QUEEN & SLIM Director Melina Matsoukas' Career Evolution

Melina Matsoukas, the director of Queen & Slim (2019), poses for a photo against a beige wall sporting her large, puffy, dark brown hair and a white sweater revealing her bare right shoulder

You’ve probably heard the buzz around Melina Matsoukas’ November movie, Queen & Slim (2019), but Matsoukas has been working her mastery behind the scenes for well over a decade. Starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, Queen & Slim follows a young, African-American Ohio couple on the run after a traffic stop turns deadly on their first date. The movie centers around this heroic (or anti-heroic) journey down the Eastern seaboard, but what unfolds is nothing short of a love story between the two. Matsoukas is no stranger to creating vivid, raw and thought-provoking imagery. She became passionate about filmmaking due to her belief that it has the capacity to drastically change minds. Queen & Slim will be her feature movie directorial debut and is sure to leave us with a lot of emotions.

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Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) in Queen & Slim (2019)

Raised in the Bronx, Melina Matsoukas, has been waiting for a movie like this to reach her for years. She studied filmmaking at NYU and the American Film Institute in Los Angeles while working as a production assistant. Her career was catapulted when the ever-talented Beyoncé hired her to direct four of her music videos. Matsoukas fell in love with the partnership between music and movie and carries this passion into the direction of Queen & Slim. Along with Beyoncé, she has directed for Rihanna, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, the HBO hit Insecure (2016-) and has even won multiple Grammys® for her work. 

Christmas Songs Turned Movie Titles

Matsoukas brings her love for storytelling through music videos into her first feature movie, a highly suspenseful journey that is equally invested in romance. While the main characters, played by Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, are on a whirlwind adventure that neither of them had anticipated, the movie’s focus shifts toward love as a remedy for oppression. 

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Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) in Queen & Slim (2019)

Kaluuya and Turner-Smith’s characters embark on a journey to avoid capture, from Ohio to the Florida Keys, all in an effort to reach freedom in Cuba. Matsoukas tells their story with empathy and understanding and wants the same to be given and received by the audience. Queen & Slim represents unity and love for Matsoukas, who made sure her debut movie was rooted in authenticity. 

While Queen & Slim is a major milestone for Matsoukas, she’s been determined to tell a powerful story through movies for years. This year is a special one for her, and she is soon to be developing new content for FX Productions as well. While the story of Queen & Slim is birthed from tension and conflict, love appears to be the dominant factor in the movie. Don’t miss out on Queen & Slim coming to Regal on November 27th—it’s going to be a helluva ride. 

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