KING OF KINGS:
CHASING EDWARD JONES
Special Presentation | France, United States | 2023 | Documentary | 99 min | In English and French with English subtitles
Directed by: Harriet Marin Jones
Written by: Harriet Marin Jones, Giles Gardner, Michel Fessler
Produced by: Harriet Marin Jones, Debbie Allen, Quincy Jones, Séverine Cappa, Stéphane Sperry
Cinematography: Emmanuel Guimier
Film Editing: Giles Gardner
Original Score: Philippe Kelly
International Sales: n/a
Director Harriet Marin Jones takes an in-depth look at the life and legacy of her grandfather, Edward Jones, a charismatic African-American who rose to the heights of financial and political prominence in Depression-era Chicago, to become one of the richest men in America, before falling into complete oblivion. Building a multi-million-dollar empire as the brains and brawn behind “Policy” — the illegal numbers racket and precursor of today’s state lottery — the “Policy King” went head-to-head with Al Capone’s “Outfit”, while hobnobbing with celebrated artists like Josephine Baker, Frida Kahlo and Duke Ellington. Edward Jones shaped the destiny of a city, yet could not escape the color of his skin in America. In exploring her own family roots with many Chicagoans who knew him (including composer Quincy Jones, the film’s executive producer), the filmmaker uncovers yet another dazzling forgotten episode in Black American History.
After studying at Loyola University in Chicago, Harriet Marin Jones earned a B.A. in visual media at the American University in Washington, DC and an M.A. in Cinema Studies at New York University, writing and directing several award-winning short student films. She began her career as an assistant director on feature films in the US and France, while evaluating scripts for major broadcasters in France, and writing and directing two additional short films, as well as her first feature, Marry Me (2000). She directed Impair et Pair, a play by Ray Cooney; co-produced and directed Elle est Lui, a short pilot for France 2; and wrote two novels, Très à l’Ouest d’Eden and Pardon. In 2008, she launched her own film and TV production company. King of Kings, her first documentary, has garnered several festival prizes, including the Chicago Award at this year’s Chicago International Film festival.