Byline: Jason Garcia and Marlon Villa
Black Panther co-writer Joe Robert Cole held a free screening of his directorial debut film, All Day and a Night, at the Long Beach State Carpenter Center on Sept. 19th.
The movie follows an aspiring young rapper in Oakland, with outside entities derailing his path.
Cole said that he navigated through different experiences in his life while growing up and based this film on some friendships that he had, and he wanted to make a film that humanized people that oftentimes others in society either don’t or struggle to find humanity in.
“I wanted to paint a portrait of a character that we don’t often see the world through their lens,” Cole said.
His approach for this movie is that all the circumstances the main character is put in are tragic, it’s tragic that the environment exists, it’s tragic that someone could be born into that community.
Cole said he wanted to explore a tough world to be in for two hours and the idea is, what would it feel like to be in the main character’s shoes.
The Emmy-nominated writer says his film was compared to Boyz N The Hood and Menace II Society.
“Each of those films have very redeemable main characters that get into trouble. That are on the fringes of doing the wrong thing, but the real bad seed is always their friend,” said Cole. “And so I decided to make a movie about ‘O-Dog’ [from Menace II Society].”
He said that it is much easier as a society to look at a redeemable character getting into trouble, rather than looking at the larger context that causes people to be unredeemable, the circumstances that sustain this kind of physical or psychological suffering.
“It’s a journey of self-discovery for him, it’s him looking back and trying to find hope in the one place he can control inside of himself and hope for his own son by understanding his life and his father’s life in that cycle.”
At the end of the screening, Cole had a question and answer session with the audience. Even with a time restriction, Cole made sure every person who lined up to ask a question about the film or about the movie industry, got an answer.
According to Cole himself, A Day and a Night was watched by 27 million Netflix users in the first 10 days upon its release on the streaming giant.
“It reached people who maybe couldn’t afford to go to a theater. It reached so many people. I wouldn’t want it any other way,” said the writer-director. “I think the people I made it for, it certainly reached a lot of them.”