EXCLUSIVE: MTV Documentary Films has acquired North American rights to 76 Days, a raw and emotional look at the struggles of the people of Wuhan, China, in the earliest days of the COVID-19 outbreak. Directed by New York filmmaker Hao Wu (People’s Republic of Desire) and China-based journalists, Weixi Chen and “Anonymous,” 76 DAYS made its world premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. MTV Studios is figuring out the release pattern, but most important right now is to qualify it for Oscar consideration. An awards campaign is a big part of the rollout plan. The film will be the opening night film of the Double Exposure Film Festival and will also play AFI.
The docu was filmed in four Wuhan hospitals, on the front lines of the pandemic. From a woman begging in vain to bid a final farewell to her father, a grandfather with dementia searching for his way home, a couple anxious to meet their newborn, to a nurse determined to return personal items to families of the deceased, the scenes of resilience and tragedy were captured at a moment when it still wasn’t clear how the global trajectory of the airborne virus would bring the world economy to a screening halt.
Co-director Hao Wu said he and his two collaborators are “thrilled to be working with the legendary Sheila Nevins and MTV Documentary Films. It has been a challenging and treacherous journey finishing a film about COVID-19 during a global pandemic. We could not have found more committed partners to bring this story about hope, about our shared humanity in this divided and scared world, to North American audiences.”
Said Nevins: “Hao Wu delivers a remarkable film about the hospitals in Wuhan and their treatment of the virulent coronavirus, capturing compassion, terror, obedience, and the recognition that this virus can be stopped,” said Sheila Nevins, Executive Producer, MTV Documentary Films.
Said Nina L. Diaz, President of Content and Chief Creative Office, ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth Brands: “Liza Burnett Fefferman and I were left awestruck by 76 Days and the extraordinary filmmaking at play. Sheila’s curation is unparalleled and we feel privileged to bring this deftly constructed and harrowing story of those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan during the first days of the outbreak to audiences everywhere.”
Pic was acquired out of the Heartland International Film Festival, where Sheila Nevins served on the feature documentary jury. The sale was negotiated by CAA Media Finance on behalf of the filmmakers and Bahareh Kamali and Lance McPherson on behalf of MTV Documentary Films.
76 Days‘ producers are Hao Wu and Jean Tsien and the pic was written and edited by Hao Wu and shot by Anonymous and Weixi Chen. Executive producers are Bryn Mooser, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Naja Pham Lockwood, Jamie Chen, and Roberto Grande.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.