Bryan Fogel on Why Netflix and Streamers Were Scared of Releasing ‘The Dissident’

Bryan Fogel’s “The Dissident” was too hot to handle.The documentary about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist and political activist who was allegedly killed in 2018 on the orders of the Saudi Royal Family, was one of the hottest films at last year’s Sundance.

It had glowing reviews, a ripped from the headlines subject, and a big-name director in Fogel, fresh off the Oscar-winning “Icarus,” a penetrating look at Russian doping that got the country banned from the Olympics.And yet, Netflix, which had previously released “Icarus,” and other streaming services such as Apple and Amazon steered clear of “The Dissident.” Without any interested buyers, the film languished until last fall.

That’s when Briarcliff Entertainment, an obscure distributor run by former Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg, announced it would release the movie on-demand.Fogel thinks the subject matter was too explosive for bigger companies, which have

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