The New 411
By Raymond Ward
Spearheading a new generation of forward-thinking sales companies primed to reimagine the industry even before COVID-19, Utopia takes POV’s first ever mini-series “And She Could Be Next” to the virtual Marché Du Film.
The multi-part documentary series directed by Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia follows women of color–as candidates and organizers–who are transforming U.S. politics from the ground up, including history-makers Stacey Abrams (Georgia) and Rashida Tlaib (Detroit).
“If ever there was a moment where we need to be reminded of the leadership of women of color, that time is now,” said executive producer Ava DuVernay. “If you’re an immigrant, a young person, a person of faith, or simply someone who has felt unseen for too long, you will find yourself reflected in this story.”
After being selected for its world premiere this year by the Tribeca Film Festival, PBS’s documentary showcase POV aired “And She Could Be Next” earlier this week in the United States, with Utopia taking it to the virtual Croisette for international sales. Co-founded in 2019 by director Robert Schwartzman, Los Angeles-based Utopia offers an array of flexible and filmmaker friendly sales and distribution services.
“The world has its eyes on the U.S.,” comments Utopia’s Head of Sales, David Betesh. “We believe there is strong buyer appetite for socially-driven work of the highest quality, and that’s just what our Emmy and Academy Award-winning partner POV is known for. It’s especially a thrill to launch this series internationally during what is unquestionably an epochal and borderless moment of reckoning around issues of race, gender, and representation. The series is a natural addition to our slate of high-quality features and documentaries, including the Steve Bannon portrait “American Dharma” from Academy Award-winner Errol Morris.”
Other films on Utopia’s Cannes market slate include the upcoming ensemble comedy, “The Argument,” starring Dan Fogler and Maggie Q; the basketball documentary “Jump Shot,” produced by and featuring two-time NBA champion and MVP Stephen Curry; and the comedy feature “Mister America” from “Adult Swim’s” Tim Heidecker.