Sundog Pictures & Director Stephanie Soechtig Team for Docuseries


Award-winning director Stephanie Soechtig has signed a deal with the factual indie Sundog Pictures to develop and direct a new docuseries, City of Refuge.

Soechtig comes to this collaboration fresh from executive producing Knock Down the House, Rachel Lears’ 2019 documentary that premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, winning both the U.S. Documentary Audience Award and the Festival Favorite Award. Her similarly high-profile directorial roles include Under the Gun; FED UP, which spotlighted sugar addiction the ensuing obesity epidemic; and Tapped, the searing indictment of the high cost—to both the environment and our health—of the bottled water industry.

City of Refuge will explore life on the edge in one of America’s most dangerous zip codes—Atlanta’s 30314, which has some of the highest rates of crime, homelessness and incarceration in America. It is also the home of Pastor Bruce Deel’s City of Refuge, an organization rooted in the principle of radical trust, a revolutionary model which has helped over 20,000 people in Atlanta’s toughest neighborhood escape life in the streets.

Sundog is in discussions with a range of funders and broadcasters for the project.

Johnny Webb, CEO of Sundog Pictures, said: “Bruce’s memoir, Trust First, moved me to tears. Despite being the visceral story of those living on the edge, it is ultimately moving and full of hope. The access we have secured to Bruce and his work will allow us to combine reconstructions from Trust First, with present day actuality to give a compelling insight into life through the eyes of some of the most disenfranchised people in America.

“We always knew that such a powerful, yet sensitive, project would need a world-class director with a singular voice. So, I am totally thrilled to welcome Stephanie Soechtig to City of Refuge to craft something truly original and authentic.”

Soechtig added: “All my films have shone a light on modern-day America. City of Refuge will get to the heart of something I have not yet explored—what it feels like to face the stark realities of the disappearance of the American Dream.

“Like the team at Sundog, I believe in the power of film to change the way we see the world and in the necessity of bringing difficult and important subjects to the screen. City of Refuge is a significant project. We are looking forward to bringing backers on board who believe in our vision and understand why this is a story that has to be told.”