Ruth Negga’s new film Passing, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last month, will air on Netflix.

The streaming king, according to, is prepared to fork out $15.75 million for distribution rights, a nice chunk of change for a film that picked up pretty good reviews.

Passing is set in 1929, and stars Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson as African American women who are able to pass as white. 

“Along with CODA, it was the most eagerly awaited acquisition title to hit Sundance, and with this deal, it does not disappoint,” Deadline reports.

“Thompson and Negga (turned) in powerhouse performances. Netflix competed in a field of five bidders, and will do one of its top-shelf awards streaming releases with a theatrical distribution component.

Passing is based on a 1929 novel by Nella Larsen which Ruth, 39, says she read when she was in her twenties.

 “I completely fell in love with it.  It’s a masterpiece,” she told  “I couldn’t believe it wasn’t more well known, and I just developed this fascination with the idea of what it meant, and the history of passing…It was a scary option for a lot of people, and some people felt they had no choice, and what struck me was the psychological cost of it. 

“Passing is essentially loss. You’re losing your community. It’s a community affair. You’re asking a lot of people to conspire with you. To have to cut off ties like that, a severing of one’s past, that’s a severing of oneself.”