Director: Janicza Bravo
Cast: Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicholas Braun, Ari’el Stachel, Colman Domingo
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Biopic
Release date: June 30
It’s not often that you find a film based on a series of tweets, but Zola—which had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020 and will finally see a national release on June 30—is just that. Aziah “Zola” King’s famous saga of strippers, murder, prostitution, and suicide was detailed in 2015 in a viral Twitter thread spanning 148 total tweets. The sensational story was covered in detail in a piece for Rolling Stone by David Kushner entitled “Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind the Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted,” which, combined with the original tweet thread itself, form the foundation for the screenplay penned by Janicza Bravo and Jeremy O. Harris. As Kushner puts it in his article, Zola’s story “reads like Spring Breakers meets Pulp Fiction, as told by Nicki Minaj.”
Unlike other films on this list, Zola has already been screened by some audiences and critics. Its reception has been quite positive, with the film receiving an 89 percent average on Rotten Tomatoes and many critics heralding it as a sign that director and screenwriter Bravo is a filmmaker to watch. If you’ve read the Twitter thread or are just intrigued by any film whose source material begins with, “So I met this white bitch at Hooters,” Zola should definitely be on your list of films to see.