In what is shaping up to be one of the busiest Sundance festivals yet, particular for streaming services, Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to Joe Piscatella’s Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower, which recently made its world premiere in Utah.
The film, which is a June Pictures production, follows teenager Joshua Wong, who decides to save his homeland when the Chinese Communist Party threatens its promise of autonomy to Hong Kong. Rallying thousands of kids to skip school and occupy the streets, Joshua becomes an unlikely leader in Hong Kong and one of China’s most notorious dissidents.
Described by Netflix as “a remarkable portrait of courage, resilience and youthful idealism”, Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower demonstrates how one young man mortgages his own future to try and save his city.
“Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower is a filmmaking triumph,” says Lisa Nishimura, the site’s VP of Original Documentaries. “Piscatella has woven together the complex and inspirational story of an unlikely activist, whose acts of bravery and conviction need to be seen around the world. In an era where we are witnessing heightened civic participation and freedom of expression, we are pleased to offer a global platform for audiences to engage on these issues.”
“We could not be more thrilled to be in business with Netflix,” adds Andrew Duncan, the film’s producer and Founder of June Pictures. “Their global platform will allow us to share Joshua’s message about the importance of due process of law and freedom of speech with a worldwide audience.”
The movie will launch globally later this year to Netflix’s 93 million odd members in 190 countries.
The deal marks Netflix’s continuing push to become a go-to destination for documentaries, with the service earning two Oscar nominations this year for Ava Duvernay’s 13th and short doc The White Helmets.
It’s not just non-fiction, though, that Netflix has in its sights. The streaming giant is also making an $8 million deal for To the Bone, reports Deadline.
The drama, which stars Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves, is written and directed by Marti Noxon, who co-created and exec-produces UnREAL.
The movie premiered Sunday in the U.S. Dramatic section at Sundance and follows Ellen, an unruly, 20-year-old anorexic girl who spent the better part of her teenage years being shepherded through various recovery programs, only to find herself several pounds lighter every time. Determined to find a solution, her dysfunctional family agrees to send her to a group home for youths, which is led by a non-traditional doctor. Surprised by the unusual rules, Ellen has to discover for herself how to confront her addiction and attempt self-acceptance, in order to stand a chance against her demons.
The film marks Noxon’s directorial debut, with Deadline reporting that she drew on her own experiences of battling eating disorders when younger in writing the project.
It’s produced by Bonnie Curtis, Julie Lynn, and Karina Miller, with AMBI Media Group’s Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi exec-producing.