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Utopia Acquires the Rights to Trevor Paglen Documentary UNSEEN SKIES

Unseen Skies follows Trevor Paglen, one of the 21st century’s most visionary artists, during the final stretch of his decade-long journey to put a work of art into space.

Utopia Acquires the Rights to Trevor Paglen Documentary  UNSEEN SKIES

Utopia announced TODAY that it has acquired US distribution rights to Unseen Skies, featuring contemporary artist Trevor Paglen, whose work tackles mass surveillance and data collection. Presented by Participant and Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW, the documentary is an In Films production, and is currently slated for release later this year.

Unseen Skies follows Trevor Paglen, one of the 21st century's most visionary artists, during the final stretch of his decade-long journey to put a work of art into space. Director, writer and producer Yaara Bou Melhem, two-time UN Peace Award-winning filmmaker and investigative journalist, goes behind the lens on Paglen's most audacious project: launching a satellite into orbit.

"Bou Melhem and Paglen have created an extraordinary look at AI's repercussions not only on larger societal entities, but also on tangible technologies in our daily human consumption," said Utopia's Head of Content Danielle DiGiacomo. "Utopia is honored to collaborate with Participant on what we hope is the first of many remarkable films that illuminate the complexities of our time."

"Trevor's work dispels myths about A.I., including that it is neutral and objective," says Bou Melhem. "We are excited to work with Utopia to share this film with audiences, and hope they come away from the film with the tools to recognize how technologies are opaquely making decisions about our lives. It's only when we can peer inside THE BLACK BOX and see these largely unseen structures that we can start to do something about them."

"Unseen Skies is a look into the mind of a groundbreaking artist, who sees hidden infrastructure that can have a profound effect on the lives of average citizens," said Participant CEO David Linde. "We are excited to work with Utopia to share Trevor's forward-looking vision with the world."

Having achieved international notoriety for his conceptual art, which fuses photography and large-scale events, Paglen's work reveals the largely unseen monolithic power structures of technology and surveillance that shape, impact and increasingly define the framework of our lives. A MacArthur Genius award winner and author, Paglen is known for his photography documenting the BLACK OPS sites of government surveillance and data collection, as well as installations such as Sight Machine, which featured live musical performances by the Kronos Quartet, and for his contribution of cinematography to Participant's Academy Award®-winning film, CITIZENFOUR.

Bou Melhem deftly brings to light the global impact of technology in the 21st century and its adverse impact on our anonymity and privacy through Paglen's story as a geographer and a former punk rock musician working on an unprecedented creative undertaking to deploy The Orbital Reflector into space. Unseen Skies is a glimpse into a reality that exists IN PLAIN SIGHT but goes largely unnoticed.

Participant's Rob Williams and Utopia's Danielle DiGiacomo and Candace Tan negotiated the deal.

About Utopia

Co-founded by filmmaker Robert Schwartzman in 2018, Utopia is a film distribution and sales company that specializes in bold and daring independent cinema. With a hands-on approach to creative risk-taking, Utopia builds tailor-made releases that champion their audience and the voices behind them. Recent Utopia titles include the TIFF breakout comedy SHIVA BABY by Emma Seligman; The Ross Brothers' Sundance 2020 selection BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS; Academy Award winner Errol Morris' AMERICAN DHARMA; Annabelle Attanasio's Cannes breakout MICKEY AND THE BEAR, starring Camila Morrone; and the 4K restoration of Hal Needham's 1986 cult-classic, RAD. Upcoming releases include Gaspar Noe's sixth feature and Cannes 2021 selection VORTEX, Sundance and New Directors/New Films 2021 selections EL PLANETA and WE'RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD'S FAIR; Dasha Nekrasova's Berlinale premiere THE SCARY OF SIXTY-FIRST in partnership with Shudder, and the Dash Snow documentary MOMENTS LIKE THIS NEVER LAST from Cheryl Dunn and Vice Studios.

Utopia has since launched Utopia Originals, a division dedicated to the development, packaging, and sales of original film and television content. Its most recently announced project is in partnership with Norman Reedus' bigbaldhead Productions And Shout! Studios for a 'Sorority House Massacre' TV Series, based off of the cult classic of the same name.



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