One of at least 2 different films on the self-described “street queen” that are on the horizon, director David France’s “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City last month.
The legendary “drag queen,” Stonewall veteran, and co-founder of the trans-rights movement, was found dead in the Hudson River 25 years ago, and her best friend and fellow activist Sylvia Rivera died a few years later, the victim of a broken heart. Now, as decades-old interviews and never-before-seen video footage have surfaced, contemporary trans activists dig through the clues in search of justice for Marsha and Sylvia, and along the way they discover a deeper connection to the movement’s first leaders.
“The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” features never-before-seen footage and rediscovered interviews, as Academy Award nominee David France (“How to Survive a Plague”) follows a new investigation into the mysterious death of Johnson, one of the courageous black transgender activists who spearheaded the modern gay civil rights movement.
Netflix has announced its acquisition of worldwide rights to “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson.” The film is presented by Public Square Films; Joy A. Tomchin and Sara Ramirez (“Grey’s Anatomy”) served as executive producers; L.A. Teodosio produced. The film will launch globally on Netflix later this year.
“Almost single-handedly, Marsha P. Johnson and her best friend Sylvia Rivera touched off a revolution in the way we talk about gender today,” said David France. “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.”
“We are honored to bring much deserved recognition to the dynamic life of Marsha P Johnson,” said Netflix VP of Original Documentary Programming Lisa Nishimura. “Her effervescent spirit and pioneering leadership of the LGBT movement is illuminated with an eloquent force by director David France and is a true testament to the power of documentary films.”
Aramide reviewed the film when it premiered at Tribeca last month. Read her thoughts here.
A first clip from the documentary is embedded below: