FRONTLINE (PBS) Takes on “A THOUSAND CUTS”
Rappler CEO/Journalist Maria Ressa (Courtesy: FRONTLINE/PBS)
SUNDANCE DOCUMENTARY FROM RAMONA S. DIAZ
ON THE LIFE OF TIME PERSON OF THE YEAR / JOURNALIST MARIA RESSA
PBS DISTRIBUTION PLANS SUMMER THEATRICAL RELEASE WITH A FALL TV BROADCAST
As the world awaits the verdict in the trial of Maria Ressa (CEO/Founder of the Philippine news site Rappler and TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year), FRONTLINE, the PBS investigative documentary series, announced today that it has acquired A THOUSAND CUTS — the new film from award-winning filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz that offers an inside look at the key players in this escalating war between press and government in the Philippines and the ongoing threat against freedom of the press.
A THOUSAND CUTS examines social media disinformation campaigns and the crackdown on the news media in the Philippines by President Rodrigo Duterte – who has made Ressa one of his top targets. At great personal risk, Ressa, the chief executive of the independent news site Rappler has been at the forefront of holding Duterte and his government accountable for their violent war on drugs. In response, Duterte has barred Rappler reporters from the presidential palace, revoked Rappler’s license, and Ressa herself has been charged with a cyber libel case.
“I can’t be more thrilled to be working with FRONTLINE to launch this film into the world,” says filmmaker Diaz. “A THOUSAND CUTS comes at a time when journalists are being targeted for doing their jobs and independent media is at risk globally. It’s both a timely and timeless story of abuse of power and people who refuse to be cowed into silence. With its unparalleled work in investigative journalism and its fervor for rolling out timely cinematic documentaries, FRONTLINE is the perfect home for this film.”
“As an admirer of Ramona’s filmmaking — and a believer in Maria’s fight to be an independent journalist in the Philippines — I am so pleased to bring this important documentary to our PBS audience,” says FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath. “Journalism is essential to a strong democracy — a notion that’s at the heart of A THOUSAND CUTS. We stand with fellow journalists in pursuit of the truth and look forward to sharing this film with our viewers this fall.”
“We are thrilled to be releasing A THOUSAND CUTS, our third theatrical release with our partners at FRONTLINE,” says Amy Letourneau, Senior Vice President, PBS Distribution. “Ramona’s powerful portrait of Maria Ressa and the importance of a free press is both timely and necessary, and we are honored to bring this remarkable film to a wide audience.”
A THOUSAND CUTS made its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival in January and debuted internationally at Hot Docs. The film will also screen as a part of AFI DOCS and Full Frame this June.
PBS Distribution plans to release A THOUSAND CUTS theatrically in early August. Following its theatrical release, the film will make its American broadcast debut on FRONTLINE in November 2020.
The deal was negotiated by Amy Letourneau of PBS Distribution, Jim Bracciale of FRONTLINE PBS, and Josh Braun and Matt Burke of Submarine and Amanda Lebow of CAA on behalf of Concordia and the filmmakers.
Additionally, on the eve of her upcoming court verdict — and with her freedom on the line — Maria Ressa will lead a vital conversation online focusing on reporting, truth, and democracy this Saturday, June 13, 2020 beginning at 8AM ET. Moderated by Dr. Julie Posetti, Global Director of Research, International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), the panel will include a conversation with Ressa, filmmaker Diaz and FRONTLINE’s Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath. The virtual event will include clips from the film and is presented in partnership with the ICFJ. The full film will be available in a special online broadcast only for those in the Philippines for 24 hours leading up to the verdict. More information on A THOUSAND CUTS can be found at: athousandcuts.film.
PBS DISTRIBUTION, FRONTLINE PBS and CONCORDIA STUDIO in association with LUMINATE present a CINEDIAZ production in association with MOTTO PICTURES developed in association with TOPIC STUDIOS. A film by RAMONA S. DIAZ “A THOUSAND CUTS” featuring MARIA RESSA. Music by SAM LIPMAN cinematography by GABRIEL GOODENOUGH JEFFREY JOHNSON edited by LEAH MARINO Executive Producers DAVID J. CORNFIELD, LINDA A. CORNFIELD, LAURENE POWELL JOBS, DAVIS GUGGENHEIM, JONATHAN SILBERBERG, NICOLE STOTT and RANEY ARONSON-RATH. Produced by RAMONA S. DIAZ, LEAH MARINO, JULIE GOLDMAN, CHRISTOPHER CLEMENTS CAROLYN HEPBURN. Written and Directed by RAMONA S. DIAZ.
FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 93 Emmy Awards and 24 Peabody Awards. Visit pbs.org/frontline and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more. FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the Park Foundation, the John and Helen Glessner Family Trust and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.
CineDiaz, Inc. is an independent production company founded in 2000 by filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz to produce feature length documentary films.
