〉The critically acclaimed doc won several awards and was nominated for an Oscar
Netflix is moving steadfast into producing original films, now working to transform their Oscar-nominated documentary VIRUNGA into a narrative feature. The multiple award-winning documentary, directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, premiered on the streaming outlet in 2014 and was subsequently nominated for the Oscar. Phillip Watson of LBI Entertainment is producing the narrative outing, with Pauline Ficher, Sarah Bowen, and Ted Sarandos developing the project for Netflix.
Sources have confirmed to the Tracking Board that Netflix is currently searching for a high-profile writer to tackle the adaptation with grace and tact, ensuring that the narrative is as equally powerful as the documentary. The doc of course follows a team of courageous individuals who risk their lives protecting the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas that dwell in the forested depths of the Virunga National Park in the Congo. Our sources insist that the new feature will present a dramatic, gritty portrayal of three rangers who strive to defend these sacred creatures from poachers.
The documentary, which Netflix nabbed the exclusive distribution rights to, received universal acclaim and currently holds a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 95% on Metacritic. It makes sense that the burgeoning studio would be eager to develop a narrative adaptation of the award-winning doc, as it went on to win the Feature Documentary Award at DOXA Documentary Festival, the International Emerging Filmmaker Award at Hot Docs, the Golden Rock Documentary Award at Little Rock Film Festival, and more.
Virunga also helped to put Netflix on the map in terms of features, showcasing the emerging shingle’s growth from a streaming service to a powerful new face in the film landscape.
Netflix’s first original feature is Cary Fukunaga’s drama Beasts of No Nation, which premiers on the streaming site on October 16th, the same day it releases in theaters.
Beasts of No Nation, which is already receiving early awards season buzz for star Idris Elba, presents a unique game changer for the film business, further proving that Netflix is working to transform the conventional way we view movies, much like they did television.
Netflix’s other upcoming original features include Adam Sandler’s The Ridiculous Six and Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday, which bow on December 11th and in March 2016, respectively.
Clark Allen | Associate Editor