You might think that a young filmmaker would be crazy to turn down a “mid-six-figure” Netflix offer to purchase his film. But Craig Atkinson, the director behind Do Not Resist, an acclaimed recently-released documentary about police militarization, did just that.
According to an article in Business Insider, Netflix offered Atkinson an early buy-out for the film, but the deal was a devil’s bargain. He had to give up creative control in exchange for cash. What stopped Atkinson was his own ethics: he had promised police offers featured in the film that the final product would be a fair representation and not a slam-job. To his great credit, he didn’t betray that trust.
“We dodged a bullet not taking the deal [with Netflix],” Atkinson said. “They would have destroyed three years of work.”
In the end, the gamble paid off. The film has already won three “Best Documentary” awards, including the coveted Tribeca Film Festival prize. While Netflix failed to carry this film, Amazon now has it on instant streaming.