Netflix picked up its first British Independent Film Award nomination this week with its documentary Virunga.
The film, which was snapped up by Netflix in July this year, is the feature debut for director Orlando von Einsiede and offers an extraordinary look inside the battle for the heart of the Congo.
Virunga details the brave people risking their lives to build a better future in the forested depths of the Eastern Congo, home to the last of the world’s 800 mountain gorillas. In Virunga National Park, life flourishes with lush plant and wildlife, but it’s a battleground for rogue soldiers, opportunistic poachers, and a small band of embattled park rangers – the last line of defence to protect the heart and soul of the Eastern Congo.
The BIFA nomination for Best Documentary was announced yesterday, pitting it against fellow nominees 20,000 Days on Earth, Next Goal Wins, Night Will Fall and The Possibilities Are Endless.
Now in its 17th year, the awards were created by Raindance in 1998 and set out to celebrate merit and achievement in independently funded British filmmaking, to honour new talent, and to promote British films and filmmaking to a wider public.
The winners will be announced on Sunday 7th November in London, where Virunga will gather with fellow BIFA contenders, ranging from heart-pounding thriller ’71 to Mr. Turner, Pride and The Imitation Game.
Virunga is no stranger to star names, though: Leonardo DiCaprio recently teamed up with Netflix as well as production company Appian Way Productions to serve as an executive producer ahead of the movie’s release in the US. Netflix
The documentary has awards backing too: it debuted at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and promptly earned a nomination for Best Documentary.
The BIFA nomination is the first for a Netflix production and marks a growing number of gongs for the streaming service. This year, it racked up an impressive 31 nominations at the Emmy Awards, taking home 7, and also earned an Oscar nomination in 2014 for Egyptian revolution documentary The Square.
Virunga will be released on Netflix around the world on Friday 7th November, the same day as it hits cinemas in New York and Los Angeles. We’ll have a review for you shortly.
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