Award-winning documentary “Aftershock” has been jointly acquired by Disney’s Onyx Collective and ABC News, the companies announced on Tuesday.
The documentary premiered as part of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, and the film went on to win the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Impact for Change.
“Aftershock” will stream on Hulu in the U.S., on Star+ in Latin America, and on Disney+ in all other territories.
“Aftershock” grapples with an epidemic of America’s Black maternal health crisis by following two fathers who have become widowers after their partners died of preventable childbirth complications. Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee (Spike Lee’s wife) direct and produce the film that is not just timely but is a subject that’s of dire importance to Vice President Kamala Harris.
“We are thrilled to partner with Disney’s Onyx Collective and ABC News to honor and uplift the lives of Shamony Gibson and Amber Rose Isaac,” Eiselt and Lewis Lee said in a statement. “We hope audiences will be as inspired and empowered as we are by their families’ trailblazing work to ensure the best birthing outcomes for all Americans.”
The film’s executive producers are Dawn Porter, Jenny Raskin, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Patty Quillin, Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros, Tegan Acton, Emma Pompetti, Janet Tittiger, Davis Guggenheim and Rahdi Taylor.
Lewis Lee told Sharon Waxman at TheWrap’s Sundance Studio how she first became aware of the disproportionate numbers of preventable deaths of Black mothers and babies.
“Way back in 2007, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked me to be the spokesperson for their infant mortality awareness raising campaign called ‘A Healthy Baby Begins With You,’” she said. “That campaign allowed me to travel the country to talk about infant health. At the time, I didn’t know infant mortality was an issue in the United States. I didn’t know that Black babies died in three to four times the rate that white babies do.”
“Aftershock” marks the second Sundance acquisition by the Onyx Collective, following its debut project, “Summer of Soul,” which recently received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary.
Cinetic Media brokered the deal with Victoria Cook, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.