Sundance: Netflix, Obamas’ Higher Ground Land Doc ‘Descendant’

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Sundance: Netflix, Obamas’ Higher Ground Land Doc ‘Descendant’

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Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to Sundance documentary Descendant, which tells the story of the last known ship to bring slaves to America. For

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Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to Sundance documentary Descendant, which tells the story of the last known ship to bring slaves to America.

Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s Netflix-based Higher Ground is set to release the film in partnership with the streamer.

The Participant feature from director Margaret Brown screened in the U.S. Documentary Competition section. It follows members of Africatown, a small community in Alabama, as they share their personal stories and community history as descendants of the Clotilda, the last known slave ship to illegally transport human beings as cargo from Africa to America. The ship’s existence, a centuries-old open secret, is confirmed by a team of marine archeologists.

The Hollywood Reporter review of the film called it “a riveting impressionistic doc.”

Kyle Martin, Essie Chambers and Margaret Brown produced Descendant. Executive producers are Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann; Kate Hurwitz; and Two One Five Entertainment’s Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Shawn Gee and Zarah Zohlman.

Netflix and Higher Ground previously partnered on Participant doc American Factory, which went on the win the Oscar for best doc feature. Descendant will debut on the streaming service later this year.

Cinetic and Participant negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

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