Docs

Kino Lorber, Kanopy acquire Sundance doc “Brainwashed” for N. America

Kino Lorber has partnered with streaming platform Kanopy to acquire Nina Menkes’ documentary/essay film Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power (pictured), which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, for a theatrical and subsequent ...
May 20, 2022

Kino Lorber has partnered with streaming platform Kanopy to acquire Nina Menkes’ documentary/essay film Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power (pictured), which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, for a theatrical and subsequent streaming release.

A legend in independent film circles for such experimental narrative features as Queen of Diamonds (1991) and Phantom Love (2007), Menkes based Brainwashed on her in-cinema presentation “Sex and Power: The Hidden Language of Cinema,” in which she set out to analyze how the “male gaze” — which was famously theorized by academic Laura Mulvey in a 1975 essay — has shaped the language of filmmaking since its inception, and the real-world effects that this sexist framing has had upon women.

In Brainwashed, Menkes employs clips from nearly 200 films stretching from 1896 to the present, and also includes interviews with scholars, filmmakers and industry figures such as Mulvey, Julie Dash, Eliza Hittman, Amy Ziering and Joey Soloway, among others. The film is directed and produced by Menkes, with Maria Giese, Guo Guo, Summer Xinlei Yang and Sandra de Castro Buffington serving as coproducers. Tim Disney, Susan Disney Lord, and Abigail Disney are executive producers.

The Kino Lorber/Kanopy deal will see Kino Lorber release the film theatrically in North America in fall 2022, followed by an exclusive streaming premiere on Kanopy for educational purposes. The agreement was negotiated by Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell and UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers.

“Nina Menkes’ Brainwashed pulls the curtain back on the many ways male-dominated image-making has been internalized by men and women alike, and the overwhelming ripple effect it has had on our culture,” said Kino Lorber’s Lidell. “We are thrilled to have the privilege of bringing Nina’s film to audiences in the U.S. and Canada, and expect the film to spark impassioned debates among everyone who sees it.”

“With #malegaze on TikTok hitting 290 million views and climbing, our subject matter is a hot, essential topic for right now, and Kino will get the film to a very wide audience,” added Menkes.

Brainwashed is represented internationally by Cinephil, which is currently shopping the film at the Cannes Film Market. The doc has already been picked up for several territories in addition to the North American deal, including the UK and Ireland (BFI), the Nordics and Baltics (Non Stop Entertainment), Poland (New Horizons), Spain (Avalon), Italy (I Wonder) and Israel (YesDocu).

About The Author
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.

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