The documentary ICARUS, described as a riveting and surprising journey through the netherworld of global sports doping, has been acquired by Netflix, and is expected to debut on the streaming platform later this year. Premiering to critical acclaim at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, ICARUS takes viewers on an improbable odyssey that starts out in the world of amateur cycling and ends up upsetting the Olympics world order.
Taking a cue from Super Size Me, Fogel, an endurance cyclist, sets out to investigate doping in sports by doping himself, documenting the changes in his performance over a pair of races, seeing if he can avoid detection.
Over the course of his investigation however, the film pivots more toward CITIZENFOUR when Fogel meets Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of Russia’s government anti-doping program. Over dozens of Skype calls in which the Russian expert instructs Fogel how to meet his goals, the two forge a deeply personal bond. As shocking allegations emerge that Rodchenkov actually ran a large-scale doping scheme during the Sochi Olympics, and as accusations of illegality leading all the way to the Kremlin, the two collaborate to reveal the biggest international sports SCANDAL in living memory. As a global cat and mouse game unfolds, the two men experience what it truly means to stand up for the truth and where even a small miscalculation can be deadly.
Bryan Fogel said, “This has been an intense 3.5 year personal journey that exposed the biggest SCANDAL in sports history. To be able to work with Netflix, a company that is able to launch this story globally in such a big way, with such potential for social and political impact, is a spectacular honor.”
The ruthless worlds of international sports and politics rarely collide as spectacularly on screen as they do in Bryan Fogel’s thriller that is sure to set off convulsions of controversy.
While investigating the furtive world of illegal doping in sports, Fogel connects with renegade Russian scientist Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov—a pillar of his country’s “anti-doping” program. Over dozens of Skype calls, urine samples, and badly administered hormone injections, Fogel and Rodchenkov grow closer despite shocking allegations that place Rodchenkov at the center of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping program. When the truth is more complex than imagined, and accusations of illegalities run to Russia’s highest chains of command, the two realize they hold the power to reveal the biggest international sports scandal in living memory.
Exemplifying the special bond between filmmaker and subject, this is a vital portrait of the sacrifice some people will make to stand up for truth. ICARUS places you at the heart of an international game of cat and mouse, where a miscalculation can cost you your life.