Netflix paid $10 million to acquire the rights to an award-winning documentary that features Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, according to a new report.
Deadline reported that the sum is a record for a documentary that came out of a film festival.
The documentary, “Knock Down the House,” won the Festival Favorite Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
Three other female liberal candidates were also part of the documentary, which was themed to show the difficulties faced by the Democratic women running for Congress in 2018:
• Democrat Cori Bush, who was defeated by incumbent Democrat Lacy Clay in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District.
• Democrat Amy Vilela, who lost a six-way primary in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District.
• Democrat Paula Jean Swearengin of West Virginia, who lost a Senate primary against incumbent Joe Manchin.
Ocasio-Cortez, however, rocketed to national headlines by defeating then-incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley in a Democratic primary and then coasting in the general election against nominal Republican opposition in the heavily Democratic district.
Netflix said the documentary was about more than an election, according to The Wrap.
“It is a transcendent moment when skilled filmmakers are able to train their lens on a major transformation,” Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s vice president of original documentaries, said.
“With intimacy and immediacy, Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnik, bring viewers to the front lines of a movement, as four women find their voice, their power and their purpose, allowing all of us to witness the promise of true democracy in action,” Nishimura said.
The film covers the campaigns that took place before Ocasio-Cortez was a household name and Crowley was expected to easily win the election.
“It’s entirely possible that director Rachel Lears’ decision to follow around bartender-turned-candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as one of four subjects for a film she was making about outsiders challenging Democratic incumbents in the 2018 midterms will go down in film history as one of the most fortuitous, right-time, right-subject and right-filmmaker combos ever,” Leslie Felperin wrote in her review of the movie for The Hollywood Reporter.
“Because the result, documentary ‘Knock Down the House,’ is a pretty extraordinary cinematic artifact. It’s not just that it takes a snapshot of the left’s fastest-rising star at the moment she went interstellar. It also limns, both through AOC’s story and those of the other three progressive challengers tracked here — Cori Bush, Amy Vilela and Paula Jean Swearengin — an extraordinary juncture in American politics when the landscape terraformed in a way that we still haven’t finished mapping,” she wrote.
Felperin particularly praised the “emotional vulnerability” of Ocasio-Cortez as captured in the film.
Netflix has become increasingly popular with liberals, Fox News reported last year, citing a 15 percent increase in subscriptions from those on the left. That was balanced by a 16 percent decline for conservatives.
— Perkazoidwarrior (@Perkazoid) February 8, 2019
Although Netflix signed former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, to provide original content for the streaming service, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos has insisted it has no political bias.
“This is not The Obama Network, it’s not the MSNBC shift,” Sarandos said. “There’s no political slant to the programming.”