from critics.
In response to the delayed release, she tweeted last year that “we wanted the horror and humanity of ‘Candyman’ to be experienced in a collective, a community.”
“We made ‘Candyman’ to be seen in theaters,” she wrote. “Not just for the spectacle but because the film is about community and stories — how they shape each other, how they shape us. It’s about the collective experience of trauma and joy, suffering and triumph, and the stories we tell around it.”
Da Costa has been a steady force, her debut feature, Little Woods, was developed through the Sundance Institute and starred Tessa Thompson and Lily James. In 2019, she directed two episodes of the third season of the Netflix revival, Top Boy.
DaCosta also worked as a writer for the HBO series Industry with U.K.’s Bad Wolf. She received a BFA in film and television from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and a MA in writing for stage and broadcast media from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
In a chat with the Guardian Nia DaCosta discussed expectations placed on her because as a woman of color creating a film, experiencing racism from folks who worked for her on set, as well as the trend to traffic in black pain:
“I’ve had that conversation so many times with people where I mention something off hand about my childhood or something and they’re like: ‘Oh, they should do that [in the movie]’. And I’m like: ‘Why?’”
It is even worse for female filmmakers, DaCosta suggests: “It’s not necessarily overtly racist, but it is shocking the way people have talked to me in my position as a director.
People who work for me. Especially on a movie like this, where Jordan was the only other person of colour at the level of decision-making on the movie.
And that’s unacceptable, frankly.”
The 31-year-old is currently producing the highly anticipated Captain Marvel sequel, The Marvels. Directing this film makes her the first Black woman to direct a Marvel Studios picture. The superhero film, starring Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani, is scheduled to be released Nov. 11, 2022.
“The Marvels,” is sequel to the billion-dollar grossing “Captain Marvel.” The film stars Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, and Iman Vellani as the three ‘Marvels’ in the title. For DaCosta, the film marks an exciting transition for her, as a Black filmmaker.
“We should be able to make different kinds of movies, so I’m really happy I got to make ‘The Marvels’ because it’s like, I genuinely can just make a movie that doesn’t have to traffic in Black pain,” DaCosta said. “And I feel like a lot of Black filmmakers are asked to or expected to do that.”
“This would not be my career five years ago. I’ve been very lucky and I’ve worked really hard, and I’m really happy that I’ve had the experiences that I’ve had. Well … the good ones at least. At the same time, as well as I’m doing, this should be happening for more people who are like me.” she added.