Netflix announced today that it has acquired worldwide rights to Kitty Green’s documentary “Casting JonBenet,” which will have its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festivalin the US Documentary Competition, the first time a nonfiction work from the company will compete.
The film is a sly and stylized exploration of the world’s most sensational child-murder case, the still unsolved death of six-year-old American beauty queen, JonBenet Ramsey. Over 15 months, the filmmakers traveled to the Ramseys’ Colorado hometown to elicit responses, reflections and even performances from the local community. In doing so, Casting JonBenet examines how this crime and its resulting mythologies have shaped the attitudes and behavior of successive generations of parents and children.
The film is co-produced by Green (“Ukraine is Not a Brothel”), Scott Macaulay (“Gummo”) and James Schamus, best known for producing multiple Ang Lee films and for his feature-length directorial debut “Indignation.”
“For Scott and me, working with Kitty, a visionary filmmaker whose originality is matched by her empathy, has been one of the great privileges of our careers,” said James Schamus.
“Kitty boldly embraces the tradition of innovative risk-taking within the documentary filmmaking mode with her remarkable work on Casting JonBenet,” said Netflix VP of Original Documentary Programming Lisa Nishimura. “Netflix is the ideal home for showcasing Kitty’s sharply-rendered vision of a mythic American tragedy to a global audience, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the crime.”
“Casting JonBenet” will launch on Netflix and enter limited theatrical release in spring of 2017.