Netflix may have closed Red Envelope Entertainment, its film financing and acquisition arm, in 2008, but the company still had its eye on the indie film market. The online film rental service recently acquired the original documentary The Square, a feature that earned plenty of acclaim at Sundance and TIFF. But before that, they picked up the sports documentary The Short Game, another award-winning festival favorite that had plenty of big names behind it (Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel both served as executive producers, and Mark Mothersbaugh composed the music). While Short Game doesn’t carry the powerful political resonance of The Square (see our review for more perspective), a trailer just arrived to show why the film’s pint-sized subjects still fascinate.

Directed by Josh Greenbaum, The Short Game follows a group of talented child athletes as they train for the World Championships of Junior Golf. The footage reminds me of Spellbound, in which eight young teens competed at the 1999 National Spelling Bee – much like in Short Game, the featured kids, as disciplined as they may be, are not immune from the occasional tantrum or silly statement. The golf doc charmed viewers at SXSW, where it won the Audience Award, and had a short theatrical run in September, but it should find more access to the general public through Netflix. See the trailer, courtesy of The Movie Box, and synopsis below:


THE SHORT GAME follows the lives of eight of the best 7-year-old golfers in the world as they train for and compete in the World Championships of Junior Golf. The annual tournament held at golfing mecca Pinehurst, North Carolina, brings in 1500 young golfers from 54 different countries and determines who will be crowned golfs next phenom. In its course, the eight stories entwine to form a fascinating and often funny portrait of a group of very young athletes and their families, in which the narrow-focused, peculiar and highly competitive junior golf subculture becomes both a window into contemporary global society and an inspiring reflection of the human condition.

The Short Game hits Netflix on December 12th.

What do you think of the trailer? Does the acquisition of Short Game change your view of Netflix?

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