Netflix Buys Oscar-Nominated Documentary ‘To Kill a Tiger’

Netflix has acquired the Oscar-nominated documentary feature “To Kill a Tiger.”

The film, about a father’s pursuit of justice in rural India, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2022 and was awarded best documentary at the 2023 Palm Springs International Film Festival. “To Kill a Tiger” was, up until now, the only film this year to be nominated for the best feature doc Oscar without distribution.

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Directed and written by New Delhi-born director Nisha Pahuja (“The World Before Her”), the 127-minute film charts the emotional journey of Ranjit, a farmer in Jharkhand, who forces a social reckoning after his 13-year-old daughter is the victim of a gang rape.

Variety‘s film critic Siddhant Adlakha wrote in his “To Kill a Tiger” review that the docu “is a powerful and risky example of the vitality of modern nonfiction filmed in South Asia. It joins recent films like “All That Breathes,” “Against the Tide,” “While We Watched” and “A Night of Knowing Nothing,” which fill the narrative gaps too often left by mainstream Indian fiction, while adopting — and in many ways, re-invigorating — the visual language of traditional drama.”

The sale marks Netflix’s latest indie doc acquisition. After a two year slowdown, Netflix actively began buying independently made docus that don’t focus on crime or celebrity during the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. In Park City the streamer snapped up “Skywalker’s,” a non-fiction film about a couple Angela Nikolau and Ivan Beerkus who are drawn together by their love for climbing tall buildings. Netflix also bought “Ibelin,” a documentary about a Norwegian gamer named Mats Steen, who died of a degenerative muscle disease at the age of 25 and “Daughters,” about a program that allows young girls to participate in a special dance with their incarcerated fathers.

For the last six months, “To Kill a Tiger” executive producers Mindy Kaling and Dev Patel have been actively promoting the film. This month, Priyanka Chopra Jonas also joined the project as an executive producer.

Pahuja, who spent eight years making “To Kill a Tiger,” told Variety in January that the decision to attach celebrities to the project was “deliberate.”

I felt very much that this was a film that could have an impact and could create tangible, measurable change in the world in terms of attitude and also legal repercussions,” says Pahuja. “But I also knew that it was a difficult subject, and it was subtitled, so I thought if I do not get people to come on board to help me amplify this, it’s not going to do the work that it can do. It’s not going to get out in the way that it needs to get out. So it was a really deliberate, delicate decision on my part to bring on support.”

“To Kill a Tiger” was co-produced by Notice Pictures and the National Film Board of Canada. Along with Patel and Kaling, the documentary’s executive producers were AC Films Inc’s Andy Cohen, NFB’s Anita Lee, Atul Gawande, Andrew Dragoumis, Minor Realm’s Samarth Sahni, Deepa Mehta and ShivHans Pictures’ Shivani Rawat.

Executive producers include Chopra Jonas, Patel, Kaling, Rupi Kaur, Andy Cohen, Anita Lee, Atul Gawande, Andrew Dragoumis, Shivani Rawat, Mona Sinha (Equality Now), Mala Gaonkar (Surgo Foundation), Regina Scully, Anita Bhatia, Niraj Bhatia and Deepa Mehta.

Patel’s company Minor Realm was founded in 2021 with a mission to “nurture and develop voices and talent that too often are unrecognized in the creative landscape of commercial storytelling.”

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