Netflix announced today that it will release “Casting JonBenet,” Kitty Green’s innovative hybrid documentary inspired by the infamous murder of six-year-old pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey, on April 28. The film played the Sundance Film Festival in U.S. Documentary Competition this January to rave reviews, currently boasting a 100% fresh approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
20 years after the murder, Green stages a casting call for young actresses to play the late child beauty pageant queen, interviewing the fresh hopefuls and their parents about the murder and its relevance today. In the vein of “Kate Plays Christine,” another inventive documentary about an infamous death which recreates real life events, the film uses new methods to explore its subject.
Reviewing “Casting JonBenet” for IndieWire, Eric Kohn wrote, “The movie doggedly avoids conventions of the non-fiction genre… When the concept really clicks, ‘Casting JonBenet’ operates as a darkly entertaining look at how gossip can fuel legend to the point where truth loses its relevance.”
The film is co-produced by Green (“Ukraine is Not a Brothel”), Scott Macaulay (“Gummo”) and “Indignation” director James Schamus, also known for producing multiple Ang Lee films. Coinciding with the debut, Netflix will give the film a limited theatrical run.
Check out a clip from “Casting JonBenet” below: