Kino Lorber Acquires North American Rights to Nina Menkes’s Eye-Opening Feminist Documentary 'Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power'

By Kino Lorber | May 19, 2022
BRAINWASHED: Sex-Camera-Power

Kanopy to Partner for National Theatrical Release this Fall
Followed by Exclusive Digital Educational Launch

"Nina Menkes' eye-opening documentary will forever change how you look at films."
Kate Erbland, INDIEWIRE

"Accessible, engrossing, urgent, and horrifying... It should be shown at film festivals, in classrooms, in boardrooms; It should be projected onto a building and played on a loop in Studio City."

"Menkes is a real no-bullshit breath of fresh air. With a torch. And with any luck, she's heading your way to set fire to something, soon."

New York, NY – May 19, 2022 – Kino Lorber announced that it has acquired North American distribution rights to Nina Menkes' explosive documentary BRAINWASHED: Sex-Camera-Power, teaming with Kanopy, the premium library streaming platform for films that matter, for the film's release. An analytical and eye-opening interrogation of the male gaze in cinema, BRAINWASHED will be released theatrically this fall followed by educational streaming exclusively on Kanopy.

Based on Nina Menkes' acclaimed cinematic presentation Sex and Power: The Hidden Language of Cinema, BRAINWASHED made its World Premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and has since screened at festivals worldwide, including the Berlinale and CPH:DOX. The film is directed and produced by Menkes, co-produced by Maria Giese, Guo Guo, Summer Xinlei Yang, and Sandra de Castro Buffington, and executive produced by Tim Disney, Susan Disney Lord, and Abigail Disney.

BRAINWASHED: Sex-Camera-Power exposes how shot design (camera movement, framing, lighting, and even sound) has functioned to perpetuate the sexist binary throughout cinematic history, and its serious implications for our real lives. Director Nina Menkes builds on the vital work of Laura Mulvey and other essential feminist writers including Judith Butler, bell hooks, and Angela Carter, bringing her own perspective as a working director and cinematographer to illustrate the deeply ingrained biases at play and highlight how the visual grammar of cinema has created conditions that contribute to sexual harassment, assault, and employment discrimination against women in the film industry and beyond. Using almost 200 film clips by A-list directors from 1896 through the present and featuring interviews with scholars and film industry luminaries including Julie Dash, Laura Mulvey, Amy Ziering, Eliza Hittman, and Joey Soloway, among others, BRAINWASHED is a visual journey through cinema's sexist bloodstream that might forever change the way we see and make movies.

"Nina Menkes' BRAINWASHED pulls the curtain back on the many ways male-dominated image making has been internalized by men and women alike, and the overwhelming ripple effect it has had on our culture," said Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell. "We are thrilled to have the privilege of bringing Nina's film to audiences in the US and Canada, and expect the film to spark impassioned debates among everyone who sees it."

The deal for the film was negotiated by Kino Lorber Senior Vice President Wendy Lidell and UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers. World sales company Cinephil will be representing international sales for the film at the Cannes Film Market, with deals already secured in numerous territories including the BFI for UK/Ireland, Non Stop Entertainment for the Nordics and the Baltics, New Horizons for Poland, Avalon for Spain, I Wonder for Italy, and YesDocu for Israel.

"I'm more than thrilled that the very excellent art film distributor Kino Lorber is handling the release of BRAINWASHED in North America. With #malegaze on TikTok hitting 290 million views and climbing, our subject matter is a hot, essential topic for right now— and Kino will get the film to a very wide audience," said director Nina Menkes.

"Making BRAINWASHED widely available, including for academic use, ensures a new generation of filmmakers, researchers and cinema enthusiasts will have access to a powerful tool to help re-contextualize the entire history of the art form," added Jason Tyrrell, General Manager of Kanopy. "Universities and library communities that view Nina Menkes's film will be foundational in creating and supporting an industry that can begin to acknowledge and think critically about how the male gaze has impacted both the creation of art and its imprint on public life. I have no doubt BRAINWASHED will take a prominent place alongside other powerful films that matter on Kanopy."

About Nina Menkes
Considered a cinematic feminist pioneer and one of America's foremost independent filmmakers, Nina Menkes has shown widely in major international film festivals including multiple premieres at Sundance, the Berlinale, Cannes (ACID), Rotterdam, Locarno, Toronto, La Cinematheque Francaise, British Film Institute, Whitney Museum of American Art, MOMA in New York, MOCA and LACMA in LA.

Menkes's honors include a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, an AFI Independent Filmmaker Award, a Creative Capital Award and an International Critics Award (FIPRESCI Prize) for the feature documentary Massaker which premiered at the Berlinale in 2005. In 2011, her feature film The Bloody Child (1996) was named one of the most important films of the past 50 years by the Viennale International Film Festival, Austria.

Two of Menkes's early feature films, Queen of Diamonds and The Bloody Child, both starring Tinka Menkes, have been selected for restoration by the Academy Film Archive and Scorsese's Film Foundation, with funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Menkes holds an MFA in Film Production from UCLA (1989), is a two-time Fulbright Fellow to the Middle East and is a member of the film faculty at California Institute of the Arts.

About Kanopy
Kanopy partners with libraries and filmmakers around the globe to give patrons, students, and faculty free access to over 30,000 high-quality films, documentaries, and series that stimulate imagination, promote learning, and spark meaningful conversations. Films on Kanopy—including from leading studios and distributors like MGM, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, Paramount, A24, IFC Films, Neon, Magnolia, and Kino Lorber—represent some of the finest examples of cinema available to the library market. The Kanopy app is available on iOS and Android and all major streaming devices, including Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung Smart TV. In 2021, OverDrive Inc. acquired Kanopy to bring together the single most extensive catalog of premium content and the best-in-class user experience for video, books, audiobooks, magazines, and additional streaming media. For more information, please visit