San Francisco (California), USA – On International Refugee Day, June 20, Red Envelope Entertainment, the original content division of Netflix, announced their acquisition of the home video rights to Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, the inspiring and acclaimed documentary about a group of simple, displaced musicians from war-torn West Africa who become unwitting heroes and sources of light and hope for their suffering countrymen.
In the spirit of Red Envelope Entertainment’s continuing commitment to the project, a portion of the film’s DVD sales — handled through their partner on the film, New Video’s Docurama Films label — will go directly to the ninemillion.org campaign — so named for the number of refugee children in the world today.
Initiated by The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), ninemillion.org was conceived specifically to raise awareness and funds directly for education and youth programs for refugee children worldwide, many of whom spend years of their young lives away from home with little or no hope of returning.The film and its message of strength in the face of one of the enduring Sierra Leone refugee crisis created the perfect opportunity for the UNHCR to become involved and support the project with outreach.
"Few stories are as uniquely inspiring as this one," said Liesl Copland, Head of Acquisitions for Red Envelope Entertainment. "We are more than excited about adding this film to our label: we are proud and happy to be associated with ninemillion.org."
For every copy of the film purchased from the August 14 street-date, Red Envelope will donate $1 to benefit the campaign. Netflix subscribers can add the film to their queue immediately in advance of its release and see the film beginning July 17 via the service both on DVD and their new Watch Now platform.
Agonized by a brutal, decade-long civil war — among the bloodiest in a continent no stranger to bloody conflict — the people of Sierra Leone had little or no reason to dance until the ragtag band began impromptu concerts along the refugee border towns that housed them.
Serving as a unique tribute to the power of music and the triumphant celebration of the human spirit, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars has won praise from fans and critics alike and has been a favorite of the film festival circuit, winning, among others notable awards, the Grand Jury Prize at AFI Film Fest in Los Angeles.
"We’re thrilled at finding a home for the film with Red Envelope," said Zach Niles, the film’s co-director and co-producer. "It made perfect sense."
Banker White, co-director and co-producer, added, "The offer to partner and donate to ninemillion.org just cemented our good feeling about this link-up."
Docurama Films and ninemillion.org are part of an eventful summer in the United States for both film and band, who are about to embark on a national tour that includes performances at the 75th Anniversary of Save The Children in New York and at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on June 24. The film will also be broadcast June 26 as part of PBS’s POV.
The band raised the spirits of their fellow refugees after forming in a refugee camp during Sierra Leone’s civil war but, even as they begin new lives back in their homeland, they continue to help those still in need. Their upcoming tour is a shining example of the group giving back – and while they have little more to give than their music, they are sharing it wherever they feel it can make an impact.
Their just released collaboration with Aerosmith on John Lennon’s "Give Peace A Chance" is featured on the all star Instant Karma CD with proceeds to benefit Amnesty’s Darfur campaign.