London-based factual indie Sundog Pictures has penned a deal with Knock Down the House executive producer and Atlas Films co-founder Stephanie Soechtig to develop and series direct the forthcoming docuseries City of Refuge.
City of Refuge will document life in Atlanta’s 30314 zip code, which is known locally as the Bluff – or “Better Leave, You F***ing Fool – and is home to some of the highest rates of crime, homelessness, and incarceration in America. The area is also the home of Pastor Bruce Deel’s City of Refuge, an organization that has helped more than 20,000 people in Atlanta’s toughest neighborhood escape sex trafficking, homelessness and incarceration.
Sundog is currently in discussions with a range of funders and broadcasters for this project.
Soechtig most recently executive produced Rachel Lears’ politically-focused Knock Down the House. The 86-minute feature-length film held its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival where it won both the U.S. Documentary Audience Award and the Festival Favorite Award, and was picked up by Netflix soon after.
Her past directorial credits include firearms film Under the Gun; Fed Up, which spotlighted society’s addiction to sugar and the ensuing obesity epidemic; the award-winning Tapped, which investigated the high cost of the bottled water industry; and the Sundance 2018 climate doc The Devil We Know, in which a group of West Virginians challenge the DuPont corporation to be more environmentally responsible.
“The access we have secured to Bruce and his work will allow us to combine reconstructions from [his memoir] Trust First, with present day actuality to give a compelling insight into life through the eyes of some of the most disenfranchised people in America,” said Sundog Pictures CEO Johnny Webb in a statement.
“All my films have shone a light on modern-day America,” added Soechtig. “City of Refuge will get to the heart of something I have not yet explored – what it feels like to face the stark realities of the disappearance of the American Dream.”