Netflix announced the buy today, along with the acquisition of Zion, a ten-minute film directed by Floyd Russ about a young wrestler born without legs.
Shirkers will next be shown at the True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri on Friday. The film tells of Tan’s 1992 cult classic Shirkers, about the world of ‘zines, and the theft of the 16mm footage by the filmmakers’ enigmatic American collaborator Georges Cardona, who disappeared. More than two decades later, Tan, now a novelist in L.A., returns to the country of her youth and to the memories of a man who both enabled and thwarted her dreams. And she returns to the original film itself, revived in a way she never could have imagined.
“I’ve always dreamed of sharing my stranger-than-fiction film Shirkers with the widest audience possible, so am thrilled for Netflix to help tell this story to new generations of iconoclastic, creative people around the world,” Tan said. “I hope the true story of my youthful misadventures will inspire people to turn their crazy dreams into reality.”
“Shirkers speaks to a part of us that rarely get expressed—that bold spirit of making your own art regardless of the challenges,” Netflix VP of Original Documentary Programming Lisa Nishimura added. “Sandi Tan has an exquisite, hypnotic story to tell, one that stretches from teenage rebellion to a kind of personal homecoming that all audiences can relate to.”
The deal with Netflix was negotiated by Josh Braun of Submarine on behalf of filmmakers.
Zion is a portrait of Zion Clark, a young wrestler born without legs who grew up in foster care. Clark began wrestling in second grade against his able-bodied peers. The physical challenge became a therapeutic outlet and gave him a sense of family. Moving from foster home to foster home, wrestling became the only constant thing in his childhood.
Both films will launch globally on Netflix later this year.