On 28 April, during a matinee showing of her film Fast Color, filmmaker Julia Hart had strong words for Hollywood when discussing her 2018 sci-fi/superhero drama.
“There is so much lip service in this industry about wanting women to tell stories, wanting people of color to tell stories, wanting to tell stories about women and people of color. There wasn’t a single [print] ad for this movie anywhere, and it’s a beautiful freakin’ poster with this beautiful woman’s face on it.”
Hart directed the superhero flick and co-wrote it with her husband, Oscar-nominated producer, Jordan Horowitz. You’d be forgiven if you’d never heard of the film. Fast Color premiered at the 2018 SXSW and since then, it has only been released in 25 theaters, after being released theatrically this past April. At the time of this writing, it has only grossed $75,671.
As far as superhero movies go, it’s a bit of an unorthodox tale. The movie tells the near future tale of a woman with destructive superhuman abilities being hunted by scientists that want to exploit her powers. In order to hide, she is forced to return home to a mother and daughter whom she’d abandoned.
In discussing her difficulties getting the film advertised and distributed more widely, Hart expressed frustration with decision makers. “At the end of the day, when it got to the white male gatekeeper — time and time again — they said, ‘I don’t know who this movie is for. I don’t know how to market it.’” One of the problems expressed by Hart was that these “gatekeepers” don’t look like the people telling these stories and that negatively impacts how movies are marketed.
Hart noted that when the movie was screened at the 2018 SXSW, “There were women and people of color at every company that loved the movie — some men and some white men.” Indeed, the film currently holds an approval rating of 80% based on 69 reviews and an average rating of 8.5/10 on Rotten Tomatoes. Reviewers typically cite a strong performance from star Gugu Mbatha-Raw as one of the best parts of the movie.
During the interview, Mbatha-Raw pointed out that, “People should have choices and people should have representation. People should at least know about films.” That last part seems to be the kind of the big point. It’s interesting to me that even writing for a movie and television publication, one particularly interested in sci-fi and superheroes, that I’d never heard of this film that seems to have strong critical reception. It was brought to my attention literally a day before I saw this story. Maybe it wasn’t a matter of knowing who to market the movie to and just a matter of marketing it at all. Unfortunately, given the distribution, I still wouldn’t have been able to see it. Maybe you’ll be more fortunate.
The film stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, Saniyya Sidney, Christopher Denham, David Strathairn and it directed by Julia Hart. Fast Color is now playing in select theaters.
What do you think? Are you interested in smaller scale superhero flicks? Do you think they’re harder to find an audience for? Let us know your thoughts down below or on twitter @lrm_exclusive and @sirjonesiest.
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