‘My Name Is Pauli Murray’ Documentary Sells to Amazon Studios

Sundance 2021: “RBG” filmmakers Julie Cohen and Betsy West directed the film about the non-binary Black lawyer, activist and poet

My Name Is Pauli Murray
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

“My Name Is Pauli Murray,” the documentary about the non-binary Black activist, lawyer and poet, has sold out of Sundance to Amazon Studios. The film is directed by “RBG’s” Julie Cohen and Betsy West.

The documentary tells the life story of Pauli Murray and how they influenced everyone from Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Thurgood Marshall. It includes Murray’s writings as well as newly discovered photographs, video footage and audio interviews, chronicling how Murray spent their life grappling with gender norms and identifying as non-binary.

Murray is known for their 1950 book “States’ Laws on Race and Color,” which Marshall and others considered to be a key document in the fight against racial segregation. Murray was also the first Black person to receive a doctorate from Yale Law School, and was named a co-author in Ginsburg’s brief for her landmark Reed v. Reed victory at the Supreme Court that gave women more control over estates. They died in 1985.

West and Cohen directed the film, which premiered at Sundance. Talleah Bridges McMahon produced. Participant’s Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann and Elise Pearlstein executive produced, along with Peggy Drexler.

“Having Amazon Studios as our distribution partner is really a dream.  We are so excited to work with their team — they are passionate about this film and we know we’re going to be in very capable hands,” West and Cohen said in a statement.

“To share a story that gives visibility to Pauli Murray means so much for so many people and for so many reasons.  Everyone should know Pauli’s story and to imagine the film can be available so widely is really monumental,” Bridges McMahon said in a statement.

“After releasing ‘RBG’ three years ago, we jumped at the opportunity to partner again with the incredibly talented Betsy and Julie, who have once more hit it out of the park in crafting a deeply thoughtful, timely and entertaining film about another real-life American superhero,” Diane Weyermann, chief content officer for Participant, said. “We are incredibly excited to partner with Amazon Studios in bringing ‘My Name is Pauli Murray’ to audiences around the world and shining a long-overdue spotlight on this revolutionary trailblazer.”

Participant and Cinetic negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

Variety reported the news.


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