The Peabody Award-winning distribution arm of Ava DuVernay’s narrative change collective has nabbed the U.S., Canadian, U.K., Australian and New Zealand rights to the film, which had its world premiere at this year’s SXSW Festival. The doc’s release will coincide with Mexican Independence Day and Hispanic Heritage Month, with a debut set for Sept. 16 on Netflix and select theatrical screens.
Tracing his decades back and forth on buses across the U.S.-Mexico border to visit his family, the documentary serves as a poetic love letter from Sosa to her grandfather Moreno. It’s also a thought-provoking meditation on aging with dignity, the state of immigration in the U.S., the definitions of home and legacy, and the figurative and literal lengths one will go for love and family.
“Iliana Sosa’s quietly powerful documentary What We Leave Behind is an ode to the life and legacy of her hard-working grandfather and of people like him who determine happiness by love of family and community, not dollars and cents,” Tilane Jones, president of Array, said. “Array Releasing is thrilled to amplify this moving story that will resonate with film lovers around the world.”
The film took home two SXSW jury awards, the Louis Black Lone Star Award and the Fandor New Voices Award, at this year’s festival. It has previously screened at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, Guanajuato International Film Festival and the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.
Gordon Bobb of Del Shaw negotiated the acquisition on behalf of ARRAY, while Shannon Hensley of Hensley Law Office represented What We Leave Behind.
Sosa is also a producer on the doc along with Emma D. Miller and co-producer Isidore Bethel.
Other recent Array Releasing documentary titles include Love and Fury from Reservation Dogs co-creator Sterlin Harjo. Feature films include Donkeyhead, a family comedy-drama from Agam Darshi in her directorial debut; Sujata Day’s directorial debut Definition Please, about a former Scripps Spelling Bee champ; and the feature directorial debut of Thyrone Tommy, indie Jazz-world drama Learn to Swim.
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