Netflix Announces Doc Slate Including Films on Jeffrey Epstein, David Attenborough

Netflix announced its upcoming slate of documentaries, including Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, a contemplation of the state of the planet with David Attenborough and a Sundance Award winner.

More than 147 million households have chosen to watch at least one documentary on Netflix in the last year, according to the service. 

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, a limited series due March 20, is about big cat owner Joe Exotic, a mulleted, gun-toting polygamist and country western singer who presides over an Oklahoma roadside zoo. Charismatic but misguided, Joe and an unbelievable cast of characters including drug kingpins, con-men and cult leaders all share a passion for big cats, and the status and attention their dangerous menageries garner. But things take a dark turn when Carole Baskin, an animal activist and owner of a big cat sanctuary, threatens to put them out of business, stoking a rivalry that eventually leads to Joe’s arrest for a murder-for-hire plot, and reveals a twisted tale where the only thing more dangerous than a big cat is its owner.

A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story, a feature coming March 20, is based on a study conducted in 2016 by the University of Sheffield that determined that Juan Manuel Fangio is the best F1 driver in history. The film seeks to get inside the mind of the legend throughout his career and personal life to understand what led him and other drivers to risk their lives racing in cars that flew at the same speeds as today, but with minimal safety precautions and where many do not make it to the end of the season.

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, a film due March 25, is about a revolution that blossomed in a ramshackle summer camp down the road from Woodstock. The camp for teenagers with disabilities transformed their lives and igniting a landmark movement. The film is co-directed by Emmy Award winner Nicole Newnham and film mixer and former camper Jim LeBrecht. Executive producers include President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Tonia Davis and Priya Swaminathan, and Oscar nominee Howard Gertler.

How to Fix a Drug Scandal, a limited series hitting screens April 1, is about a disgraced lab chemist. In 2013, Massachusetts State Police arrested 35-year-old crime drug lab chemist Sonja Farak for tampering with evidence: and that was only the beginning. Over time, details emerged that Farak had been in fact using the drugs that she was tasked with testing. The scope of Farak’s addiction — and the number of people convicted as a result of her drug testing — comes to light, despite repeated efforts to suppress evidence in the case.

The Innocence Files, a limited series coming out April 15, shines a light on the untold personal stories behind eight cases of wrongful conviction that the nonprofit organization the Innocence Project and organizations within the Innocence Network have uncovered and worked tirelessly to overturn. The nine-episode series is composed of three parts — The Evidence, The Witness and The Prosecution. These stories expose difficult truths about the state of America’s deeply flawed criminal justice system, while showing when the innocent are convicted, it is not just one life that is irreparably damaged forever: families, victims of crime and trust in the system are also broken in the process.

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Circus of Books, a feature due April 22, is about the gay porn shop Circus of Books. For 35-plus years, the shop gave Los Angeles’ LGBT+ community a space to socialize and celebrate themselves without judgment. Unbeknownst to many customers, the store was cultivated by owners Karen and Barry Mason, a straight, mainstream couple with three children who went to religious school and were unaware of their parents’ business. The Masons long refused to disclose the nature of their business to friends or family. While maintaining the secret, they witnessed the dawn of the HIV/AIDS epidemic firsthand, losing a generation of treasured employees. Still, during that time, they never identified as activists — just everyday entrepreneurs catering to a market, until the Internet destroyed it.

A Secret Love, a film hitting screens April 29, tells a love story between Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel, whose relationship spans nearly seven decades. Terry played in the women’s professional baseball league, inspiring the hit movie A League of Their Own, but the film did not tell the real-life story of the women who remained closeted for most of their lives. This documentary follows Terry and Pat back to when they met for the first time, through their professional lives in Chicago, coming out to their conservative families and grappling with whether or not to get married.

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story, a feature due April 29, is about the clemency of a young murderer. In 2004, 16-year-old Cyntoia Denise Brown was arrested in Nashville, for murdering a 43-year-old man who picked her up for sex. She was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison. The film shows the complexity of a child who was the product of three generations of violence against women in her biological family and how in 2019, after nearly 10 years of legal challenges, Governor Bill Haslam granted her request for clemency. He did so following a slow shift in the state for legislative change in juvenile sentencing laws and having seen evidence of her maturity, education, and good behavior as a prisoner.

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Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics, a film coming May 11, is a documentary featuring comedic tripping stories from actors, comedians and musicians. Star-studded reenactments and trippy animations bring their surreal hallucinations to life. Mixing comedy with a thorough investigation of psychedelics, the film explores the pros, cons, science, history, future, pop cultural impact and cosmic possibilities of hallucinogens. The film also tackles the big questions: Can psychedelics have a powerful role in treating depression, addiction and helping us confront our own mortality? Are we all made of the same stuff? Is love really all we need? Can trees talk? Cast members include Adam Scott, Nick Offerman, Sarah Silverman, Ad-Rock, Rosie Perez, A$AP Rocky, Paul Scheer, Nick Kroll and Rob Corddry.

