Netflix is quickly following through on its promise to expand into original documentaries, announcing today that its very first one will premiere online just over a month from now on Thursday, December 12th. The documentary is called The Short Game and follows a number of seven-year-old golfers as they compete in the World Championships of Junior Golf. While that may not be the type of catchy, high-concept story that's been bringing Netflix's original media so much attention lately, the streaming service appears to be interested in bringing together quality documentaries regardless of their focus.
The documentary was an SXSW 2013 winner
The Short Game's premiere will be followed by The Square, a Netflix original documentary that'll start streaming early next year. Though The Short Game hasn't attracted quite as much acclaim as The Square, it did win an audience award at this year's SXSW and has also completed an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run, according to Indiewire.
Though Netflix is billing both of these titles as original documentaries, they're actually acquisitions of films that had been shopped around while screening at festivals. That isn't different from the process most smaller films go through, but it does mean that Netflix wasn't involved through much of The Short Game's production. This isn't necessarily Netflix's first documentary either — it previously picked up several other documentaries under its shuttered Red Envelope Entertainment production and distribution arm. Red Envelope put together a small and varied number of pictures, but now Netflix seems to be interested in only collecting films that might achieve wide acclaim, not just ones that might be good for streaming.