Netflix acquires Sundance award-winner ‘Descendant’

PARK CITY, Utah — Netflix has acquired the worldwide rights to Participant’s feature documentary Descendant, which won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Creative Vision at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday.

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, will present the film alongside Netflix.

This is the tenth film or series that Netflix and Participant have collaborated on including American Factory with Higher Ground.

Descendant follows members of Africatown, a small community in Alabama, as they share their personal stories and community history as descendants of the Clotilda, the last known slave ship to illegally transport human beings as cargo from Africa to America.

The ship’s existence, a centuries-old open secret, is confirmed by a team of marine archeologists.

The film explores implications of the Clotilda’s discovery for the descendants, who grapple with their heritage while claiming the power to shape their own destinies.

“I have been humbled and honored to spend four years with the residents of Africatown as they seek justice and reconciliation for what happened in 1860, and what is still happening today,” said director Margaret Brown. Brown’s previous work includes The Great Invisible, which examines the BP oil spill and its aftermath in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I am excited that through Netflix and Higher Ground’s global reach, audiences around the world will learn this powerful history.”

The film was produced by Brown, along with Kyle Martin and Essie Chambers. Executive producers include Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann, Kate Hurwitz, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Shawn Gee, and Zarah Zohlman.

See the full list of 2022 Sundance award winners

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