We have screen treatments of Frank Serpico, Mark Felt, and Karen Silkwood, and in early 2018 we could have another (anti)hero on the silver screen. Considering that British helmer Tim Travers Hawkins is already thinking in a much larger scope in terms of how to gain access to the inaccessible, this boundary-pushing project might one day be compared to the creative filmmaking of host arrested Jafar Panahi. If XY Chelsea were to indeed show up in Park City it would acknowledge and be coincidentally timed with the one year anniversary of when Chelsea Manning was pardoned by Obama. Executive produced by the great Laura Poitras and the Field of Vision folks, footage was already presented at Cannes this past May (Hawkins managed to get the exclusive rights to Manning’s story and had unprecedented access to her team for two years) and therefore we think a Comp screening in one of the Docu sections is a strong possibility. Worth mentioning is the support the project has received from the likes of the Faliro House, Sharon Chang and Blaine Vess and was developed by the BFI, with additional finance from the Sundance Documentary Fund and Catapult Film Fund.
Gist: In 2010, Chelsea Manning was arrested and ultimately sentenced to serve 35 years at an all-men’s, maximum-security, military prison for leaking documents to WikiLeaks revealing information about the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was by far the longest sentence given to any whistleblower in U.S. history. Since 2014, Hawkins has followed Chelsea Manning’s legal team as they fought for Chelsea’s release from prison, her medical treatment for gender dysphoria and for the military to recognize her as a trans woman. Following two suicide attempts in 2016, Chelsea and her team appealed to President Obama for a commutation of her sentence — which he granted on January 17.
Production Co./Producers: Pulse Films’ Thomas Benski and Julia Nottingham (Trophy).
Prediction: World Docu Comp.
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. TBD (domestic). Submarine (international)