Exclusive: Netflix nabs hit Sundance doc “E-Team”

On-demand service Netflix is continuing to pursue acclaimed feature docs, spending big to acquire first-run rights for Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman's Sundance-winner E-Team (pictured), realscreen can reveal.
May 7, 2014

On-demand service Netflix is continuing to pursue acclaimed feature documentaries, acquiring first-run rights for Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman’s Sundance-winner E-Team (pictured), realscreen can reveal.

The film examines the personal and professional lives of four investigators at Human Rights Watch’s Emergencies Team, following them to conflict zones such as Libya and Syria, as they attempt to ascertain whether or not war crimes have been committed.

The doc won the Cinematography Award for U.S. Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it had its world premiere in January. E-Team has gone on to play at a range of major festivals, including True/False, Full Frame and Hot Docs, and is being repped internationally by Ro*co Films International, as previously reported, with The Film Sales Company handling the States.

Realscreen understands from multiple sources with knowledge of the deal that Netflix has picked up the 90-minute doc after being wowed by it at its Park City premiere. The deal is understood to be for a US dollar sum in the very high six-figures, and covers the global territories Netflix is available in.

The film will have an awards-qualifying run theatrically, before launching on the video-on-demand service later this year.

E-Team was pitched to the international marketplace at the IDFA Forum in Amsterdam, in November 2012, where it won high praise from TV commissioners. Of the directors, Chevigny’s previous work includes the docs Deadline and Election Day, while Kauffman previously won an Academy Award for co-directing Born into Brothels.

The deal comes after Netflix last year made its first move into original documentaries, acquiring TIFF hit The Square as the launch title for its Original Documentaries banner.

Other non-fiction acquisitions have included the Oscar-winning doc short The Lady in Number 6, 3D printing doc Print the Legend, political campaign doc Mitt, and golfing doc The Short Game.

A spokesperson for Netflix declined to comment on the deal.

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