January 31, 2023


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Sundance adds ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ world premiere

The Sundance Film Festival added two feature films to the program of its 2021 event. Having shifted to a mostly virtual format, the festival will run from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3.

The festival will host the world premiere of “Judas and the Black Messiah,” the highly anticipated film from director and co-writer Shaka King. Starring Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, the film tells the story of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton and William O’Neal, the FBI informant whose information led to Hampton’s killing by law enforcement officers in 1969.

The movie will have a virtual premiere at the festival on Feb. 1. “Judas and the Black Messiah” will be released by Warner Brothers in theaters on Feb. 12 and also be available starting then on HBO Max for 31 days. The film, which was originally set to open in August 2020 before COVID-19 shut down theaters and upended the release schedule, is positioned to use the festival to launch into a strong awards season push.

Darrel Britt-Gibson, Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield appear in “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

(Glen Wilson / Sundance Institute)

Sundance will also premiere “Captains of Zaatari,” directed by Ali El Arabi, as part of the world documentary competition section. The film is about two best friends in a refugee camp in Jordan who share a dream of becoming professional soccer players.

In a statement, festival director Tabitha Jackson said: “We are delighted to welcome these powerful works into our program. In a year where our Festival already exemplifies the vanguard of bold, visionary storytelling from around the world, they help further expand our boundaries.”

A scene from 'Captains of Zaatari' by Ali El Arabi, an official selection of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

A scene from “Captains of Zaatari” by Ali El Arabi, an official selection of the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

(Sundance Institute)