Barry Jenkins to direct Netflix film based on Virunga
James R | On 24, Jun 2020
Barry Jenkins will direct a feature film for Netflix based on the streamer’s documentary Virunga.
The documentary, which was released in 2014, saw debut director Orlando von Einsiedel head to the Virunga National Park in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, home to the last of the planet’s 800 mountain gorillas. It followed an embattled team of park rangers at Virunga National Park, as they fought off encroaching forces of industry, poaching, corruption and war.
“Powerful, passionate and important filmmaking” is how we described the film in our review. The movie was later nominated for an Oscar.
Now, Netflix is returning to the subject for a new feature, with Moonlight helmer Barry Jenkins to direct. Leonard DiCaprio, who was an exec-producer on the original documentary, is producing the project with his Appian Way partners Jennifer Davisson and Phillip Watson, alongside Oscar-winner Joanna Natasegara for Violet Films. Orlando van Einsiedel will also serve as an exec-producer on the film.
Jenkins is now stranger to streaming, with a first-look deal signed in 2018 with Amazon Studios to develop TV series for Amazon Prime Video, including an adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad.