Fast Color was widely praised and received amazing reviews when it debuted at SXSW in 2018, yet floundered when it came to its lackluster release that had virtually no one behind it. Now it may be getting the second chance it deserves on Amazon Prime.
Indiewire said of the films’ reception, “On one level, the failure of “Fast Color” is a simple story: After its world premiere at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival, Julia Hart’s sci-fi drama received strong reviews but struggled to find distribution. In September 2018, Codeblack Films, the African American-focused arm of Lionsgate Entertainment, acquired the title — but in January, Lionsgate ended its Codeblack partnership. That meant cutting the film’s marketing budget, and “Fast Color” made just $76,916 in its April 19 limited release on 25 screens.”
There’s also a deeper and more complex tale about why this film’s earnings potential went virtually untapped. As the movie quietly hit various digital platforms and DVD last week, this missed opportunity is worth a closer look.
The movie stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a woman named Ruth, who’s forced to go on the run when her superpowers are discovered. Years after she abandons her family, the only place she returns home. A unique, introspective take on the superhero movie, “Fast Color” centers on an empowering narrative in which three generations of strong black women come to terms with their special abilities. Hart’s film provides a welcome contrast to a genre dominated by white men; the movie delivers a maternal vision of heroism that’s out of this world. In superhero movie lingo, it’s an original story, but more focused on family bonds than any world-shattering event.
But according to a story in The Washington Post today, the film—and its themes—may get a second life as a TV series on Amazon Prime. “As of late this summer, however, audiences might get another chance to discover the dystopian world of Fast Color, which received an outpouring of grass-roots support on social media after its quiet theatrical release. Amazon Studios is in the midst of developing the property into a television series, along with original screenwriters Julia Hart, who directed the film, and Jordan Horowitz, her husband; JuVee Productions, Viola Davis’s company with her own husband, Julius Tennon; and LD Entertainment, which also produced the film. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)”
“We loved this idea of the power of mothers, and the cliche that you could lift up a car if your kid was underneath it,” Hart recently told The Post of the inspiration behind the story. “I realized I’d never seen a story about a mother who was literally a superhero.”
“Horowitz, a producer best known for working on La La Land, noted that Fast Color struggled to find a distributor because of the “incorrect” notion that “there isn’t a ton of international value for women of color stories like this.” Though it still felt right to release the film in theaters so critics would be more likely to write about it, he said, the traditional model of waiting at least 90 days between a film’s theatrical release and its digital debut feels increasingly outdated for indie projects like this one.
“Theatrical is a really historical model that looks to what has come before,” he explained. “Streaming is more forward-facing, and it’s about finding new audiences and new stories to tell for audiences. It’s shifting, and we’re still figuring out what kind of movies work in the world.”
Read the full Washington Post story here and watch the trailer below.
Fast Color stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a woman who comes into her own after discovering she has superhuman abilities. When her powers are discovered, the woman is forced to abandon her family in order to protect them. Years later, her mission to remain unseen brings her back home.