London-based film sales agent and theatrical distributor Dogwoof has acquired the international rights (excluding North America) to Tim Travers Hawkins’ feature-length documentary XY Chelsea ahead of its world premiere at the 18th annual Tribeca Film Festival.
Produced by Pulse Films, the 92-minute film provides an intimate portrait of whistleblower Chelsea Manning as she fought for her release from military prison to receive treatment for her gender dysphoria, and as she prepares her transition to living life for the first time as a free woman.
Former United States Army soldier (then) Bradley Manning was convicted in July 2013 of espionage and other offences after leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military documents to WikiLeaks. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, an all-male maximum security facility. After serving seven years, her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama in May 2017.
Manning, however, was jailed a second time for contempt in March 2019 after refusing a grand jury subpoena to testify against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
“When I started making the film, my only access to Chelsea was through written diaries that she mailed to me, and recorded calls over the heavily-monitored prison line,” said Travers Hawkins in a statement. “As we announce the release of the film she is locked up once again, proving both the urgency of her story, and her strength and uncompromising rebelliousness.”
XY Chelsea is co-financed by the British Film Institute, which awarded National Lottery funding, Field of Vision and Topic Studio.
Premium cable network Showtime reps the film for the North American marketplace.
XY Chelsea will premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival on May 1, followed by a UK release planned for May 24. The film will enjoy its television debut in the U.S. on June 7 via Showtime.
Executive producers are Laura Poitras, Charlotte Cook, Vinnie Malhotra, Mary Burke, Michael Bloom, Lisa Leingang, Sharon Chang, Christos Konstantakopoulos, Blaine Vess, Marisa Clifford and Ryan Harrington.
“XY Chelsea is a current, intimate and highly cinematic portrait of a key figure of the 21st century,” added Dogwoof CEO Anna Godas. “With unique access, it reveals a complex character, shattering any pre-conceptions of what a hero is.”