Netflix has acquired the worldwide rights to the documentary “Giving Voice” which won the 2020 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award. The documentary follows six school students pursuing careers in the performance arts as they go through the August Wilson Monologue Competition, an event which highlights the work of one of America’s preeminent playwrights. The students who commit to the demanding and rewarding competition process are encouraged to explore themselves and the world around them through the monologues from Wilson’s century cycle of ten plays focused on the Black experience in America. The winners get the chance to perform at the August Wilson Theater on Broadway.
August Wilson, Pulitzer Prize–winning writer of Fences, The Piano Lesson, and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, is one of America’s preeminent playwrights, chronicling the African American experience with 10 plays, each set in a different decade of the twentieth century. Now, every year, thousands of high school students from across the country gather in New York City to perform one of his monologues in a riveting, high-stakes competition on Broadway. Giving Voice closely follows the lives of six of these vibrant students as they meticulously develop their individual performances with the hopes of embodying Wilson’s legacy.
Directors James D. Stern and Fernando Villena take us on an emotional journey—equal parts moving and gripping—with these young men and women, utilizing the competition as a compelling framework for young people across the country to deeply connect with Wilson’s ideas. A singular talent and artist, Wilson provides a lens for a new generation to understand their surroundings, inspiring them to find their own voice and persevere in their increasingly complicated world.