“It was the biggest thing to happen to Boulder in a very long time,” says one local resident of what happened in 1996. That was when the Colorado town saw the mysterious death of six-year-old US beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.
Two decades later, director Kitty Green returns to audition local actors, unpacking how each remembers and relates to the ill-fated Ramsey family. Shooting over a period of 15 months, the exploration of both the crime and how it has shaped behaviours and attitudes of future generations blurs the lines of documentary and drama.
If that sounds like a must-see film, you’d be right: Casting JonBenet was a smash hit at this year’s Sundance, nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and snapped up exclusively by Netflix before it even premiered at the festival.
Casting JonBenet is released worldwide on Netflix on Friday 28th April. Read on for the trailer – or, for the most comprehensive list of what’s coming soon to Netflix UK in April, click here.
From Sundance to Netflix: Casting JonBenet will premiere on 28th April
13th February 2017
Casting JonBenet will arrive on Netflix worldwide this April, after its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
The documentary, directed by Kitty Green, explores the still-unsolved death of six-year-old US beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey in 1996. Over a period of 15 months, Green and her filmmaking team went to Ramsey’s hometown in Colorado to explore both the crime and how it has shaped behaviours and attitudes of future generations.
It was snapped up by Netflix before it even premiered at the Utah festival, marking the first time a Netflix non-fiction work has competed in Sundance’s US Documentary Competition.
The film will be released on Friday 28th April, Netflix announced at a press event last week in New York, unveiling this teaser video:
Netflix snaps up Casting JonBenet ahead of Sundance premiere
5th January 2017
Netflix is getting its Sundance shopping spree off to an early start this year. The festival has not even begun yet and the streaming giant has already snapped up the rights to Casting JonBenet.
The documentary, directed by Kitty Green, will premiere in the US Documentary Competition at the festival, marking the first time a Netflix non-fiction work has competed at the event.
The movie explores the still-unsolved death of six-year-old US beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey in 1996. Over a period of 15 months, Green and her filmmaking team went to Ramsey’s hometown in Colorado to explore both the crime and how it has shaped behaviours and attitudes of future generations.
The film is produced by Green, Scott Macauley, and James Schamus. The film was financed by Meridian Entertainment, through its production deal with Schamus’ Symbolic Exchange, with additional backing from Screen Australia, Film Victoria, Cinereach, Rooftop Films, Garbo NYC, and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program.
“Casting JonBenet presents audiences with a hybrid of nonfiction and fiction filmmaking that examines the complicated legacy of this tiny starlet,” reads the film’s official Sundance synopsis. “Relying on a local casting call to entirely voice her film, director Kitty Green expands on a fascinating technique she last explored in her short film which won a 2014 Jury Award for nonfiction (The Face Of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul). Foregoing a standard investigative documentary style, she instead scrutinizes the court of public opinion by inciting responses, reflections, and even performance from members of the Ramseys’ own Colorado community. Her unique approach allows for all the fact and fiction of JonBenet’s case to be shared while deftly questioning the way individuals search out their own subjective truths.”
“Kitty boldly embraces the tradition of innovative risk-taking within the documentary filmmaking mode with her remarkable work on Casting JonBenet,” Netflix VP of Original Documentary Programming Lisa Nishimura tells Variety. “Netflix is the ideal home for showcasing Kitty’s sharply-rendered vision of a mythic American tragedy to a global audience, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the crime.”
The film premieres on 22nd January at Sundance Film Festival. It will be released on Netflix and in US cinemas this spring.
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