After successful screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival, The Square (Al Midan) from director Jehane Noujaim, opened theatrically at the Film Forum theaters here in NYC and in LA in the last 2 weeks (a self-financed Oscar-qualifying run), and has now, unexpectedly, been picked up by Netflix, with potential plans to crash the Oscars with the critically-acclaimed documentary.
So says that LA Times, who reported that the popular streaming service is in negotiations to acquire exclusive rights to the film.
A recipient of the Sundance Institute's Documentary Film Program and Fund (DFP) and a grant from Chicken and Egg Pictures, Jehane Noujaim's The Square, follows a short line of recent documentaries (that we know of and have covered) that center on the ongoing Egyptian Revolution, through the fall of Morsi recently - the uncertainties and dangers of a ‘transitional period’ under military rule.
Director Noujaim's previous work (which she co-directed with Mona Eldaief), a documentary titled Solar Mamas, was a BBC Storyville selection last year – one of 8 ground-breaking international documentaries that screened in November in 180 countries, that explored why, in the 21st century, 1 billion people still live in poverty.
The Square is produced by Karim Amer and executive produced by Geralyn Dreyfous, Sarah Johnson, Mike Lerner, and Jodie Evans.
Netflix co-produced, co-financed and distributed several docs, including This Film is Not Yet Rated and Born Into Brothels via its now-defunct indie label, Red Envelope.
The streaming service, with plans to go beyond original TV series content and into feature film production, will debut the film in coming months.
It was one of the biggest news events of the last decade, so it was only a matter of time before films centered on the Arab Spring flooded the marketplace. We've covered quite a few, both fiction and non-fiction - like , like 2011's riveting documentary 1/2 Revolution, and Ibrahim El Batout’s lauded drama Winter of Discontent, which is Egypt's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar consideration at the upcoming 86th Academy Awards). I'm sure there are more to come.
Watch the trailer below: