The families of historical figures including Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King Jr. are taking part in a new docuseries from “Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy” outfit Cineflix Productions.
Titled “The Descendants,” the new series has exclusive access to the families of Gandhi, Roosevelt, Churchill and King, who will share private collections of archival materials and intimate, untold stories.
The four-part premium documentary anthology will explore what it’s like “to honor and uphold” the legacies of global icons through the perspectives of their direct descendants.
Executive producers include J.C. Mills for Cineflix Productions as well as Valerie LoCascio and Anne Kenny. Gandhi also will serve as an executive producer.
Each episode will be guided by a relative of the featured icon:
• Gandhi: Great-granddaughter Amrita Gandhi, author and TV host, will introduce viewers to Gandhi’s family members, including grandsons Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Rajmohan Gandhi and modern days descendants charting new paths, such as Medha Gandhi.
• Eleanor Roosevelt: Great-granddaughter Tracy Roosevelt will examine how the International Declaration of Human Rights drafted by Eleanor Roosevelt influenced her own path in life as an attorney specializing in international conflict resolution.
• Churchill: The Churchill family will retrace the British prime minister’s steps through Blenheim Palace, Chartwell, Churchill War Rooms, and the Houses of Parliament while also addressing Churchill’s influence on recent recipients of The International Churchill Society’s Sir Winston S. Churchill Leadership Award.
• King: Nephew Isaac Newton Farris Jr., senior fellow of the MLK Center for Nonviolent Social Change, will interview immediate King family members, review recently restored archival footage and photography, and present current activities of the Center that carry on the legacy of conflict resolution.
J.C. Mills, president and head of content at Cineflix Productions, said: “It is our goal to tell timely stories, and ‘The Descendants’ hits every note. We live in a world facing unprecedented challenges with a lack of global leadership. Gandhi, Roosevelt, Churchill, and King were legends who left an indelible impression, and we hope our docuseries will remind audiences of their legacies and inspire viewers to stand up for what they believe in.”
Executive producers LoCascio and Kenny added: “These are personal stories that can only be told by family members who grew up contending with a figure who was larger than life. What was that like for them? Did they continue to promote their ancestors’ legacies throughout their lives and through their work, or did they choose obscurity? It seems almost impossible to go through even one day without encountering some word or image from either Gandhi, Roosevelt, Churchill, or King.”
Gandhi added: “Being related to a world icon can feel remarkably strange. My heart and mind are tethered to my great-grandfather’s legacy, and although we share the same DNA, my daily life is remarkably different. But I suppose that’s the magic of it all. Throughout this journey, I have realized there are so many precious, untold stories that I simply must share with the world.”
Headed by Mills, Cineflix Productions has been making inroads into the premium non-fiction arena. The company was at the Venice Film Festival with the documentary “Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy,” which told the story of John Schlesinger’s 1969 movie “Midnight Cowboy.” With production and development hubs in Toronto and New York, Cineflix Productions is also responsible for unscripted shows such as “Property Brothers,” “American Pickers” and “Air Disasters.”