Doc ‘Summer of Soul’ Available Digitally and on DVD Feb. 8

The documentary Summer of Soul will be released through digital retailers and on DVD Feb. 8 from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

Summer of Soul premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. The documentary also won the AFI Special Award, six awards at the Critics Choice Awards, and Best Documentary awards with NBR and LAFCA. The film is also nominated for the PGA and Spirit Awards.

It is streaming on Hulu in conjunction with Disney General Entertainment’s Onyx Collective; Searchlight Pictures released it theatrically.

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Director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a documentary that is part music film, part historical record created around an event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion. Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just 100 miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was largely forgotten until now. The feature includes concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, The 5th Dimension and more.

Bonus features include audio commentary with Thompson, a making-of featurette, and “Harlem: Then & Now,” in which viewers revisit Mount Morris Park, location of the Harlem Cultural Festival.

Netflix Tees Up PGA Golf Documentary Series

Netflix may be averse to streaming live sports, but the streaming behemoth isn’t afraid of the genre.

Netflix Jan. 12 announced it has linked up with the PGA Tour and golf’s major championships for a documentary series following the lives and stories of top pro golfers across a season.

In short, Netflix hopes to achieve the same viewership and critical success of its Formula 1 auto racing series “Drive to Survive,” whose producers are behind the golf series.

Netflix claims that for first time ever, the PGA Tour and the governing bodies that conduct the Augusta National Golf Club, the PGA of America, the USGA, and The R&A, will afford the streamer access into the sport’s biggest events, including The Players Championship and season-ending FedExCup, as well as the four majors: the Masters Tournament, PGA Championship, U.S. Open Championship and The Open.

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The series, which is currently filming, aims to capture the intensity of training, travel, victory, and defeat through the lens of a diverse group of players and their support teams.

Current PGA TOUR player commitments include (alphabetically): Abraham Ancer, Daniel Berger, Cameron Champ, Joel Dahmen, Tony Finau, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Harry Higgs, Max Homa, Viktor Hovland, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Kevin Na, Mito Pereira, Ian Poulter, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Bubba Watson.

Additionally, the world’s top-ranked amateur golfer, Keita Nakajima, will participate as he plays in the first major championships of his career.

“This partnership with Netflix presents the PGA Tour and the four major championships an opportunity to tap into a completely new and diverse audience,” Rick Anderson, Chief Media Officer of the PGA Tour, said in a statement. “This documentary will give fans an authentic look into the real lives of our athletes, and what it’s like to win — and lose — during a season on the PGA Tour.”

The series is produced by Vox Media Studios (Explained) and Box to Box Films (Formula 1: Drive to Survive). Executive producers are David Check (30 for 30, Four Days in October); Chad Mumm and Mark Olsen for Vox Media Studios; and James Gay-Rees and Paul Martin for Box to Box Films.

“We are thrilled to bring golf’s leading organizations and players together for this first-of-its-kind partnership and unparalleled window into life on the Tour,” said Brandon Riegg, VP of unscripted and documentary series at Netflx. “Our members will love getting to know the players and personalities as well as the iconic venues along the way. Even the most devoted golf fans have never seen the sport quite like this.”

Docs on Martin Luther King Jr., American Culture and History Streaming on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in December

Documentaries on Martin Luther King Jr. and American culture and history are among the programs coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in December.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription. During a special promotional period Dec. 23 to Jan. 3, the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel will be available for new subscribers for 99¢ per month for two months.

In Remembrance of Martin, streaming now, brings together influential figures to discuss the legacy and life of one of Martin Luther King Jr. Coretta Scott King joins the Reverend Ralph Abernathy, Julian Bond, Jimmy Carter, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Senator Edward Kennedy, John Lewis, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Andrew Young as they recall King’s career and trace his leadership through the civil rights movement. The film includes portions of King’s legendary “I Have a Dream” speech.

