“I’m Not Going Away, People.”
Director Karyn Kusama’s debut movie “Girlfight” was a critical knockout in 2000; her latest film, “The Invitation,” is opening to raves. To get from that point to this one, however, has been “like open heart surgery without the painkillers.”
When then-32-year-old filmmaker Karyn Kusama arrived at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2000 to premiere her debut feature Girlfight, she had steeled herself for a mixed reception. Her movie was about a troubled Latina teenager from Brooklyn’s Red Hook housing projects who finds love, and purpose to her life, when she starts training at a dingy local boxing gym. The cast was made up entirely of Latino actors, and its star was an unknown named Michelle Rodriguez. The audience at the premiere screening in Park City, Utah’s 1,200-seat Eccles Theater, by sharp contrast, was filled with upwardly mobile white people, many of them film executives — just like the ones who had told Kusama years earlier that they would be happy to finance her movie, if the lead was white.
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