EXCLUSIVE: Netflix is about to get on the board in a big way at the Sundance Film Festival, near a deal on one of the buzziest documentaries to play Park City. Netflix is closing on Knock Down the House, the Rachel Lears-directed film that followed the campaigns of four progressive women who ran against incumbents in the elections last fall, shaking up the status quo and bringing fresh blood into Congress.
One of the main figures in the film is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who ran as a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and was elected to New York’s 14th District and became at age 29 the youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress. Ocasio-Cortez was expected to come to Sundance, but had to cancel the trip because of the turbulence of the government shutdown which was just coming to an end.
The other progressive challengers whose campaigns are studied are Cori Bush, Amy Vilela and Paula Jean Swearengin, and the film drew raves and multiple bidders. Trying to find out how high the bidding went, but I am confident that Netflix is closing.
Bush was a former nurse from St. Louis who was moved to run after becoming involved in protests of the murder of Michael Brown, and she challenged Rep. Lacy Clay, an old-school black Southern Democrat whose father held the office before him. Vilela was a chief financial officer in Nevada who took on Steven Horsford, a pol heavily backed by PAC-money interests. Vilela was moved to run after the death of her daughter, who passed away soon after a hospital refused to treat her when she couldn’t provide proof of insurance. Swearengin is a coal miner’s daughter who ran because she loathed seeing her community blighted by health problems and poverty created by the dependence on the coal industry in West Virginia.
Robin Blotnick co-wrote Knock Down the House with Lears and they produced the docu with Sarah Olson.
Cinetic Media brokered the deal.