Netflix announced Monday that it has acquired the distribution rights to “American Symphony,” Matthew Heineman’s documentary about Oscar- and Grammy-winning musician Jon Batiste, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival.
The film follows Batiste in 2022 as his already decorated career reaches even greater heights — including six Grammy wins — at the same time that his wife Suleika Jaouad is battling leukemia.
Netflix acquired the film alongside Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground and will release it later this year.
“The themes of resilience and love at the heart of ‘American Symphony’ resonate deeply with us — and we’re thrilled to bring the film into the Higher Ground family,” the Obamas said in a statement. “Jon and Suleika’s journey of grace and strength echoes the experience of so many families who are forced to navigate the complications that surface when dreams meet adversity.”
“For many years, Jon’s music has helped provide a soundtrack to our lives, and we’re grateful for the partnership he and Suleika have offered on issues like voting rights and the fight against cancer,” the statement continued. “We could not be more proud to join in telling their story and lift up the work of a talented filmmaker like Matt Heineman. Matt weaves a poignant tapestry of courage, love and music and we are honored for Higher Ground to help share it with the world.”
Heineman is an Oscar and Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker who earned his Academy Award nod in 2016 with “Cartel Land,” a look inside the vigilante groups who battle against drug cartels on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. He was nominated for seven Emmys for his 2021 documentary “The First Wave,” which followed a New York hospital during the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cinetic Media negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. The acquisition was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
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