Netflix Nabs Doc About Transgender Activist Marsha P. Johnson

David France's 'The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson' will screen on the streaming service later this year.

Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to David France’s The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, a documentary about the transgender activist from the director of the Oscar-nominated How to Survive a Plague.

Johnson took part in the historic 1969 Stonewall Riots and went on with fellow activist Sylvia Rivera to form the trans-rights organization STAR, an acronym for Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries, in 1970. When she was found floating in the Hudson River in 1992, her death was attributed to suicide, although the circumstances surrounding it remained a mystery.

"Almost single-handedly, Marsha P. Johnson and her best friend Sylvia Rivera touched off a revolution in the way we talk about gender today,” France said in a statement. “Their names should be household words. But Marsha’s life was cut tragically short and Sylvia died shortly thereafter, the victim of a broken heart. Getting to know their story through the investigation undertaken by Victoria Cruz, a seminal activist in her own right, has been one of the great honors of my career. Now, with Netflix as our distribution partner, I am confident the legacy of these tremendous women will never be forgotten.”

Added Netflix vp original documentary programming Lisa Nishimura: “We are honored to bring much deserved recognition to the dynamic life of Marsha P. Johnson. Her effervescent spirit and pioneering leadership of the LGBT movement is illuminated with an eloquent force by director David France and is a true testament to the power of documentary films.”

The film, which debuted at the recent Tribeca Film Festival and will screen at the upcoming Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival, is presented by Public Square Films. Joy A. Tomchin and Grey’s Anatomy actress Sara Ramirez served as executive producers, with L.A. Teodosio producing. Submarine negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

The film will launch globally on Netflix later this year.

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