Netflix announces documentaries, beginning with Sundance hit, 'Battered Bastards of Baseball'

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Netflix is making a push into documentaries, with plans to premiere four in the next few months.

Netflix has always made nonfiction films available to subscribers — but until recently, the site featured only films that had been made for theatrical release or television networks. Now Netflix wants filmmakers to make documentaries specifically for Netflix – or to use Netflix to offer their work’s first wide distribution.

Battered Bastards of Baseball, about a defunct minor league team, will premiere on Netflix July 11. Mission Blue, about marine biologist Sylvia Earle, is set for Aug. 15.

Later this year, the service will premiere E-Team, a film about human rights workers from the makers of the Oscar-winning documentary Born Into Brothels, and Print the Legend, about 3-D printing.

Lisa Nishimura, head of Netflix’s documentary unit, said the service is intentionally trying to present films on a wide variety of topics.

Its selling point to filmmakers is that Netflix will make documentaries available on the service for a long period of time. TV networks and theatrical releases can offer a bigger burst of attention — but with those methods, films are generally only available for a short period.

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