Directed by Oscar-winning filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar (“American Factory”), the dramedy spotlighted the more than 50 sold-out concerts Chappelle hosted last summer in Yellow Springs. In addition to appearances by famous comedians and other special guests such as Jon Hamm (leading the crowd in Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’'), the film poignantly explores the Black Lives Matter movement and the death of George Floyd.
“We live in a small town in Ohio,” Bognar told the audience. “We have a neighbor. His name is Dave. We see him at the grocery store.”
“I literally just knocked on their door the same way Black people do when they’re having barbecues,” Chappelle joked to the audience. “‘Hey, I’m having a barbecue. Can I borrow some hotdogs, neighbor?’”
Masks were not required inside Radio City but attendees had to provide proof of vaccination. All phones were placed in Yondr pouches as well, ensuring everyone’s undivided attention. The star-studded premiere marked the first event at the iconic venue since the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.
“He’s sold this place out many times,” Reichert said. “He’s a visionary and he knows how to make things happen… The fact that it’s Juneteenth is very meaningful to Dave.”
At the end of the screening, Chappelle took the stage to introduce a surprise hip-hop concert, emceed by DJ Clark Kent, featuring Fat Joe, Talib Kweli, ASAP Ferg, Q-Tip, Redman, Ghostface Killah, and De La Soul.
“It was a truly magical night,” added Bognar to the Dayton Daily News. “Julia and I have made a lot of movies by now, and we’ve sat in a lot of film screenings, but we have never experienced something like this. To be surrounded by over 5,000 other people watching the film together, that collective joy, after such a hard 15 months, was indescribable. Dave is a visionary. He saw months ago that we could do this kind of huge event and help reopen New York City. And he was so right.”
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