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Netflix Buys Russian Doping Doc ‘Icarus’ For $5 Million — Sundance 2017

The feature-length documentary debut from Byran Fogel landed one of the largest deals for a non-fiction film in Sundance's history.


Netflix continued its Sundance Film Festival acquisition spree Tuesday by acquiring the documentary “Icarus,” which premiered in the festival’s U.S. Documentary Competition section last Friday. The movie sold for $5 million, one of the largest in Sundance’s history for a non-fiction film, Variety reports.  Sony Pictures Classics, Neon, Magnolia, and Amazon were all reportedly in the hunt for the movie.

READ MORE: Netflix Acquires Documentary ‘Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower’ — Sundance 2017

The feature-length documentary debut from Byran Fogel (“Jewtopia”), “Icarus” was conceived as an experiment to test the impact of performance-enhancing drugs, but the film took a turn when Fogel met the former chief of Russia’s antidoping lab and uncovered one of the biggest scandals in sports history. The end result plays like a suspense thriller within a feature documentary.

“Fogel’s incredible risk-taking has delivered an absorbing real-life thriller that continues to have global reverberations,” Lisa Nishimura, Netflix VP of Original Documentaries, said in a statement. “By ripping the cover off of an international doping-industrial complex, ‘Icarus’ is an incredible story that shows how far some people will go to uphold national pride.”

An Impact Partners presentation in association with Chicago Media Project, Diamond Docs and Alex Productions, “Icarus” was produced by Dan Cogan, Fogel, David Fialkow and Jim Swartz.

READ MORE: Netflix Close to Acquiring Hulk Hogan Doc ‘Nobody Speak’ — Sundance 2017

The acquisition marks Netflix’s eighth purchase at Sundance year, five of which have been documentaries. On Monday, the streaming giant bought three movies on Monday, including the docs “Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press,” and “Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower.”

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