Netflix is using its gargantuan programming budget ($6 billion in the last year) to produce and distribute a wide array films and TV series. One of their latest purchases is the rights to the documentary, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, from How To Survive A Plague director, David France, according to Variety.
Through the prism of her death, the film looks at Johnson’s life as a trans individual (Marsha’s own gender identity differed at different times in her life, as did her preferred pronoun use), who was one of the most best known ‘street queens’ in New York in the 60s, 70s and 80s, including being an integral part of the Stonewall riots. She also teamed with Sylvia Rivera to co-found the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), becoming an increasingly prominent activist for various causes, mostly linked to gay liberation, trans rights and HIV/AIDS activism.
However, ‘Marsha P. Johnson was found floating in the Hudson River in 1992 and the NYDP initially ruled Johnson’s death as a suicide. The film follows crime-victim advocate Victoria Cruz’s efforts to reexamine what happened [many believe Johnson was murdered] and measure the challenges that still face the community.’
France comments, “Almost single-handedly, Marsha P. Johnson and her best friend Sylvia Rivera touched off a revolution in the way we talk about gender today. Their names should be household words. But Marsha’s life was cut tragically short and Sylvia died shortly thereafter, the victim of a broken heart. Getting to know their story through the investigation undertaken by Victoria Cruz, a seminal activist in her own right, has been one of the great honors of my career. Now, with Netflix as our distribution partner, I am confident the legacy of these tremendous women will never be forgotten.”
Netflix plan to release the movie on the streaming platform worldwide later this year, although no date has currently been announced. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and will also been screened this month’s LA’s Outfest.