EXCLUSIVE: A feature documentary about an orphaned wildcat cub proved to be irresistible catnip to streamers. In a just concluded auction, Amazon Studios acquired the untitled documentary from 30WEST and directors Melissa Lesh & Trevor Frost. Price I’m hearing is around $20 million, a near record for a docu. The film is about a young British soldier who returns from Afghanistan suffering from depression and PTSD. He heads to the Amazon with thoughts of ending his life. He finds a reason to live when he arrives there. The man, who’s named Harry, finds himself teaming with a woman he meets, named Samantha, to become the caregivers to an injured baby ocelot wildcat.
The docu was shopped in the form of a promo by the first time filmmakers. It was developed by 30WEST, which brokered the Netflix deal and were executive producers on the zeitgeist series Tiger King, as well as Fyre, about the music festival debacle that left wealthy millennials stranded in an island in the Bahamas. The company sold to NEON Flee, the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning animated docu which will be released later this year after playing Telluride.
The docu went for an exceptionally high number in competition. It might be the second largest docu streamer, and the highest for a non-celebrity subject. Recent high sales have included the $25 million for Billie Eilish docu The World’s A Little Blurry, and a Beyoncé docu at Netflix that reportedly went in the $20 million range.
The Ocelot Wildcat film is in post production, but no release date yet. Alysa Nahmias of AJNA Films and Minding the Gap’s Joshua Altman are also producers. 30WEST financed the film, executive produced and negotiated the sale. The film is a production of Emerging Earth Films and Unbound Films in association with 30WEST, AJNA Films, and Harmonium Pictures. It is supported by the Sundance Institute and Science Sandbox, as well as Age of Union, Focused on Nature, Our Children’s Earth, and Eastman Fund.
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