Netflix Acquires Doc ‘Sky Ladder’ on Chinese Artist Cai Guo-Qiang (EXCLUSIVE)

Netflix is in final negotiations to acquire worldwide streaming rights to the Sundance documentary “Sky Ladder,” about celebrated Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, Variety has learned.

The film, directed by Kevin Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland,” “Life in a Day”), chronicles Cai’s life history and inspirations through his signature works of art involving gunpowder and explosives. The story focuses on Cai’s attempts to stage his most ambitious project to date: a fireworks display in the shape of a sprawling ladder, cast over his hometown in China.

Sky Ladder” premiered in the world documentary category at Sundance, where it received strong reviews. The film pulls back the curtain on a well-known figure to international audiences, and Netflix — which is now available in 190 countries, after an aggressive expansion in January — has been on a buying spree for product that will appeal to viewers around the world.

At Sundance, Netflix also acquired global streaming rights to the Iranian horror movie “Under the Shadow”; “Tallulah,” starring Ellen Page; the Indian sex comedy “Brahman Naman”; “The Fundamentals of Caring” with Paul Rudd; the Molly Shannon cancer dramedy “Other People”; and docs “Audrie and Daisy” and “Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You.”

“Sky Ladder” was produced by Wendi Murdoch (who came to Sundance to support the project), Hugo Shong and Fisher Stevens. Bennett Miller served as executive producer. Cinetic Media’s John Sloss handled sales of the film out of Park City.

More Digital


    'The Umbrella Academy' Superheroes Series Premiere Date Set on Netflix

    The dysfunctional-family superheroes of “The Umbrella Academy” are landing on Netflix worldwide on Feb. 15, 2019. The live-action series is based on the “Umbrella Academy” comic books created and written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, published by Dark Horse Comics. The Netflix original series comprises 10 one-hour episodes. “The Umbrella Academy” stars [...]

  • ATF: Hooq Adds Trio of Original

    ATF: Hooq Adds Trio of Original Series, Partnership With Vice Media

    Asian video-on-demand service, Hooq has unveiled three Indonesian-made original series, and a partnership with online content group Vice. The new shows range from a talk show “TL;DR” that will be co-produced with Vice, to a full-length series, “Check Out The Store Next Door” (“Cek Toko Sebelah the Series”) and a short form series. The partnership [...]

  • ATF: Indian Streamer Eros Now Launches

    ATF: Indian Streamer Eros Now Launches 'Flesh' as Original Series

    Eros Now, the video streaming arm of Indian film production and distribution giant Eros International, has begun production of an original web TV series. Its human trafficking drama “Flesh” will air in early 2019. “Flesh” stars Swara Bhaskar (“Raanjhanaa,” “Veera Di Wedding”) as a belligerent female cop who takes matters into her own hands in [...]

  • Avengers End Game Trailer

    'Avengers: Endgame' Trailer Smashes 24-Hour Video Views Record

    With the Marvel fandom’s anticipation leading up to “Avengers: Endgame,” it’s no surprise that the trailer drop set a new record for most views in its first 24 hours. The “Avengers: Endgame” trailer was viewed 289 million times in its first 24 hours, after it was released around 5 a.m. PT Friday, according to Marvel [...]

  • Fandor Logo

    Fandor Lays Off Staff, Sells Assets of Indie-Film Streaming Service (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fandor, the independent-film streaming service, has laid off nearly all of its employees and has sold its assets, Variety has learned. Reached for comment, Fandor CEO/chairman Chris Kelly sent a statement in which he said Fandor has a deal in place that will let a “new entity” continue to operate the service. He declined to [...]

  • ESL And Oculus Partner For VR

    ESL And Oculus Partner For VR Charity Challenge Game Show

    Esports company ESL is teaming up with Oculus for the Change the Game VR Charity Challenge (VRCC), it announced on Friday. Two teams of influencers will compete for a $100,000 prize during the event. Each will represent one of two gaming charities — Stack Up or Take This. Stack Up is a nonprofit that works [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content