Exemplifying that the personal is the political, ‘A Thousand and One’ encompasses the systematic failures that can plague an entire community across generations. Marking the directorial debut of A.V. Rockwell, the film is set in New York preceding and following the millennium and portrays the life of an ordinary woman faced with tragedy. Starring Teyana Taylor, Aaron Kingsley Adetola, Will Catlett, and Josiah Cross, the drama movie features the story of a resilient mother who perseveres to raise her son in the face of political and systemic changes, poverty, and marginalization.
While the setting and cinematography set the tenor for an eclectic exuberance, the struggles of Inez and her son Terry continue to become more apparent. After being released from prison, she spots her son Terry on the streets, who was placed in foster care, but the pain of separation and abandonment leads to little conversation. Later, when she finds out her son’s in hospital for jumping out the window trying to escape his foster family, she simply heads to the hospital and walks him out.
What follows is a journey of a family and the choices they make to keep themselves floating above systemic marginalization and rapid changes. While the movie inherently focuses on inter-generational relationships, the drift set by the location adds to its vibrancy. Therefore, it is natural for viewers to wonder what locations gave the movie its timeless character. If you are curious to know about the particular sites and filming locations, we’ve got you covered!
A Thousand and One Filming Locations
‘A Thousand and One’ had been in production since 2020, with A.V. Rockwell deciding to write and direct the film. Drawing from her personal experiences and the emerging conditions of the time, A.V. Rockwell chose New York as the central site for filming. The film was thrust into production post-2021 and wrapped up after a few weeks. Here are all the locations that served as filming sites!
Embodying the cacophony of New York in the ‘90s and the character of the city, the production team chose Harlem for showcase, not just the outside sequences but also Inez’s apartment. Cinematographer Eric Yue also expressed how shooting in Harlem in the summer was difficult for the team in an interview with the Filmmaker. Showcasing the change in the city through Giuliani’s policies and gentrification, Inez’s apartment became a central location for the movie.
Inez’s 2-bedroom apartment in Harlem was chosen to shoot the movie’s interior scenes. While her apartment was actually located on the ground floor, the scenes were shot in a way that gave it a look of the 10th floor using green screens and lights. Giving urban struggle an identity, Inez, an ordinary woman living in New York in the early ‘90s, is unfazed by the evolving changes around her. With a fiery passion and a purposeful vision, her work as a hairstylist keeps her on a pedestal, the scenes of which were also shot near her neighborhood.
Even when focused on the characters, the movie does not fail to showcase New York in earnest. Encapsulating the raw details of a fast neighborhood where the atmosphere is vibrant, the tenor set in the movie doesn’t just emanate New York but also Inez’s community effortlessly.
The outside sequences with Terry and Lucky playing basketball, Terry’s school, and even the hospital sequence were shot in Brooklyn. Several scenes in the movie add a characteristic element to the evolving face of New York. Scenes on the road, such as that on 133 West, Brooklyn, were shot to showcase the rich colors of buildings and encapsulate the essence of New York in the early ‘90s and 2000s, giving the movie a dynamic look.
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