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Netflix And FilmRise Separately Acquire Transgender-Themed Documentary Films

Deadline logo Deadline 6/2/2017 Anita Busch

Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to David France’s The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, about the murder of a transgender legend, known as “the Rosa Parks of the LGBT movement.” The film is France’s follow-up to his Academy Award nominated How to Survive a Plague. The film will launch globally on Netflix later this year. Johnson was a self-described “street queen” of NYC’s gay ghetto. She was found floating in the Hudson River in 1992 and the NYPD deemed it a suicide and did not investigate, a controversial decision that has haunted the community. Having played a pivotal role in the Stonewall Riots of 1969, Marsha and fellow icon Sylvia Rivera went on to form the world’s first trans-rights organization, STAR (Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries) in 1970. And despite their many challenges over the years – harassment, homelessness, alcoholism – Marsha and Sylvia ignited a powerful and lasting civil rights movement for gender nonconforming people. The movie follows crime-victim advocate Victoria Cruz as she reexamines what happened to Marsha. The film is from Public Square Films; Joy A. Tomchin and Sara Ramirez (Grey’s Anatomy) are executive producers and L.A. Teodosio produced the film. Submarine negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

Brooklyn-based Film and TV distributor FilmRise today announced that it has acquired exclusive worldwide distribution rights to Julie Sokolow’s documentary Woman On Fire. The film had its world premiere at the 2016 DOC NYC Film Festival to critical and audience acclaim.

Meanwhile, FilmRise has acquired the Julie Sokolow-directed feature documentary Woman On Fire which tells the story of Brooke Guinan, New York City’s first openly transgender firefighter. The film captures Brooke’s transition and her struggle for acceptance in what is still an overwhelmingly male-dominated profession. The acquisition comes just two weeks before Guinan is to be honored as a Grand Marshal of this year’s iconic LGBT Pride March in New York City. The march takes place on June 25th.

To coincide with Pride Month, Woman On Fire will screen to the public this coming Monday, June 5th at BAM Rose Cinemas, in partnership with Brooklyn Pride. The film was produced by Danny Yourd. Executive producers are Michael Killen, Kathy Dziubek, and Jim Kreitzburg of the film’s production company, Animal Inc.

The deal was negotiated between FilmRise’s Faye Tsakas, Manager of Acquisitions, and Max Einhorn, VP Acquisitions, with Abby Davis and Kevin Iwashina of Preferred Content.

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