EXCLUSIVE: LA-based sales firm The Exchange has boarded world sales rights to timely documentary The Reunited States, which follows unsung heroes on the journey to bridge the political and racial divides in the U.S.
Subjects of the new film include Susan Bro, who’s daughter Heather Heyer was killed when a car drove through a crowd of counter-protestors at the infamous Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally three years ago today; Steven Olikara, the founder of the Millenial Action Project, a bipartisan coalition of 1,500 young lawmakers; Greg Orman, an independent politician who ran for Governor of Kansas in 2018; and David and Erin Leaverton, a Republican couple who travelled to all fifty states with their three kids in an RV in an effort to understand how to heal national divisions.
The documentary follows Bro on her quest for social justice from the first anniversary of the Charlottesville rally up until her recent work with Congress to pass the bipartisan Khalid Jabara-Heather Heyer NO HATE Act.
Director Ben Rekhi previously worked as VP of Acquisitions for international sales company IM Global before directing The Ashram, starring Melissa Leo, and BRON Studios-backed Watch List, a true-crime thriller set against the extra-judicial killings in the Philippines.
“The only reason people paid attention to my daughter’s death was because she was white,” Bro says. “I didn’t ask for this platform, but since its been given to me I want to re-direct the attention to the issues of racial inequality that she died for. This documentary is not only about me, it’s about all the people and organizations that are working tirelessly to bridge our divides through difficult conversations. Many people are not even aware that there’s a movement to heal our divisions; hopefully this film can help show people there is another way.”
“The inspiration for the film was the realization that we are all either part of the problem or part of the solution when it comes to divisions in our country,” said Rekhi. “We live in a time where we hate our fellow citizens more than we hate any foreign enemy, which hasn’t happened since right before the Civil War. With chaos in politics, a global pandemic, an economy in freefall, and social unrest from systemic racism – we need to find a way to work through our differences or this experiment in democracy could fail. By following real-world people on the journey of bridging our divides, we hope the film amplifies the narrative that each of us has a role to play in reuniting the country.”
“What people need now more than anything is hope,” added Nat McCormick, EVP Worldwide Sales at The Exchange. “This film is about healing, and we believe there’s an untapped market for inspirational content during these challenging times. With this documentary, Ben and his team deliver a deeply moving portrait of the everyday heroes who are working through our political and racial divides… and providing solutions for the rest of us to do the same.”
The documentary was inspired by the book The Reunited States Of America: How to Bridge The Partisan Divide by Mark Gerzon, who served as a consulting producer and also appears in the film.
The film had its virtual world premiere this month as the closing night film of the Woods Hole Film Festival. Next on the festival circuit are Cinequest Film Festival, which resumes in September, and the United Nations Association Film Festival in October. The Exchange is in discussions for distribution later this year.
The Exchange’s upcoming slate includes Peter Dinklage, Noomi Rapace and Sophia Lillis starrer The Thicket, Daisy Ridley-voiced animation The Inventor and Gugu Mbatha-Raw drama Seacole.