The first documentary by Brian Voice, Icarus, Oscar-winning company Netflix helped expose the Russian doping scandal that led to his exit from the 2018 Winter Olympics.
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For his second project, he chose another topic of international interest: the assassination of Saudi dissident Jamal Kashuki and the columnist. Washington PostThe role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in this case.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker usually gets a lot of attention from streaming services, which use documentaries and blockbusters to attract subscribers and win prizes. Instead, during the focal documentary, Desire, Finally with an independent company, without a streaming platform, able to find a distributor after eight months with very restricted access.
This global media will no longer ask, how will this resonate with the American people? They ask: What if this picture is shown in Egypt? What if he goes out to China, Russia, Pakistan and India? All of these factors are at risk, and they are a barrier to stories like this, ”Vocal said.
Desire It was screened in 150-200 theaters across the country on Christmas Day and then made available for purchase on premium video-on-demand channels on January 8th. (Original projects will be measured by the epidemic in 800 theaters in October.) Internationally, the film will be shown in the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Turkey and other European countries. Network of Distributors.
Vogel said he believes this is too low compared to audiences with a service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, and that these sites – growing in the document world – are a sign of the search system. They create common ground without opening up many opportunities for the powerful.
According to his picture, Vocal interviewed Kashoki’s friend Hattis Genghis, who was waiting for him when he was assassinated outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 – Author Washington PostFred Ryan and many other members of the Turkish police. Kashogi suffocated himself and received a 37-page transcript of the recording of what happened in the locked room. He spent a lot of time with Omar Abdulaziz, a young man deported from Montreal who worked with Kashuki to oppose the Saudi government’s use of Twitter, in an attempt to quell protests and criticize the government. .
Desire It took a prominent place at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Oh The Hollywood Reporter He described it as “serious, deep and perfect”. Various It was a “documentary of impressive interest,” he said. Hillary Clinton, who was in Sundance for a documentary about herself, asked people to watch the film, in an interview on stage, saying, “This is a very effective job of proving what a hurricane is. Social media “.
As Netflix has done, this does not seem to guarantee major sales for a large streaming platform that can amplify cinema innovations. Icarus. When Desire It finally found a distributor in September, which is an independent company called Pryorcliffe Entertainment.
Focal said Netflix had warned him about his product and a few months later, Sundance accepted it. “I told them how excited I was to see him. They never responded to me.
Netflix CEO Reid Hastings was at Sundance Premier, but the company was not interested in working. “I was disappointed, but I was not shocked,” the voice said.
Netflix declined to comment, and spokeswoman Emily Feinkold cited some political documentaries the service has recently produced. Democracy in Roundabout, 2019, Rise of dictatorial leader Jair Bolsanaro in Brazil.
Amazon Studio showed no interest. Pictures by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Washington Post, As shown in the picture. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.
Now, Disney-owned Fox Churchlight offers no chance, as did the independent distributors behind last year’s Oscar-winning neon movie. Parasite, Which often gets tricky content.
“I have noticed that the corporate desire for profit has eroded the integrity of American cinema culture,” said Thor Holverson, founder and CEO of the Nonprofit Human Rights Foundation.
Documentaries usually do not have big box office tickets, so they can usually find their audience elsewhere. PBS is a great documentary platform, but its streaming appearance is very important to companies like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. As they grow, so do their business needs.
“It simply came to our notice then. It’s frustrating, but these are the biggest companies in the race to survive, said Stephen Galloway, dean of the Chapman University School of Film. He added, “Do you think Disney will do anything else with Disney +? Apple or a giant company? They have economic restrictions that are hard to ignore, and they have to balance them with issues of freedom of expression. “
Desire This is not the only political documentary that has not reached the broadcasting service. This year, Magnolia Pictures, which signed a broadcast deal with Disney Hulu, dropped its contract with the documentary makers. Killers, Which tells the story of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half brother Kim Jong Un we drank poison.
Film director Ryan White mentioned the progress of Sony Pictures in a 2014 newspaper interview. Various, And the reason for companies believing that the “turbulent road” of distribution in the United States is “they or their results can be catastrophically compromised.”
Netflix is looking forward to it Icarus Many years ago, the film was bought for $ 5 million after it was screened in Sundance in 2017. “Focal’s Courage has made a sensational film that continues to have global repercussions,” said Lisa Nishimura, vice president of documentaries. Netflix was original in a statement at the time.
Al-Mohawi wonders if the company will be so excited Icarus Right now. “When Icarus Outside, they had 100 million subscribers. They wanted to make films with David Pincher Martin Scorsese and Alfonso Guaran. That’s why it’s so important for them to have an award-winning film. (Netflix currently has 195 million subscribers worldwide.)
In January 2019, Netflix deleted a episode of sitcom Hassan Minhaj, National lawWhen he criticized Crown Prince Mohammed after Kashuki’s death. Hastings later backed up the decision: “We are not trying to show the ‘truth of power’.” We try to satisfy.
In November, Netflix signed a deal with Saudi studio Delfas 11 for eight films, which it said would “become popular among Arab and international audiences”.
Ruler Desire It’s not cool, but Vogue still thinks people will watch it. “I love Netflix and consider myself a family after our best experience Icarus. “Unfortunately, they were not the same company when they emotionally confronted Russia and Putin a few years ago,” he said.