Kathryn Bigelow Turns the Hollywood Spotlight to 'Detroit' for Film's Premiere

Courtesy of Eric Charbonneau
John Boyega and Kathryn Bigelow

The film, which is the first distributed by Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures, premiered with a star-studded reception in the Motor City.

"I think this is a story that needed to see the light of day," director/producer Kathryn Bigelow said on the red carpet of the world premiere of her latest film, Detroit — aptly held at Fox Theatres in the titular Michigan city on Tuesday night.

John Boyega, who plays a security guard caught in the middle of a triple murder of three African-American teenagers in the Algiers Motel during the 1967 12th Street Riot, spoke of the story that was largely unknown outside of the Motor City.

"Fifty years ago it wasn't a day of celebration, it wasn't a day of smiles, it was a horrible day," said the actor.

"It was a day of murder and the revelation of systematic racism and blatant racism," the film's star said of the police brutality during the infamous 1967 riots. "It reminds us of the conversations that need to happen to move forward."

Bigelow revealed it was the acquittal of the officer involved in the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown by a policeman in Ferguson, Mo., that inspired her to tell this story. She recently told NPR, "I think predominantly it was an opportunity to telescope this giant canvas of the uprisings down to a particular crime event that first presented to me was right around the Ferguson, Missouri, incident. And so I felt that the story was an American tragedy that was important enough to be told."

The Oscar-winning director described her cast as "brave" and "courageous" before the screening of the film. "I feel honored to be able to tell this story and to share it with Detroit before anywhere else in the world," Bigelow added. 

Detroit will be released Friday in Detroit, Los Angeles and New York. The film will hit theaters nationwide Aug. 4.

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