Netflix has officially nabbed the rights to Sundance winner Knock Down the House.
The documentary, which chronicles the campaigns of four female progressive candidates including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, against powerful incumbents in the 2018 midterm elections, premiered at the festival this week, when we reported that Netflix was close to securing a deal for the film. Now, the streaming giant has officially confirmed it has acquired worldwide distribution rights to the film, directed by Rachel Lears and produced by Lears, Robin Blotnick, and Sarah Olson.
When tragedy struck her family in the midst of the financial crisis, Bronx-born Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to work double shifts in a restaurant to save her home from foreclosure. After losing a loved one to a preventable medical condition, Amy Vilela didn’t know what to do with the anger she felt about America’s broken health care system. Cori Bush was drawn into the streets when the police shooting of an unarmed black man brought protests and tanks into her neighborhood. Paula Jean Swearengin was fed up with watching her friends and family suffer and die from the environmental effects of the coal industry. At a moment of historic volatility in American politics, Knock Down the House follows these four women as they decide to fight back despite having no political experience, setting themselves on a grassroots journey that will change their lives and their country forever.
The documentary premiered to a standing ovation in Utah and won the audience award in its category. Yesterday the Sundance Institute announced Knock Down the House as the winner of the Festival Favorite Award, selected by audience votes from the 121 features screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Netflix on the release of Knock Down the House,” says director Lears. “This platform will allow us to reach huge audiences worldwide, including viewers who may not usually watch independent documentaries. We’re also very excited to be working with Netflix on a campaign to spark wider cultural conversations about our democracy and how it can continue to evolve.”
“It is a transcendent moment when skilled filmmakers are able to train their lens on a major transformation,” adds Lisa Nishimura, VP of Original Documentaries for Netflix. “With intimacy and immediacy, Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnik, bring viewers to the front lines of a movement, as four women find their voice, their power and their purpose, allowing all of us to witness the promise of true democracy in action.”
Netflix close to acquiring Sundance’s Knock Down the House
1st February 2019
Netflix is closing a deal to acquire Knock Down the House after its premiere at Sundance this week.
The documentary, which is directed by Rachel Lears, profiles the fight by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to be elected the USA’s youngest ever member of Congress. Intimate and up-close, the film takes us inside the campaign by the young, bold Puerto Rican bartender from the Bronx, who worked double-shifts to save her family’s home from foreclosure and worked equally hard to bring representation for marginalised and hard-pressed communities to US politics.
As well as Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, the film follows Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin, who all look to topple incumbent candidates and produce a legendary upset at the ballot box.
Produced by Lears, alongside Sarah Olson and Robin Blotnick, the documentary debuted at Utah this week – Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t present at the premiere, due to the recent government shutdown. The movie promptly sparked a four-day bidding war, with Amazon, Hulu and others all competing for the non-fiction film. Netflix, though, is reportedly close to closing the deal, with a sales figured rumoured to be as high as $6 million. Should the deal go through, it joins Delhi Crime Story on the list of titles nabbed by Netflix this year at Sundance, but also previous Sundance docs acquired by the streaming giant, including Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower and Chasing Coral.