“Trial by Media,” a series due May 11, reflects on some of the most dramatic and memorable trials in recent history. Since televised coverage introduced a new emphasis on creative storytelling and showmanship into the legal system, the courtroom has never been the same. Over six parts, the series explores the many ways in which the press have contributed to reshaping public perception about guilt or innocence before, during or after a trial. The series features cases reaching across different areas of the law including the Jenny Jones made-for-Court TV murder trials, the sensational story of Rod Blagojevich’s political fall, and the case of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant who was shot 41 times by police in New York City.

Spelling the Dream, a film coming May 23, is about Indian-American spelling contest competitors. An Indian-American competitor has won the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee for the past 12 years straight, making the trend one of the longest in sports history. The documentary chronicles the ups and downs of four Indian-American students as they compete to realize their dream of winning the iconic tournament. With perspectives from CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Fareed Zakaria, comedian Hari Kondabolu, ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi, 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee winner Nupur Lala, and others, the film explores the reasons behind this incredible winning streak and what it means for the community.

Lenox Hill, a series coming June 10, is an intimate look at the lives of four doctors — two brain surgeons, an emergency room physician, and a chief resident ob gyn — as they navigate the highs and lows of working at the renowned Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. The series shows each physician’s struggle to balance their personal and professional lives, and delves into each patient’s personal journey. From birth to brain surgery, each case offers a rare inside look at the complex, fascinating and emotional world of medicine.

Father Soldier Son, a film coming June 19, is a documentary from The New York Times following one military family over the course of 10 years for an intergenerational exploration of the meaning of sacrifice, purpose and American manhood in the aftermath of war.

Athlete A, a film due June 24, is the story of the exposure of abuser Larry Nassar. In 2016, the Indianapolis Star broke the story that Larry Nassar had been systematically abusing the USA Gymnastics team’s young female athletes. This documentary follows the reporting team as they uncover more evidence of abuse and cover-ups.

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, a film coming July 8, is about the iconic, gender non-conforming astrologer who mesmerized 120 million Latino viewers with his extravagance and positivity. Then he vanished from the public eye.

“Street Food: Latin America,” a series coming in July, from the creators of “Chef’s Table,” returns for a new culinary adventure. The newest installment will travel to six countries in Latin America and explore the vibrant street food culture of Oaxaca, Mexico; Salvador, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lima, Peru; Bogota, Colombia; and La Paz, Bolivia. Each episode highlights the stories of perseverance and culture that bring life to each country’s cuisine.

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet, a feature coming in 2020, is produced by award-winning wildlife filmmakers Silverback Films and global environmental organization WWF. It follows the story of life on our planet told by the man who has seen more of the natural world than any other. In his 93 years, Attenborough has visited every continent on the globe, exploring the wild places of our planet and documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder. Addressing the biggest challenges facing life on our planet, the film offers a powerful message of hope for future generations.

Dick Johnson Is Dead, a feature hitting screens in 2020, is about Dick Johnson, perhaps the most beloved grandpa in New York City. The retired psychiatrist is 86 and reaching his final years. As a catalyst to confront the inevitable, his daughter — award-winning documentarian Kirsten Johnson — devises an ingenious experiment: celebrate Dr. Johnson’s life by staging fantasies of death and beyond. Utilizing moviemaking magic and their family’s dark humor, dad and daughter confront the great inevitability awaiting us all. The film won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Innovation in Nonfiction Storytelling at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Unsolved Mysteries, a limited series hitting screens this year, is a reboot of the iconic series. Fusing signature elements from the original series with contemporary immersive, character-driven storytelling, the 12 new episodes are rooted in the experiences of ordinary people who have lived the unthinkable — from the trauma of a loved one’s unexplained disappearance or horrific death, to the shock of a bizarre paranormal encounter. Alongside detectives and journalists, family members offer clues, present theories, and identify suspects, hoping one viewer holds the key to solving the mystery. The series is from the creators of the original series, Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, and 21 Laps Entertainment, the producers of “Stranger Things.”

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, a limited series coming later this year, explores the life of the infamous multi-millionaire. When Jeffrey Epstein was arrested in 2019, he had spent decades sexually abusing underage girls, using a deep network of powerful enablers to help cover up his crimes. The four-part documentary series exposes a horrifying story of relentless manipulation and sex trafficking. Epstein’s survivors serve as the series’ pre-eminent voices, providing powerful testimonials about their experiences. Director Lisa Bryant examines the failures in the justice system that allowed the serial sex abuser to evade justice for so long.

 

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