[01/08/15 - 03:12 PM]
HBO Announces Documentary Lineup for the First Half of 2015
Andrew Jarecki, Alex Gibney and Brett Morgen are among the featured auspices.

[via press release from HBO]



LOS ANGELES, Jan. 8, 2015 - Continuing its commitment to timely and thought-provoking programming, HBO will debut a diverse array of documentaries in coming months, including: THE JINX: THE LIFE AND DEATHS OF ROBERT DURST, the highly anticipated Sunday-night series from Oscar(R) nominee Andrew Jarecki; Oscar(R) winner Alex Gibney's GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF, a look inside the controversial religion; and Brett Morgen's KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK, the first fully-authorized documentary about the iconic leader of Nirvana.

Upcoming HBO documentaries include (in chronological order):

NIGHT WILL FALL (debuting Jan. 26) reveals the untold story behind an unfinished 1945 documentary, whose artistic team included supervising director Alfred Hitchcock, about the horrors of World War II concentration camps. This harrowing presentation combines restored, rarely-seen archival footage and eyewitness testimony, providing a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the forgotten film. Narrated by Helena Bonham Carter, directed by André Singer and produced by Sally Angel and Brett Ratner, it is also being presented by broadcasters internationally in commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

THE JINX: THE LIFE AND DEATHS OF ROBERT DURST (debuting Sundays Feb. 8-March 15) spotlights Robert Durst, the scion of New York's billionaire real estate family, who has been accused of three murders over the past 30 years, but never convicted. Brilliant, reclusive and the subject of relentless media scrutiny, Durst has never spoken publicly - until now. Directed and produced by Andrew Jarecki and produced and shot by Marc Smerling (the Oscar(R) nominees behind "Capturing the Friedmans"), the groundbreaking six-part documentary series tracks Durst's strange history against the backdrop of unimaginable wealth and privilege. The filmmakers' seven-year investigation and the extraordinary relationship that evolves between filmmaker and suspect ultimately reveal secrets that have baffled authorities for 30 years.

ROSIE O'DONNELL: A HEARTFELT STAND UP (Feb. 14) features O'Donnell in a hybrid form of standup comedy, inspired by her recent near-fatal heart attack. In a comic and touching performance, she shares her experience with heart disease, the leading cause of death among American women, and explores topics ranging from the challenges of raising five children to her obsession with Barbra Streisand. O'Donnell's return to the stage is an honest, hilarious and intimate take on life. Directed by Dan Chaykin.

CITIZENFOUR (Feb. 23), one of the most acclaimed films of 2014, is a real-life thriller that unfolds by the minute. The film follows director Laura Poitras ("The Oath"), and journalist Glenn Greenwald as they encounter Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, where he hands over classified documents providing evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA). Winner of multiple awards, including the 2014 Gotham Award, the IDA Award and numerous critics circle awards, the timely film is an inside look at the media storm raging after the release of Snowden's revelations, showing how Poitras, Greenwald and Snowden attempt to manage it.

GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF (March 16), based on Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright's book, is directed by Oscar(R) winner Alex Gibney (HBO's "Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown" and "Taxi to the Dark Side"). The powerful film profiles eight former members of Scientology, exploring the psychological impact of blind faith and shining a light on how the controversial church attracts true believers.

IT'S ME, HILARY: THE MAN WHO DREW ELOISE (March 23) paints an intimate portrait of Hilary Knight, the illustrator behind the iconic Eloise books, as he reflects on his life as an illustrator and his relationship to his most successful work. Executive produced by Lena Dunham (HBO's "Girls"), an Eloise fan since childhood, the film reveals an artist stunted by early success and haunted by personal failures, but always deeply devoted to his most famous creation. Directed by Matt Wolf; executive produced by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner; produced by Stacey Reiss.

LIVING WITH LINCOLN (April 13) explores one contemporary family's physical and emotional connection to Abraham Lincoln, drawing on a rarely collection of 19th-century photography. Directed by Peter Kunhardt (HBO's Emmy(R)-nominated "Gloria: In Her Own Words" and Emmy(R)-winning "JFK: In His Own Words") and Brian Oakes, the film reveals a personal side of Lincoln through a modern-day journey of discovery, obsession, depression and despair.

TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER (April 27) is a shocking investigation of Lonnie Franklin Jr., arrested in 2010 as the alleged perpetrator of a 25-year killing spree in South Central Los Angeles in which he may have murdered more than 100 victims - most of them young, African-American women marginalized by addiction and poverty. Critically acclaimed documentarian Nick Broomfield reveals the lack of action by the Los Angeles police force, who found the link between Franklin and the murders not through painstaking detective work, but by accident, and gives voice to a neglected community that has survived despite the odds, ultimately conveying a sense of grave injustice that extends well beyond this case.

KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK (May 4), the first fully-authorized documentary about the iconic leader of Nirvana, is a raw and visceral journey through his life. The film provides no-holds-barred access to Cobain's archives, home to his never-before-seen home movies, recordings, artwork, photography, journals, demos, personal archives and songbooks. Directed by Oscar(R) nominee Brett Morgen (HBO's "Crossfire Hurricane" and "The Kid Stays in the Picture") and executive produced by Cobain's daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, it features dozens of Nirvana songs and performances, as well as previously unheard Cobain originals.

SOUTHERN RITES (May 18) visits Montgomery County, Ga., one year after the town merged its racially segregated proms, and during a historic election campaign that may lead to its first African-American sheriff. Acclaimed photographer Gillian Laub, whose photos first brought the area unwanted notoriety, documents the repercussions when a white town resident is charged with the murder of a young black man. The case divides locals along well-worn racial lines, and the ensuing plea bargain and sentencing uncover complex truths and produce emotional revelations. This timely film debuts the week of the Supreme Court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision 61 years ago. Executive produced by John Legend, Troy Carter and Mike Jackson; produced by Josh Alexander.

THE LION'S MOUTH OPENS (May 25) follows courageous young filmmaker-actress Marianna Palka, who gathers her friends together to share the moment when she finds out whether she has inherited Huntington's disease from her father. The moving film is directed by Lucy Walker (HBO's "The Crash Reel").

Upcoming family presentations include:

SAVING MY TOMORROW (April 22, May) is a series of documentary family specials about the environment produced in association with the American Museum of Natural History. The programs feature a collection of songs, activism and heartfelt tips from the children who will inherit the planet. Scenes with Museum scientists explore how plants and animals are affected by a changing earth. SAVING MY TOMORROW celebrates the natural world and is a call from kids to kids to help take care of the environment. The series features readings and performances by Alan Cumming, Tina Fey, Karen O, Audra McDonald, Liam Neeson, Willie Nelson, Jeffrey Wright and Dan Zanes, and an appearance by Pharrell Williams, among others.

  [january 2015]  


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