Amazon Studios has acquired the worldwide rights to an untitled documentary about voting rights that prominently features politician Stacey Abrams, the studio announced Wednesday.
Oscar nominee Liz Garbus (“What Happened, Miss Simone?”) and Lisa Cortés (“Precious”) are directing the film that’s currently in post-production. Amazon will give the film a theatrical release at some point this year ahead of the 2020 election and will then release the film on Amazon Prime Video.
The documentary examines the often overlooked, yet insidious issue of voter suppression in the United States in anticipation of the 2020 presidential election. The film interweaves personal experiences with current activism and historical insight to expose a problem that has corrupted our democracy from the very beginning.
With the perspective and expertise of Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, the documentary will offer an insider’s look into laws and barriers to voting that most people don’t even know is a threat to their basic rights as citizens of the United States.
Both Garbus and Cortés produced the film along with Abrams and “Icarus” producer Dan Cogan.
“Raising the alarm about voter suppression is critical to the integrity of our democracy,” Abrams said in a statement. “The failure of state leaders in Georgia and other states across the country to protect the rights of voters, as seen in the 2018 election and 2020 primaries, must be exposed and it must be stopped. Justice in our criminal justice system and the sacred right to vote are not equal for all Americans and we must find a way to change these systematic inequalities. As the 2020 election approaches, this documentary will help voters realize the power of their voices, and it will inspire them to overcome the obstacles of voter suppression.”
“We are honored to be working with brilliant filmmakers Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés and the remarkable Stacey Abrams on this timely and important documentary,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “In this critical election year, Stacey’s expertise and fearless stance against voter suppression will resonate strongly with audiences everywhere and can inspire positive change in supporting all Americans’ right to cast their vote.”
“Working with Stacey Abrams is the honor of a lifetime,” Garbus and Cortés said in a statement. “The story of voting rights is not just one of the Civil Rights Movement and the 1960s. It’s a story for right now. It’s a monster movie where you think you’ve mortally wounded the beast, but it keeps rearing its ugly head, as last week’s primary in Georgia so painfully demonstrated. And nothing less than democracy is at stake.”
Abrams is an author, entrepreneur, nonprofit CEO and political leader who became the first black woman named a gubernatorial nominee for a major political party in the U.S. She’s combated voter rights issues through her Fair Fight 2020 initiative to fund and trail voter protection teams in 20 battleground states.
Garbus most recently directed “Lost Girls,” which premiered at this year’s Sundance and debuted on Netflix this year, and she’s also behind the HBO miniseries “Who Killed Garrett Phillips?” He’s a two-time Emmy winner, Peabody winner and a two-time Oscar nominee.
Cortés is an executive producer on the Best Picture nominee “Precious” from 2009 and made her directorial debut with “The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion” from this year, which traces the impact of street fashion and African American creativity on global cultural trends.
The project was assembled by UTA and was a collaborative effort between the company’s Independent Film Group, Alternative Television, and Culture & Leadership divisions. UTA Independent Film Group negotiated the deal on behalf of all parties. Abrams is represented by UTA.