As his “Lover’s Rock” opens the New York Film Festival, Steve McQueen says he’s delighted to return to the festival seven years after “12 Years A Slave”.
“I’m very chuffed that we’re involved in it,” he says from his home in London via video press conference. “It’s quite emotional, really.”
“Lover’s Rock” is one of five short films from his miniseries “Small Axe”. Each standalone episode charts the experiences of London’s West Indian community between 1969 and 1982, with actors including John Boyega, Naomie Ackie, Micheal Ward, Letitia Wright and Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn starring. The episodes “Mangrove” and “Red, White And Blue” will also screen as part of NYFF.
“I am extremely humbled that we can be presenting our film at this time and having a sort of celebration with ‘Lover’s Rock’. What New York has given me, it has always been generous to me and I am just grateful that I can participate in this way,” he says of the festival.
“Lover’s Rock”, which was also chosen as one of the Cannes Film Festival’s selections this year, is dedicated to George Floyd. The “Widows” director says the decision to honour Floyd with the film came out of reflection about the Black experience.
“When we were presented with being in competitions with ‘Mangrove’ and ‘Lover’s Rock’, I dedicated to him, in honour of George Floyd. I think so much has gone on in these six months of our lives,” he explains. “At some point, we have to sort of stop and think and with COVID, we did of course, it made us. I wish George Floyd was here today. I d rather him be here today, but he didn’t die in vain.”
He continues: “These films, ‘Small Axe’, are part of the narrative for being a Black person in this world. We can sort of reflect on where we are in this world, who we are and where we want to be. It’s a good time to reflect on who we are because I’m done, I’m really done. I want to just talk about things which are so much about who we can be rather than who we are right now.”
A Canadian release date for “Small Axe” has not yet been announced. Watch the trailer below.