President Eisenhower’s granddaughter and Nikita Kruschev’s son give their personal recollections of growing up in Cold War Roadshow, from “American Experience,” which begins streaming Dec. 17. Told through the eyes of historian William Taubman and journalist Peter Carlson, as well as Susan Eisenhower and Sergei Khrushchev, Cold War Roadshow takes a deeply personal look at the often-overlooked human dimensions of the Cold War. The documentary tells the story of one of the most bizarre episodes in the annals of modern history — the unprecedented barnstorming across America in the fall of 1959 by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, the world leader of communism and America’s arch nemesis. At the very height of the Cold War, with American schoolchildren practicing duck-and-cover drills, the man who Americans feared could incinerate them in a rain of hydrogen bombs arrived in Washington, D.C. at the invitation of President Eisenhower. For both men, the visit was an opportunity to halt the escalating threats of the Cold War and chart a new course toward peaceful coexistence. For the American press, it was the media blockbuster story of the year.

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POV: Unapologetic, which starts streaming Dec. 28, follows two black political activists who are working and succeeding in leading a movement to transform Chicago. In the program, viewers meet Janaé and Bella, two fierce abolitionists whose upbringing and experiences shape their activism and views on Black liberation. Through their lens, the film provides an inside look into the ongoing movement that transformed Chicago, from the police murder of Rekia Boyd to the election of mayor Lori Lightfoot. Unapologetic is an official 2021 selection of TIFF Next Wave.

Other titles coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in December include: Animal Homes Season 1 (“Nature”), Animal Misfits (“Nature”), The Buddha, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Fractals: Hunting the Hidden Dimension (“Nova”), The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies, Invasion of the Killer Whales (“Nature”), The Iranian Americans, The Lost Diary of Dr. Livingstone (“Secrets of the Dead”), Making Stuff Season 1, Mister Rogers and Me, Operation Bridge Rescue, Panama Canal (“American Experience”), Sacred, The Sagebrush Sea (“Nature”), A Sloth Named Velcro (“Nature”), Snow Monkeys (“Nature”), Super Hummingbirds (“Nature”), Touching the Wild: Living with the Mule Deer of Deadman Gulch (“Nature”),  and Transatlantic Sessions: The Best of Folk Vol. 1.

The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses

DIGITAL REVIEW:

Street Date 11/23/21;
Virgil;
Documentary;
Not rated.

Beautifully shot in America’s sparsely inhabited landscapes, The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses chronicles the history and current state of wild horses in the United States. Executive produced by Robert Redford, Patti Scialfa Springsteen and Jessica Springsteen, the feature takes audiences to places few people have seen, where more than 80,000 mustangs live on federal land. The film, featuring music by Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris with an original song by Blanco Brown, showcases the steeds galloping free across hills, meadows and valleys in a series of glorious panoramas that complement the beauty of the animals. It explores the inspirational nature of the mustang, from its namesake automobile to its role as a companion for “The Lone Ranger.”

While tracing wild horses’ history of faithful service, the feature also covers their exploitation. Once captured for “free energy” to pull plows and trolleys, the mustang also traveled to serve the French and British during World War I. But when the horse gave way to the machine, mustangs were slaughtered for feed and dog meat until their numbers were depleted.

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The documentary follows the efforts of those who worked to save and preserve the mustang, chronicling the story of Velma “Wild Horse Annie” Johnston, who advocated for the wild horses with the help of a children’s crusade. In 1971, Nixon signed a law to protect them.

Now, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the mustang population — with no natural predators — has grown too big for its prescribed area. The documentary looks at various programs and volunteers trying to help, following a band of women chasing the mares to distribute birth control and traveling to a sanctuary in San Luis Obispo, Calif. In one of the most affecting segments, the documentary visits “Operation Wild Horse,” which pairs veterans with mustangs as restorative therapy. The feature also follows “Mustang Makeovers,” in which trainers are given 100 days to tame a mustang for competition and sale at auction, capturing the bond each trainer has with a horse that they must ultimately give away.

Shots of the free-ranging herds are a treat for lovers of horses and the Wild West, very effectively making the case for the mustangs’ conservation (though segments about their exploitation may not be appropriate for children). Ultimately, The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses, which shines a light on a little-known issue, manages to both inspire awe as well as a call to action.

