Brought to CatStrand as part of The New Black Film Collective’s Reel Roots programme, Judas and the Black Messiah is Shaka King’s studio feature film directorial debut, inspired by true events.
FBI informant William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther Party and is tasked with keeping tabs on their charismatic leader, Chairman Fred Hampton (Danjel Kaluuya). A career thief, O’Neal revels in the danger of manipulating both his comrades and his handler, Special Agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons). Hampton’s political prowess grows just as he’s falling in love with fellow revolutionary Deborah Johnson (Dominique Fishback). Meanwhile, a battle wages for O’Neal’s soul. Will he align with the forces of good? Or subdue Hampton and The Panthers by any means, as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen) commands?
Daniel Kaluuya won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, Fred Hampton.
About Reel Roots: Black History Month
Reel Roots: Black History Month invites us to embrace uplifting stories of the fight for equality and the pursuit of excellence. Rather than patience and pity, we honour stamina and success. Rather than being victimised, our heroes are victorious.
Curated by The New Black Film Collective with the support of Film Hub Scotland, this film tour nods to Black History Month’s origins in America, traversing key moments in the abolitionist and civil rights movements to shows of strength in modern, quotidian life.
Director: Shaka King
Running Time: 2h6m
Year of Production: 2021