Interest in the JonBenet Ramsey case was resurrected with the 20th anniversary of the 6-year-old's December 1996 death, and now Netflix is joining the revival. Per Variety, the company has acquired the rights to Casting JonBenet, a documentary by Kitty Green set to debut at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah later this month. After its premiere in Park City, the film—which Netflix says will be its first nonfiction flick to make a Sundance showing—will air on Netflix and in some theaters nationwide in the spring. The filmmakers plumbed the community of Boulder, Colo., where the Ramsey family lived when JonBenet was killed, documenting locals looking back on the unsolved crime and analyzing its effect on families there. "Netflix is the ideal home for showcasing Kitty’s sharply rendered vision of a mythic American tragedy to a global audience," a Netflix programming exec says.
Rolling Stone and the Hollywood Reporter note the film joins a glut of recent JonBenet coverage, including Lifetime's Who Killed JonBenet?, A&E's The Killing of JonBenet: The Truth Uncovered, and CBS' The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey, which spurred a lawsuit from JonBenet's brother, Burke (the special theorized Burke may have accidentally killed her). Wondering if Netflix's cinematic coup is an attempt to cash in on the obsession with true-crime hits like the Serial podcast and Netflix's own Making a Murderer? Megan Reynolds doesn't think so. "The Ramsey case has consumed the national imagination for the twenty years it's gone unsolved," she writes for Jezebel. "It feels crass to say that a new take on the case is refreshing, but examining the impact of the case through this lens is a perspective that we have yet to see." (New DNA tests are in the works in JonBenet's case.)