Netflix is making a push into documentaries, with plans to premiere four in the next few months.
Netflix has always made nonfiction films available to subscribers – but until recently, the site featured only films that had been made for theatrical release or television networks. Now Netflix wants filmmakers to make documentaries specifically for Netflix – or to use Netflix to offer their work’s first wide distribution.
Battered Bastards of Baseball, about a defunct minor league team, will premiere on Netflix July 11. Mission Blue, about marine biologist Sylvia Earle, is set for Aug. 15.
Later this year, the service will premiere E-Team, a film about human rights workers from the makers of the Oscar-winning documentary Born Into Brothels, and Print the Legend, about 3-D printing.
Lisa Nishimura, head of Netflix’s documentary unit, said the service is intentionally trying to present films on a wide variety of topics.
Its selling point to filmmakers is that Netflix will make documentaries available on the service for a long period of time. TV networks and theatrical releases can offer a bigger burst of attention – but with those methods, films are generally only available for a short period.