SundanceNow Doc Club has acquired all U.S. rights to “A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile,” marking the streaming service’s first festival acquisition.
Sophie Deraspe’s documentary screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it was praised for holding up a mirror to the digital era while also shining a light on a key geopolitical moment.
The film centers on Amina Arraf, a Syrian-American revolutionary whose blog A Gay Girl in Damascus acquires a huge following in the midst of the Syrian uprising. She begins an online affair with Sandra Bagaria, a young woman in Montreal, who gets involved in her cause after Amina is allegedly abducted by the Syrian secret police. Without spoiling the film’s big reveal for those unfamiliar with the international incident, not everything is as it seems.
Writing in Variety, critic Ben Kenigsberg said, “With its slippery, deftly woven narrative, Deraspe’s doc could find an audience with the same viewers fascinated by ‘The Imposter’ and ‘Catfish.'”
The film will have its digital premiere exclusively on Doc Club simultaneously with a theatrical release via the company’s corporate sibling, Sundance Selects, on July 24. Its international television debut will happen later this year with partner Sundance Channel Global.
Doc Club is an advertising-free, boutique subscription service dedicated solely to documentaries. Membership costs between $4.99 and $6.99, and the site underwent an extensive 12-month redesign and relaunched in September.
“This film is a powerful story of love and betrayal between two people with broader implications for the ethics of journalism and social-media activism,” said Linda Pan, general manager of Doc Club.
The deal was negotiated by Pan with Lorne Price and Chanelle Routhier of the National Film Board of Canada on behalf of the filmmakers. Terms of the pact were not disclosed.