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Netflix Picks Up Worldwide Rights to Documentary ‘Descendant’

Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to Participant’s feature documentary Descendant.

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

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.  

The film, a Night Tide production, in association with Two One Five Entertainment and directed by Margaret Brown, premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and received the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Creative Vision.

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

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

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