UNITED STATES—New York Film Festivals organizers announced on August 3 that the event will open with director Steve McQueen’s (“Hunger,” “12 Years A Slave”) “Lovers Rock.” 

The new film tells a fictional story of “young love and music at a blues party in the early 1980s.” “Lovers Rock” is part of an anthology of five films called “Small Axe,” which will premiere on BBC One later this year and air on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S., according to the festival. 

Two other films in the anthology will be shown along with “Lovers Rock” — “Mangrove” and “Red, White and Blue.”

“It’s an incredible honor and also very humbling to show three of my films at the New York Film Festival,” McQueen said. “It’s especially meaningful for me at this particular time to share these stories as a Black man of West Indian heritage.”

“I’m grateful to the NYFF for their generosity and wish everyone a safe and healthy festival.”

Organizers said that this 58th edition of the festival will “focus on outdoor and virtual screenings with indoor screenings as possible and directed by state and health officials.” The main slate of films for the festival will be announced in the coming weeks, the announcement said. 

McQueen’s “Mangrove” will tell the true story of the ‘Mangrove 9’, “a group of Black activists who clashed with London police during a protest march in 1970, and the highly publicized trial that followed.”

“Red, White and Blue” tells the also true story of Leroy Logan, who entered the Metropolitan Police in England to change the “racist attitudes” within the institutions after he saw his father assaulted by two policemen.

“Steve McQueen is one of the essential artists of our time, and he reaches a new level of mastery with the Small Axe films,” said New York Film Festival Director of Programming Dennis Lim.

“We can’t wait to share these revelatory films with audiences, and to open the festival with Lovers Rock, a celebration of Black lives as exhilarating as it is liberating.”