In the wake of the recently released Lifetime docu-series Surviving R. Kelly, Sundance has now announced a new entry in its lineup, Leaving Neverland.
The film will examine the accusations of sexual abuse the late American pop artiste, Michael Jackson, faced during his later years.
The Jackson estate has already denounced the project as an “outrageous and pathetic” attempt to exploit his name.
“This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson,” the singer’s estate said in a statement carried by US media.
It added that the “so-called” documentary was “just another rehash of dated a discredited allegations. It’s baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project.”
But in light of the real-world ramifications of Surviving R. Kelly, it’s remains to be seen the effects of this documentary on its subject’s legacy.
Leaving Neverland, which is to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival later this month, recounts the story of two men who are now in their 30s who are alleging that they sexually abused by Michael Jackson when they were seven and 10 years old.
A synopsis reads of the documentary reads: “At the height of his stardom, Michael Jackson began long-running relationships with two boys, aged seven and 10, and their families. Now in their 30s, they tell the story of how they were sexually abused by Jackson, and how they came to terms with it years later.”
Leaving Neverland borrows its name from Neverland Ranch, the California estate where Jackson lived from 1988 to 2003.
During Jackson’s last year at the ranch, a 13-year-old boy accused him of molestation, which led to a police raid of the ranch.
Jackson was acquitted on all counts against him after a trial in 2005.