Alex Gibney’s documentary Taxi To The Dark Side, which delved into U.S. torture policies (via the CIA) and got caught up in a broadcast-rights quagmire seven years ago between the Discovery Channel and HBO — and then ended up embroiled in the ThinkFilm bankruptcy — will find a short public life again via streaming media. It is understood that although the bankruptcy proceedings are ongoing, the documentary’s streaming rights were legally outside the purview and were just granted to the SundanceNow Doc Club. The film won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2008.
SundanceNow, an advertising-free boutique SVOD service dedicated solely to documentaries, just licensed streaming rights which is a victory for Gibney, who has been working to bring the film back to the U.S. public for viewing via streaming. The only way to get the film until now is to buy the DVD.
How did it happen? Thom Powers, resident curator of Doc Club, was aware of Gibney’s quest despite the fact that many of the film’s U.S. rights had been tied up for years. Powers approached Gibney to see if Doc Club could help in some way, and eventually Doc Club was able to license streaming rights albeit for only a matter of months.
Linda Pan, SVP New Digital Business for AMC Networks, also recently finalized a deal for streaming rights to Jafar Panahi’s acclaimed 2011 documentary This Is Not A Film which had likewise become unavailable to stream online. When both documentaries go live today, they will be available to stream only at SundanceNow Doc Club here.
Taxi To The Dark Side was produced by Gibney, Eva Orner and Susannah Shipman. It was written and directed by Gibney, who is one of the most important documentary filmmakers today. His other credits include Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks, and Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief.