Netflix is nearing a deal for its second documentary acquisition of the afternoon at the Sundance Film Festival with Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower.
The deal is pegged in the low-seven-figure range and covers worldwide rights.
Directed by Joe Piscatella, the film centers on unlikely hero Joshua Wong. When the Chinese Communist Party backtracks on its promise of autonomy to Hong Kong, the teenager decides to save his city. 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.
“Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower is a filmmaking triumph,” Lisa Nishimura, vp original documentaries at Netflix, said Monday in a statement. “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.”
Netflix also is closing a deal for Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press, adding to its Sundance haul that also includes Casting JonBenet and Chasing Coral. Earlier Monday, it also acquired worldwide rights to Jim Strouse’s comedy The Incredible Jessica James, which will have its world premiere as the closing-night film at the festival.
Piscatella produced Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower alongside Andrew Duncan, Matthew Torne and Mark Rinehart. Alex Saks executive produced.
“We could not be more thrilled to be in business with Netflix,” said Duncan. “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.”
Aded Piscatella: “The Netflix partnership will also allow us to reach millions of young people who will find inspiration in Joshua’s story.”
The film, which is playing in the World Documentary Competition, made its world premiere Friday at Park City’s Temple Theatre.
WME negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.