ABOUT MOTTO PICTURES
Motto Pictures specializes in producing and executive producing documentary features and series. Motto has been honored with three Academy Award nominations and multiple Emmy Awards. Founded in 2009, Motto has produced a wide range of award winning films, working with a line-up of talented and acclaimed filmmakers, that have been featured at the most prestigious film festivals and distributed around the world. These films and series include: ONE CHILD NATION, RINGSIDE, OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE, MURDER IN THE BAYOU, BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN, THE RAFT, HUMANS OF NEW YORK: THE SERIES, ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL, THE FINAL YEAR, LIFE, ANIMATED, WEINER, BEST OF ENEMIES, ART AND CRAFT, THE KILL TEAM, 3 1/2 MINUTES, TEN BULLETS, 1971, SOLITARY, SOUTHWEST OF SALEM, BUCK, SERGIO, GOD LOVES UGANDA, AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY and BEWARE OF MR. BAKER among many others.
ABOUT LUMINATE MEDIA
Luminate is a global philanthropic organisation focused on empowering people and institutions to work together to build just and fair societies. We support innovative and courageous organisations and entrepreneurs around the world, and we advocate for the policies and actions that will drive change across four impact areas: Civic Empowerment, Data & Digital Rights, Financial Transparency, and Independent Media. We work with our investees and partners to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate in and to shape the issues affecting their societies, and to make those in positions of power more responsive and accountable. Luminate was established in 2018 by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, and his wife Pam. The organisation is part of The Omidyar Group.
ABOUT CONCORDIA STUDIO
Concordia is a talent-first studio, founded by Davis Guggenheim and Jonathan King, to produce and finance the most compelling storytelling with the most exciting creators. The studio’s slate includes the 2020 Sundance Official Selections in competition BOYS STATE (Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine) which won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Documentary and will be distributed this year through Apple TV+ and A24, TIME (Garrett Bradley) which won the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary and will be distributed by Amazon Studios, A THOUSAND CUTS (Ramona S. Diaz), and BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS (Bill Ross & Turner Ross) which screened at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival and will be released by Utopia. Other recent work includes INSIDE BILL’S BRAIN: DECODING BILL GATES (Davis Guggenheim) for Netflix, Sundance premiered WHERE’S MY ROY COHN? (Matt Tyrnauer) for Sony Pictures Classics, Sundance premiered BISBEE ’17 (Robert Greene), Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winning THE PRICE OF FREE (Derek Doneen) for YouTube Premium and FROM HERE TO HOME, a series of shorts with the New York Times Op-Docs including Laura Nix’s Oscar-nominated WALK RUN CHA-CHA.
Concordia Studio’s executive team includes Davis Guggenheim (Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Nonfiction), Jonathan King (Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Narrative), Jonathan Silberberg (President of Nonfiction), Nicole Stott (EVP of Nonfiction), Shannon Dill (EVP of Nonfiction Physical Production & Operations), and Rahdi Taylor (EVP of Nonfiction Artists in Residence).
ABOUT TOPIC STUDIOS
Topic Studios, the award-winning entertainment studio from First Look Media, develops, finances and produces content for all platforms including theatrical, streaming, television and podcasts. Working with creators at the forefront of culture, the studio explores a wide range of provocative and entertaining subject matter. From Academy Award® winning films (Spotlight); to documentaries (The Fight slated for release later this year with Magnolia); to television and streaming (the docu-series Love Fraud premiering on Showtime August 30 and Mucho Mucho Amor premiering on Netflix this summer); and podcasts (Missing Richard Simmons, Anthem and Somebody).Additional films from Topic Studios include Michael Angelo Covino’s The Climb, with Sony Pictures Classics and Euros Lyn’s Dream Horse, starring Toni Collette and Damian Lewis, with Bleecker Street. Other upcoming projects include the political drama Prisoner 760 directed by Kevin Macdonald and starring Jodie Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tahar Rahim and Shailene Woodley.
ABOUT PBS DISTRIBUTION
PBS Distribution is a leading distributor of public media content around the world, reaching audiences through multiple platforms and formats including direct-to-consumer subscription video-on-demand (DTC-SVOD), transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) licensing, and physical products on DVD and Blu-ray. In addition, the company operates three streaming channels – PBS MASTERPIECE, PBS KIDS, and PBS LIVING – all on Amazon Prime Video Channels, with PBS LIVING also available on the Apple TV App. Other divisions of the company include: theatrical releasing, educational, non-theatrical, inflight and international licensing businesses.
PBS Distribution offers consumers and educators the highest quality factual, scripted and children’s programming, including films from producer Ken Burns, hit dramas from MASTERPIECE, entertaining and educational children’s series and award-winning documentaries from NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and many independent producers. For over 20 years, the company has extended the reach of programming beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system stations and producers.
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