Cassius X: Becoming Ali + Panel Discussion

CASSIUS X: Becoming Ali follows the early years of Cassius Clay, from bright-eyed rookie to world heavyweight champion and from working class intellectual to one of America’s most influential civil rights campaigners. The film reveals how the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, reinforced by a friendship with revolutionary preacher, Malcolm X, set Clay on the journey to become "Cassius X", before his induction to the Nation of Islam and ascension to the name of the great Muhammad Ali. CASSIUS X: Becoming Ali is the extraordinary story of how one young boxer from Louisville, Kentucky became a cultural icon for the ages, forever to be known thereafter as “The Greatest”.

Post show discussion panel line up:

JP Smith - Boxing Saves Lives (local community organisation)

Tysie Gallagher - Current Commonwealth Super Bantamweight Title holder. 

Light refreshments will be provided

Supported by UK Muslim Film, BFI, South East Film Hub

Delivered by The New British Black Film Collective and Simply Deez Events in partnership with The Culture Trust Luton

Running Time: 2 hours including panel discussion

Director Biography

Director Biography - Muta'Ali

Muta’Ali is an award winning film director whose latest feature documentary release is Cassius X: Becoming Ali. He received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Director of a Documentary for his critically acclaimed Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn and his feature documentary debut was Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee, featuring Harry Belafonte, Alan Alda, Phylicia Rashad, Spike Lee and others.

Muta’Ali’s 2021 Gracie Award winning documentary short Hear Her Voice showcased the disparity in maternal mortality affecting the black community and his television work includes serving as a producer on Soul Of A Nation, Juneteenth: Together We Triumph, and After Floyd: The Year That Shook The World.

While completing his Bachelors of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Muta’Ali fed his creative spirit by studying film. Selected as a GEM Fellow by IBM Research, Muta’Ali earned a patent at IBM’s Almaden Research Center for a unique graphical user interface and, after graduating from the Georgia Institute of Technology with his Masters of Science degree, he began his career as a filmmaker.

In 2004, Muta’Ali co-founded The Raw Report, a hip-hop focussed entertainment news series on rising stars and multi-platinum recording artists signed to Def Jam Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Atlantic Records. While there, he produced over 130 entertainment news segments featuring notable figures including 50 Cent, Idris Elba, and Ice Cube.

Muta’Ali is currently directing his next feature documentary on a wildly popular product invented by black entrepreneurs and driven into the ground by predatory executives. Muta’Ali has been interviewed on ABC, MSNBC, CBS, Fox News, PBS, SiriusXM, WBAI, NPR, and Roland Martin. He has also been covered in The Daily News, Essence, Ebony, Newsday and The New York Times.

"There is no denying the electric charge one gets watching the soon-to-be Muhammad Ali bragging, boasting, punching and pouncing"
Tim Grierson - Screen Daily
"Cassius X is remarkably compelling … it’s presented with a skillful eye for editing and pacing and accompanying music, so that it also takes on a truly cinematic beat"
Paul Greenwood - The Herald
"The film never loses sight of the significance of race in the US… and hinges on an understanding of how identities are formed and controlled, or what it means to take away or bestow a name"
Eye For Film
"Cassius X: Becoming Ali successfully weaves the focal boxer’s story back into the era and culture of the time. In turn, that also helps the audience understand Ali’s personal interpretation of what it meant to be Black in America"
Vague Visages


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