HBO Announces Documentary Lineup for Second Half of 2014
HBO presents a compelling array of timely and thought-provoking documentaries every Monday night in the second half of 2014. Among the new films to debut in the weekly slot are Kate Davis and David Heilbroner's THE NEWBURGH STING, an inside look at the rarely told story of the FBI's involvement in a homegrown terror case, Jeremiah Zagar's CAPTIVATED: THE TRIALS OF PAMELA SMART, a look at the first trial televised gavel-to-gavel and the media circus surrounding it, Steve Buscemi's A GOOD JOB: STORIES OF THE FDNY, showing what it's like to work in one of the most demanding fire departments in the world, HUNTED: THE WAR AGAINST GAYS IN RUSSIA, the searing story of a group that terrorizes gay men and women, and a holiday family special SAVING MY TOMORROW: KIDS CARE FOR THE PLANET, spotlighting young environmental activists.
Upcoming HBO documentaries include (in chronological order):
THE NEWBURGH STING (July 21) reveals the rarely told story of the FBI's involvement in the homegrown terror case of the "Newburgh Four." Four street criminals with no history of violence or terrorist political ties, from an impoverished and largely African-American community, were drawn by a Pakistani FBI informant into a carefully orchestrated plot to bomb Jewish synagogues in a wealthy suburb of New York City and fire Stinger missiles at U.S. military supply planes. Their dramatic arrest resulted in 25-year prison sentences. Many political figures lauded the case as a victory in the war on terror, but others lambasted the sting as entrapment. Featuring previously unseen FBI hidden camera footage, insights from Muslim leaders and high-level Washington insiders, and intimate interviews with the families of the "Newburgh Four," the documentary offers startling insights into surveillance in a post-9/11 world. Directed by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner (HBO's Emmy(R)-winning "Jockey").
LOVE CHILD (July 28) explores the growing problem of Internet addiction through the story of a couple tried in South Korea in 2010 for the negligent death of their infant daughter due to their obsessive online gaming. Director Valerie Veatch (HBO's "Me @the Zoo") skillfully weaves a tale of personal tragedy together with social commentary, shining a light on how new technology can have unforeseen dire consequences. The film documents the first trial for internet addiction and the subsequent ruling that set a global precedent in a world where the line between real life and virtual reality can blur. An official selection of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, the documentary is executive produced by John Legere (CEO of T-Mobile).
NIXON BY NIXON: IN HIS OWN WORDS (Aug. 4) explores the complex facets of Richard Nixon through thousands of hours of recently declassified audiotapes recorded in the White House. The revealing documentary captures his blunt and candid observations on the Vietnam War, the Pentagon Papers leak and his Supreme Court appointments, as well as his thoughts on women, people of color, Jews and the media. Peter Kunhardt (HBO's "Gloria: In Her Own Words" and the Emmy(R)-winning "Teddy: In His Own Words") directs.
CAPTIVATED: THE TRIALS OF PAMELA SMART (Aug. 18) takes a new look at a story everyone thought they knew: The trial of 21-year-old New Hampshire woman Pamela Smart, who was accused of plotting the 1990 murder of her husband. As the first fully televised, gavel-to-gavel, court case, the trial gave birth to reality TV. The film explores how the media's coverage of the story may have influenced the trial and sentencing. In addition to interviews with prosecuting and defending attorneys, and journalists covering the case at the time, the film includes insights from Smart's friends and acquaintances, including childhood friends and former inmates who served time with her, as well the first post-release interview with one of the boys convicted in the case and an intimate new interview with Smart herself. Directed by Jeremiah Zagar (HBO's "In a Dream").
A GOOD JOB: STORIES OF THE FDNY (Sept. 8), a film by Liz Garbus (HBO's Emmy(R)-winning "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib") and actor Steve Buscemi (a former New York City firefighter), explores what it's like to work in one of the most demanding fire departments in the world, where going to work means risking it all. From old New York to the post-9/11 landscape, the film reveals the immense mental and physical toll that fire-fighting takes on individuals, and on the community borne out of sharing an incredible responsibility.
TERROR IN NAIROBI (Sept. 15) is a searing account of the events of Sept. 21, 2013, when the Islamist group al-Shabaab stormed the West Gate Mall in Kenya, ultimately claiming responsibility for the 67 deaths and 125 injuries that resulted. Dan Reed (HBO's "Terror in Moscow" and "Terror in Mumbai") directs the film, which features never-before-seen footage and photographs from the day and debuts in conjunction with the first anniversary of the attack.
HUNTED: THE WAR AGAINST GAYS IN RUSSIA (Oct.) is a shocking investigation of the growing climate of hostility in the wake of the Russian government's anti-"gay propaganda" law that has led to an alarming increase in brutal attacks on gay men and women, who are often equated with pedophiles and accused of undermining religious and family values. The film exposes groups of citizens who viciously beat and torment innocent gay people and post the graphic videos online, with no legal repercussions. Directed by Ben Steele.
PRIVATE VIOLENCE (Oct.) debunks misconceptions about intimate partner abuse, underscoring the fact that one in four women experience violence in their homes at the hands of a husband or boyfriend, while 48% of women killed in domestic violence homicides are murdered after they leave, or are in the process of leaving, their abuser. Telling the intimate stories of two women, Survivor Deanna Walters and advocate Kit Gruelle, as they seek justice in the federal court system, the film was an official selection of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Cynthia Hill.
THE LAST PATROL (Nov.) follows award-winning journalist and filmmaker Sebastian Junger (HBO's "Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington") as he embarks on a walk along the train tracks from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia, and then to Pittsburgh, joined by a fellow war reporter and two combat veterans. Making their way through ghettos, suburbs, farms and woods in multiple trips spanning a year, they re-create the incredible closeness and interdependence of soldiers in combat while discovering the pulse of America, ultimately learning how to give up war.
REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG (Dec.) is an intimate, nuanced profile of one of the most influential and provocative thinkers of the 20th century. The film explores the life of the literary, political and feminist icon through archival materials and accounts from friends, family, colleagues and lovers, as well as her own words, as read by Patricia Clarkson. From an early infatuation with books to Sontag's first experience in a gay bar, from her early marriage to her last lover, this documentary is a fascinating look at a towering cultural critic and writer whose works on photography, war, illness and terrorism still resonate today. Directed by Nancy Kates.
SAVING MY TOMORROW: KIDS CARE FOR THE PLANET (Dec.) is a family special on the environment presented by HBO and The American Museum of Natural History. Kids share their thoughts on everything from endangered animals and climate change to photosynthesis and flower pollination in this lyrical mix of science, animation and stories of plants and animals threatened by a changing earth. Celebrating the wonders of the natural world, the show is a call from kids to kids to help take care of the planet. It will be followed by a four-part monthly series launching on Earth Day in April 2015. The "Saving My Tomorrow" series features readings and appearances by Alan Cumming, Tina Fey, Susan Sarandon, Jeffrey Wright, Pharrell Williams and others, along with songs from Willie Nelson, Ziggy Marley, Pete Seeger, Lennon & Maisy and They Might Giants.
Upcoming HBO Family programming includes:
A YOUNGARTS MASTERCLASS (Sept. and Oct.) follows some of the thousands of high-school students who participate in a program to be mentored by America's greatest artists in an intimate, interactive classroom environment. The two upcoming shows feature actor Alan Alda and violinist Joshua Bell. Directed by Kirk Simon and Karen Goodman (HBO's Oscar(R)-winning "Strangers No More").