Netflix, Rory Kennedy & Imagine Strap In For Documentary Sequel On Turbulent Boeing

EXCLUSIVE: Already under probation with the Department of Justice, scandal riddled and safety plagued Boeing is about to be grounded by one of America’s leading documentarians, again.

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing director Rory Kennedy has re-teamed with Imagine Documentaries with Netflix back on board for a follow-up on the troubled aerospace company whose’ planes seem to have their doors flying off in the sky.

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Rory Kennedy
Rory Kennedy

“I’ve never made two films about the same subject,” the Oscar-nominated Kennedy told Deadline of the yet untitled docu about Boeing’s freefall in recent years. “Due to my ongoing concerns that Boeing did not learn any lesson from the tragic 737 Max crashes that killed 346 people, and the shock at John Barnett’s suicide, I felt compelled to revisit the subject.”

Downfall debuted at the virtual Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2022, and on launched Netflix on February 18 of that year to strong viewership. The Mark Bailey & Keven McAlester written film examined the fatal failures and corporate cost cutting at Boeing that led to two of the company’s 737 MAX planes crashing less than six months apart in 2019 in Indonesia and Ethiopia and the tragic loss of over 340 lives.

Currently working on a film about Alec Baldwin and the fatal 2021 shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins,, Kennedy’s Downfall also was critical of the $2.5 billion settlement Boeing reached in 2021 to stem DOJ probes. With accidents in the air, whistleblower revelations and deaths over the past year, more multi-million-dollar fines, and now the looming departure of shamed CEO Dave Calhoun, in just the last week Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to a criminal fraud charge under a new DOJ deal.

Family members of people killed in crashes of Boeing 737 Max aircraft hold up photos of their loved ones
Family members of people killed in crashes of Boeing 737 Max aircraft hold up photos of their loved ones

Directly related to the 2018 and 2019 deaths from the two 737 Max crashes, the proposed deal, which has to be approved by a Texas judge, will see Boeing paying out another $243.6 million fine for shirking the previous 2021 agreement. Boeing “breached its obligations” under the previous agreement the DOJ said back in May “by failing to design, implement, and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of the U.S. fraud laws.”

Which is part, why now the company has to fork over “at least $455 million in its compliance and safety programs,” under the new deal, filed on July 7 in federal court in the Lone Star state. A deal, it should be noted, that a number of families of the victims of 737 crashes have publicly said they are opposed to for being to easy on the well-connected and politically influential Boeing.

All of which is material Kennedy’s new docu will undoubtedly explore.

“We are thrilled to partner once again with Rory Kennedy, Mark Bailey and Netflix to continue the important work that began on our first film Downfall: The Case Against Boeing, says Sara Bernstein, President of Imagine Documentaries about the upcoming film.

When we saw the overwhelming response from audiences, we knew that the terrifying news we continue to hear about was worth exploring further to help bring to light the stories of those who continue to be silenced. And there’s no one better to tell those stories than our fearless director, Rory Kennedy,” Bernstein added.

Produced by Kennedy’s Moxie Films and Imagine Documentaries, the extremely timely follow-up will be produced by the Ghosts of Abu Ghraib director, Bailey (who is penning the docu), Viva Van Loock, Bernstein and Justin Wilkes. Having edited Downfall, Don Kleszy is back in the suite to edit the new Boeing documentary too.

No release date has been announced for the Downfall sequel.

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