MVAAFF) kicked off Friday with great pomp and circumstance — and a few bars of “Hail to the Chief” — as Barack and Michelle Obama made a special appearance for the opening night screening of Netflix documentary “Descendant.”When Netflix acquired worldwide rights to the Sundance award-winning documentary in January, the Obamas’ production company Higher Ground signed on to present the feature alongside the streamer and Participant.
The documentary, which earned the U.S. special jury award for creative vision at Sundance, is set to launch on the streamer later this year.Directed by Margaret Brown (“The Order of Myths,” “Be Here to Love Me: Townes Van Zandt,” “The Great Invisible”), the documentary follows members of Africatown, a small community in Alabama, as they share their personal stories and community history as descendants of the Clotilda, the last known ship carrying enslaved Africans to the United States.
The ship arrived in America 40 years after African slave trading became a capital offense. It was promptly burned and its existence denied, but “after a century shrouded in secrecy and speculation, descendants of the Clotilda’s survivors are reclaiming their story,” according to the film’s logline.
For nearly 15 minutes, the former president and first lady held the audience’s attention as they preached the importance of uncovering untold history and their aim to support projects that do just that, like “Descendant,” through their Higher Ground banner.“When we screened this… we looked at it and immediately thought, ‘This is why we’re doing Higher Ground.’ Because what we know about our history as Black people, we don’t talk about nothing.Read more on variety.com