NEON announced today that multiple Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Emmy-nominated actor and producer David Oyelowo will serve as an Executive Producer on Philippe Lacôte’s sophomore feature, Night of the Kings, the Ivory Coast submission for this year’s Academy Awards.
The film, which premiered as an Official Selection at the Venice, Toronto and New York Film Festivals, has earned critical acclaim and has recently been recognized by the National Board of Review in its Top 5 Foreign Language Films, and was also nominated for a Spirit Award for Best International Film. Night of the Kings will be premiering at Sundance later this week.
Oyelowo commented, “Night of the Kings is a magnificent showcase of African cinema, artistry, culture, folklore and myth. Philippe Lacôte and his talented cast have forged a tale that defies definition by telling us a story within a story within Ivorian history. To be a part of bringing this film to its audience is a profound honor for me.”
Night of the Kings follows a young man on his first night in the infamous Ivorian prison, “La Maca.” Upon arriving, he is christened the “Roman,” or “Storyteller,” and must entertain his audience until morning, risking death should he fail. Under a blood-red moon, he crafts a tale weaving together the country’s mythological past and recent history, while around him, prison politics threaten to boil over.
Lacôte wrote and directed the film which stars Koné Bakary, Steve Tientcheu, Rasmane Ouedraogo, Issaka Sawadogo, Digbeu Jean Cyrille, Abdoul Karim Konate, Anzian Marcel, Laetitia Ky and Denis Lavant. It’s produced by Delphine Jaquet, Yanick Letourneau, Ernest Konan, Yoro Mbaye and Banshee Films, Wassakara Productions, Peripheria, and Yennenga Productions.
Night of the Kings marks the third Oscar submission by the Ivory Coast. The first was Black and White in Color in 1976, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The other film was Run, the debut feature by Lacôte that premiered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section in 2014.
Philippe Lacôte grew up in Abidjan near a movie theater – the «Magic». His work as a director has taken on several forms, before focusing in 2002 on the recent history of his country with Chronicles of War in the Ivory Coast, a film on the edge between a documentary and a diary. It is followed by the feature film Run, the story of a wandering madman, selected in Cannes. This confirmed his talent as a filmmaker and revealed a new voice from the African continent. Night of the Kings (original title “La Nuit Des Rois”), his second feature, is a dive into the largest prison in West Africa during a night of red moon. The film marks his second collaboration with Konaté.
Oyelowo recently made his directorial debut with THE WATER MAN which premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival to much critical acclaim, and in which he stars alongside Lonnie Chavis and Rosario Dawson, as well as, produces under his Yoruba Saxon Productions banner. Other Yoruba Saxon film and television projects include: Nightingale (HBO), Captive (Paramount), A United Kingdom (Fox Searchlight), Come Away (Relativity Media), Five Nights in Maine (FilmRise), the upcoming Solitary (BRON Studios) and First Gen (Disney+).