The movie is presented by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Prods and Participant, directed by Margaret Brown.
The stirring opening clip for “Descendant,” the Sundance Award-winning documentary, has been made available on Netflix.
The documentary, which Margaret Brown directed, centers on residents of Africatown, a small town in Alabama, as they share their tales and local history as ancestors of the Clotilda, the last ship known to have brought illegally enslaved Africans to the United States.
Forty years after selling enslaved Africans was made a capital offense in America, the ship made its way there. The documentary’s logline states that it was immediately destroyed and its existence denied, but now “after a century shrouded in secrecy and speculation, descendants of Clotilda’s survivors are reclaiming their story.”
One subject says early in the teaser, which follows the time after the buried history of the Clotilda had been figuratively unearthed when remains of the ship were found, “It’s slowly been erased, and as far as I can remember, it’s never been in history books.”
Because, as one subject put it, “I don’t want the momentum of the story just to be focused on the ship,” the movie follows the community members as they seek justice and healing. It’s not just that ship, though.
Yet another descendant drives home the point, adding: “I don’t want our history to be taken the same way our people were taken.”
Netflix acquired worldwide rights to the film in January following its acclaimed debut at Sundance, with Higher Ground, President Barack Obama, and Michelle Obama’s production company, signing on to present the Participant feature alongside the streamer. “Descendant” will screen as an official selection at the 60th New York Film Festival on October 1, the latest stop on the film’s festival run before it launches on Netflix and in select theatres on October 21.
Netflix Debuts Moving First Trailer for Sundance Award-Winning Documentary ‘Descendant’ https://t.co/bxXGJ4kv2x
— Variety (@Variety) September 29, 2022
In August, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance at the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival to introduce the doc, which had been selected as the opening night presentation. The film premiered in the U.S. documentary competition at Sundance, where it won the U.S. documentary special jury award for creative vision.
“Descendant,” a Higher Ground and Night Tide production, in association with Two One Five Entertainment, is produced by Kyle Martin, Essie Chambers, and Brown. Executive producers are Participant Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann; Kate Hurwitz of Cinetic Media; Two One Five Entertainment’s Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Shawn Gee, and Zarah Zolman.
View the complete trailer below.
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