‘Zola’ Teaser Reveals A24’s Sundance Hit Based On An Infamous Twitter Thread

A24’s Zola had the crowds at Sundance buzzing before anybody had seen even a single moment. The movie’s unusual origin springs from a series of tweets by Detroit waitress Aziah “Zola” Wells, nearly 150 of them, about a wild road trip to Florida that she took with another young woman and a pimp. Guns, murder, prostitution, suicide…all of it was part of an insane tale that became the stuff of viral legend. Before you know it, a bunch of tweets were being made into a movie.

While James Franco was initially attached to direct (Dave Franco is a producer), the actual job went to Janicza Bravo, whose feature debut Lemon is still one of the most bizarre things I ever saw at Sundance. Zola stars Riley Keough and Taylour Paige as the two women who embarked on this unhinged journey, joined by Nicholas Bruan, Jason Mitchell, Ari’el Stachel, and Colman Domingo.

In the newly-released teaser, we see the two women getting all dolled up, with captions hyping the legendary tweet-feud that sparked this mostly-true story.  For such an unconventional film, a traditional release doesn’t appear to be on the menu, either, but for now A24 has not set any concrete plans.

Would anyone be shocked if Zola was released via Twitter or some other social media platform?

Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.