Ahead of Sunday’s Emmy Awards, Amazon Prime Video has shared the trailer for its upcoming anthology series Small Axe, featuring five films directed and co-written by 12 Years a Slave filmmaker Steve McQueen.
“Small Axe is an anthology comprised of five original films set from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s that tell personal stories from London’s West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will despite rampant racism and discrimination,” Amazon Prime Video said of the series. “This title is derived from the African proverb, ‘If you are the big tree, we are the small axe.’”
The first installment of Small Axe, Mangrove starring Letitia Wright, will premiere Friday, November 20th on the streaming service, with each subsequent film debuting on the Fridays from November 27th to December 18th.
“Mangrove centers on Frank Crichlow (Shaun Parkes), the owner of Notting Hill’s Caribbean restaurant, Mangrove, a lively community base for locals, intellectuals and activists,” the streaming service said of the first film.
“In a reign of racist terror, the local police raid Mangrove time after time, making Frank and the local community take to the streets in peaceful protest in 1970. When nine men and women, including Frank and leader of the British Black Panther Movement Altheia Jones-LeCointe (Letitia Wright), and activist Darcus Howe (Malachi Kirby), are wrongly arrested and charged with incitement to riot, a highly publicized trial ensues, leading to hard-fought win for those fighting against discrimination.”
The following installments are Lovers Rock— which will open the upcoming virtual New York Film Festival — Education, Alex Wheatle, and the final film Red, White and Blue starring John Boyega. Mangrove and Red, White and Blue will also screen during NYFF.
McQueen previously shared the trailer for Mangrove in early August to mark the 50th anniversary of the Mangrove March. “Sunday, August 9th, is 50 years since the Mangrove March, which led to nine innocent black women and men being arrested,” the director said in a statement at the time. “It was a march necessitated by relentless police brutality in Notting Hill. To commemorate the bravery of these community activists and the nine who went on to be acquitted of incitement to riot with the judge citing ‘evidence of racial hatred,’ I am sharing the trailer of Mangrove, one of five films to be released under the banner Small Axe.”