Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights to “Whose Streets?,” a documentary about the political protests in Ferguson, Mo., that followed the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police.
The indie label picked up the film after its Sundance premiere. “Whose Streets?” follows activists who have taken to the streets to draw attention to the issue of police violence. Brown’s killing in 2014 sparked a fierce backlash and exposed fault lines in the relationship between African-American communities and the criminal justice system. A grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the white Ferguson police officer who shot Brown after he robbed a convenience store, triggering more public outrage and disruptions.
Magnolia plans a summer theatrical release of the film to coincide with the anniversary of Brown’s death. It will also screen the film at spring festivals.
“Whose Streets?” is the feature film debut of writer-director Sabaah Folayan and co-director Damon Davis. It was produced by Jennifer MacArthur in association with her Borderline Media, the film was shot by Lucas Alvarado-Farrar and edited by Christopher McNabb, with original music by Samora Abayomi Pinderhughes. Flannery Miller was also a producer, and Chris Renteria is a co-producer.
Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles said the film was both a “critically important statement for these times” and “an indelible work of art.”
The deal was negotiated by Magnolia Co-Exec VP Dori Begley and Senior VP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden with Josh Braun, Ben Braun, Matt Burke, and David Koh of Submarine, and David Morrison of Thompson Bukher LLP on behalf of the filmmakers.