After successful screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival, The Square (Al Midan) from director Jehane Noujaim, opened theatrically at the Film Forum theaters here in NYC and in LA in the last months (a self-financed Oscar-qualifying run), and was soon after, albeit unexpectedly, picked up by Netflix, with potential plans to crash the Oscars with the critically-acclaimed documentary.
And it’s well on its way, given that it was recently shortlisted by the Academy, as one of 15 documentaries in nomination contention. The final nominees will be announced next month, right around the time Netflix plans to release it via its streaming platform, on January 17.
A recipient of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program and Fund (DFP) and a grant from Chicken and Egg Pictures, Jehane Noujaim’s The Square, follows a short line of recent documentaries (that we know of and have covered) that center on the ongoing Egyptian Revolution, through the fall of Morsi – the uncertainties and dangers of a ‘transitional period’ under military rule.
It was one of the biggest news events of the last decade, so it was only a matter of time before films centered on the Arab Spring flooded the marketplace. We’ve covered quite a few, both fiction and non-fiction – like 2011’s riveting documentary 1/2 Revolution, and Ibrahim El Batout’s lauded drama Winter of Discontent, which is Egypt’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar consideration at the upcoming 86th Academy Awards. I’m sure there are more to come.
The Square is produced by Karim Amer and executive produced by Geralyn Dreyfous, Sarah Johnson, Mike Lerner, and Jodie Evans.
Netflix previously co-produced, co-financed and distributed several docs, including This Film is Not Yet Rated and Born Into Brothels via its now-defunct indie label, Red Envelope.