Documentary+ Added as FAST Channel on Samsung TVs

Documentary+, a streaming platform for nonfiction film and television content, is now available as a 24/7 linear FAST (free ad-supported TV) channel on Samsung TVs in the United States.

Samsung TV Plus audiences can find Documentary+’s nonfiction films and series via the Samsung TV Plus app in the Smart Hub, with no subscriptions, logins or fees.

Documentary+ is available now in nearly all American households and almost every country globally, according to the service. In addition to Samsung, Documentary+ is streaming 24/7 as a FAST channel on Vizio, Xumo and LG and as an on-demand app on Apple TV, Amazon, Roku, mobile devices and www.docplus.com.

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“FAST channels are the most disruptive thing to happen to television since cable, and nobody has a bigger footprint or audience than Samsung,” Bryn Mooser, Documentary+ CEO and founder, said in a statement. “This is a big moment for Documentary+ and the nonfiction industry as a whole, with nearly every household in America having access to the world’s best documentaries for free.”

Samsung TV Plus is free TV, with no subscription, no sign-up, no additional device or credit card needed. It is pre-installed on all 2016-21 Samsung Smart-TVs and is available for download from the Google Play and Galaxy Store on select Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets. Samsung TV Plus delivers 180 free channels across multiple genres, including news, sports, entertainment, and a VOD library of movies and shows. The free, ad-supported video service is available in the United States and 22 other major markets globally.

Death Row Records Doc, Kelsey Grammer Starrer Among Titles Available on Disc in October From Gravitas Ventures

The documentary Last Man Standing: Suge Knight and the Murders of Biggie & Tupac, the Kelsey Grammer romantic drama Charming the Hearts of Men and the sci-fi mystery Infinitum: Subject Unknown are among the titles being released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc by Gravitas Ventures in October.

Infinitum: Subject Unknown

Infinitum: Subject Unknown, starring Ian McKellen, Conleth Hill and Tori Butler-Hart, debuts on disc Oct. 5. The film follows Jane (Butler-Hart), who wakes up in a strange attic, in a parallel world, with seemingly no way out. She soon discovers that she is stuck in a time-loop, destined to relive the same day over and over again. With each “reset” she begins to reclaim her memories and piece together the clues to what is happening to her and the world around her, which seems to now be devoid of human life. Only through the help of Marland-White (McKellen) she will uncover the truth to help her escape from this never-ending nightmare.

Charming the Hearts of Men, starring Grammer, Anna Friel, Sean Astin and Courtney Gains, is available Oct. 12. In the romantic drama set during the politically charged early 1960s, a sophisticated woman returns to her southern hometown and discovers her options are limited yet discrimination is plentiful. With the help of a congressional ally, she inspires historic legislation which allows opportunities and protections never before afforded to women.

The documentary Last Man Standing: Suge Knight and the Murders of Biggie & Tupac is available Oct. 19. Suge Knight, the former CEO of legendary rap music label Death Row Records, was recently sentenced to 28 years in prison for manslaughter and other violent crimes not typically associated with a highly successful record executive. This film takes a look at Death Row and how L.A.’s street gang culture had come to dominate its business workings. The film also looks at the allegation of former LAPD detective Russel Poole that the reprisal killing of Biggie Smalls, a retaliation to the murder of Tupac, was commissioned by Suge Knight with the help of corrupt LAPD officers who were moonlighting at Death Row Records. These police officers were also members of Suge’s criminal gang the Mob Piru’s and with their resources helped orchestrate the hit on Biggie Smalls. The film produces new evidence and witnesses who actually saw these LAPD officers present on the night of Biggie’s murder, and who also testify that critical information had been deliberately withheld and concealed by the LAPD.

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Another documentary, At the Ready, debuts Oct. 22. Just 10 miles from the Mexican border, students at Horizon High School in El Paso, Texas, are enrolling in law enforcement classes and joining a unique after-school activity: the criminal justice club. Through mock-ups of drug raids and active-shooter takedowns, they inch closer to their desired careers in Border Patrol, policing, and customs enforcement. The documentary follows Mexican American students Kassy and Cesar and recent graduate Cristina as they navigate the complications inherent in their chosen path and discover their choices may clash with the values and people they hold most dear.

