“Zola” Filmmaker Takes Twitter Stripper Story To Sundance, Says Real “Zola” Gave Her “Thumbs Up”

Writer-director Janicza Bravo is ready to show the world “Zola,” the internet story-turned-feature film.

As Baller Alert previously reported, the Twitter stripper story about two women who go on a 48-hour adventure after meeting one another at Hooters has made its way from our timelines to Sundance. The film will be Bravo’s second feature film to premiere at Sundance and her fourth time showing work at the festival, according to Variety.

“I can’t wait to show the work, and — maybe this is graphic — but I can’t wait to amputate it. It’s been like this appendage that’s been attached to my body for close to three years, and I’m ready to cut it off,” said Bravo. The story went viral back in 2015 and has been adapted into a film that follows the story of a woman named A’ziah “Zola” Wells, who joins her new friend from Detroit to Tampa. The movie will cover various themes, including kidnapping, trafficking, and a suicide attempt, according to Variety.

Bravo says she first learned about the story when her friends texted it to their personal group chat, where they share “ratchet, dark stories” from the internet. “From the moment it entered into my hands, I was like, ‘Must make it now.’ And I tried, I tried to get the story, and it didn’t happen,” Bravo said. The story was adapted from David Kushner’s Rolling Stone profile “Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind the Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted.” Bravo snagged the job as director in May 2017; the film will be distributed by A24.

“[A24 is] integral to why I got the job. I wasn’t the only director being considered. … I think a part of what they sort of pitched and what they were most enticed by was what my version of the movie was going to look like,” said Bravo. Now, Bravo says she is happy that the real Zola gave her a stamp of approval. “I am proud of the film. I feel good about the film. I said mostly what I wanted to say, and that’s all I can ask for. The real Zola got to see it, and she gave me a thumbs up. Honestly, to me, that’s what I needed,” Bravo said.

ZOla Film on THe Way
‘Courtesy of Sundance Institute.’ 

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