Those seeking a new take on the Kennedy dynasty and who don’t want to visit theaters for “Chappaquiddick” will soon have another option on Netflix. Director and executive producer Dawn Porter will bring her four-part docuseries “Bobby Kennedy For President” to the streaming service later this month, following its April 25 Tribeca Film Festival debut. The collaboration was announced March 16, exactly 50 years after Robert F. Kennedy launched his presidential bid.
His campaign lasted just 83 days: the 42-year-old New York senator, former U.S. Attorney General, and father of 11 was assassinated at a Los Angeles hotel immediately after declaring victory in the California presidential primary. Kennedy’s death came just two months after the slaying of Martin Luther King, Jr., and less than five years after his older brother, President John F. Kennedy, was murdered. Robert Kennedy’s demise comes early in the manic-paced Netflix trailer, which ends on a hopeful note despite the country’s entrenchment in the Vietnam War and struggle to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
The trailer implies that a turning point in RFK’s public advocacy arrived in April 1967, when he accompanied three other senators to the Mississippi Delta. There, layoffs among black sharecroppers created starving families; the contingent visited one home where 15 residents lived on nothing but a jar of peanut butter. Anchored by his wife, Ethel, Robert remained an enthusiastic and at times humorous public servant, all while grieving his brother.
“I gravitate to making films that shed a light on truth and justice, and RFK’s story inspires me personally, and has helped me grow as a filmmaker and a citizen,” said Porter in a statement when the project was announced. Porter was a Film Independent Spirit Award nominee four years ago for “Gideon’s Army,” the story of three Southern public defenders, and her 2016 film “Trapped” won a Sundance special jury prize for social-impact filmmaking. That year, her fellow “Bobby Kennedy for President” executive producer Justin Wilkes was an Oscar nominee for his documentary, “What Happened, Miss Simone?”
Kennedy’s youngest child, Rory, is a Best Documentary Oscar nominee for directing 2014’s “Last Days in Vietnam.”
“Bobby Kennedy For President” includes new-to-the-public archival footage, plus Porter’s interviews with Kennedy confidants like current Congressional representatives John Lewis and Neil Gallagher, labor-organizing legend Dolores Huerta, and civil rights lawyer Marian Wright Edelman, who first brought the plight of Mississippians to Kennedy’s attention.
Netflix will begin streaming the quartet of hour-long episodes on April 27. Watch the trailer below.