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April 22, 2021

Academy Award-Nominated Screenwriter Shaka King in Discussion With St. Francis College's Ben Snyder

Who: Shaka King, director and co-screenwriter of "Judas and the Black Messiah," and Ben Snyder, dramatic writing coordinator of SFC's Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program

What: SFC MFA Write in Brooklyn discussion series

Where: Zoom webinar

When: Thursday, May 6, 2021

7-8:30 p.m. EDT

Free and open to the public.

Advance registration required:

Members of the media: Email [email protected] to arrange coverage or to request interviews, images or video.

Shaka King, director and co-screenwriter of the 2021 Academy Award-nominated film "Judas and the Black Messiah," will discuss his work and career with screenwriter and playwright Ben Snyder, the dramatic writing coordinator for St. Francis College's MFA program, as the latest guest in the College's Write in Brooklyn discussion series.

"Judas and the Black Messiah" is the critically acclaimed biographical drama about Fred Hampton, portrayed by Daniel Kaluuya, the late 1960s chair of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, and his ultimate betrayal by FBI informant William O'Neal, played by Lakeith Stanfield.

In addition to directing, King penned the "Judas" screenplay with Will Berson. The film earned six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. It was named a Top 10 Film by the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute Awards. King and the film's other story creators and screenwriters earned a Writers Guild of America nomination for best original screenplay. As a supporting actor, Kaluuya won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

"'Judas and the Black Messiah' is an extraordinary film -- both in its artistic craft and in telling a historic story with themes that resonate deeply with the times in which we now live -- and we're absolutely thrilled that Shaka King will join our students and guests in what will be an unforgettable evening discussing filmmaking at the highest level," said Theo Gangi, MFA, professor and director of SFC's MFA program. "St. Francis College is a Brooklyn institution, and we're excited to hear King's perspective of the effects of this borough on his work."

After growing up in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, King graduated from Vassar College and went on to earn his MFA from New York University, studying under filmmaker Spike Lee. "Judas and the Black Messiah" is King's second feature-length film, following his 2013 debut "Newlyweeds."

Write in Brooklyn is a discussion series produced by SFC's MFA program, featuring prominent writers from a range of genres. Prior participants include Dominique Morisseau, the Tony-nominated book-writer of the Broadway smash musical "Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations"; Andrew Lanham, screenwriter of "Just Mercy"; young adult novelist Jason Reynolds; author/actor Amber Tamblyn; and screenwriter/playwright Seth Zvi Rosenfeld.

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