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Barack and Michelle Obama Make Surprise Appearance at Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival for Netflix Doc ‘Descendant’

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variety.com

MVAAFF) kicked off Friday with great pomp and circumstance — and a few bars of “Hail to the Chief” — as Barack and Michelle Obama made a special appearance for the opening night screening of Netflix documentary “Descendant.”When Netflix acquired worldwide rights to the Sundance award-winning documentary in January, the Obamas’ production company Higher Ground signed on to present the feature alongside the streamer and Participant.

The documentary, which earned the U.S. special jury award for creative vision at Sundance, is set to launch on the streamer later this year.Directed by Margaret Brown (“The Order of Myths,” “Be Here to Love Me: Townes Van Zandt,” “The Great Invisible”), the documentary follows members of Africatown, a small community in Alabama, as they share their personal stories and community history as descendants of the Clotilda, the last known ship carrying enslaved Africans to the United States.

The ship arrived in America 40 years after African slave trading became a capital offense. It was promptly burned and its existence denied, but “after a century shrouded in secrecy and speculation, descendants of the Clotilda’s survivors are reclaiming their story,” according to the film’s logline.

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