Between Me and My Mind

Gravitas will release a third documentary, Between Me and My Mind, Oct. 26. As the frontman of the rock band Phish, Trey Anastasio’s virtuosic musicianship has made him an icon, beloved by his die-hard fanbase for the depth of his artistic output and the boundless enthusiasm that he exudes, both onstage and off. Between Me and My Mind offers a private and unprecedented tour of Anastasio’s musical mind as he focuses on the composing process that has produced hundreds of memorable songs over his 35-plus year career. In the film, Anastasio reflects intimately on his life and work while surrounded by his family and friends, those that nurture his creative inspiration.

‘Dolly Parton’ Celebration, ‘Nova Universe Revealed’ Among Titles Due on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in October

Dolly Parton & Friends: 50 Years at the Opry and Nova Universe Revealed are among the titles available on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in October.

Dolly Parton celebrates 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in Dolly Partin & Friends: 50 Years at the Opry, streaming starting Oct. 22. Recorded live in Nashville, the special pays tribute to her songs and career with special performances from Parton and her star guests, including Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Candi Carpenter, Emmylou Harris, Chris Janson, Toby Keith, Margo Price and Hank Williams Jr. Capturing Parton delivering some of her biggest hits on one of the most iconic stages in the world, this celebration of the country music legend’s 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry features new interviews with Parton, guest appearances from some of her superstar friends and more.

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Nova Universe Revealed starts streaming Oct. 28. In this five-part series, “Nova” delves into the vastness of space to capture moments of high drama when the universe changed forever. State-of-the-art animation delivers astonishing, photorealistic glimpses of the birth of the very first star, the chaos created as two galaxies collide, and the power of a supermassive black hole as it flings a star across space so violently that it’s still traveling millions of years later. “Nova” even takes viewers on the ultimate time travel voyage to witness the birth of space and time itself. Informed by huge advances in scientific understanding, this series brings viewers face-to-face with the most surprising characters in the cosmos and reveals how their fates are intertwined with their own.

Other titles due on the channel in October include:

  • 10 Buildings That Changed America
  • American Experience: A Class Apart
  • American Experience: The Poisoner’s Handbook
  • American Experience: Tupperware!
  • American Experience: War of the Worlds
  • American Masters: Becoming Helen Keller
  • American Masters: Lights, Camera, Acción
  • American Veteran
  • Constitution USA With Peter Sagal
  • Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in America
  • For The Left Hand
  • Frontline: Losing Iraq
  • Frontline: Taliban Takeover
  • Frontline: Rape in the Fields
  • Frontline: Shots Fired
  • Frontline: To Catch a Trader
  • Held Hostage
  • Nature: Animal Babies: First Year on Earth, Season 1
  • Nature: Leave It to Beavers
  • Nature: My Garden of a Thousand Bees
  • Nature: Season of the Osprey
  • Nature: Sex in the Wild, Season 1
  • Nova: Arctic Drift
  • Nova: Edible Insects
  • Nova: Nazi Attack in America
  • Nova: Particles Unknown
  • Nova: The Pluto Files
  • Rebel: Loreta Velazquez, Secret Soldier of the American Civil War
  • The Draft
  • VA: The Human Cost of War
  • Voces: Letters to Eloisa

‘Masterpiece Mystery! — Guilt,’ Season Four of ‘Frankie Drake Mysteries’ Among PBS Titles Due on DVD in September

Masterpiece Mystery!: Guilt,” season four of “Frankie Drake Mysteries” and several documentaries are among the titles coming to DVD in September from PBS Distribution.

The dark comedy series “Masterpiece Mystery! — Guilt” is due in a two-DVD set Sept. 14. In the series, a drunken drive home from a wedding lands two brothers in increasingly hot water, as they commit more and more serious crimes to hide their culpability in a hit-and-run. Mark Bonnar (“Line of Duty,” “Catastrophe,” “Unforgotten”) and Jamie Sives (“Valhalla Rising,” “Mean Machine”) star as the brothers, with Ruth Bradley (“Grabbers,” “Flyboys,” “Pursuit”) as the victim’s niece, who falls for her uncle’s killer.

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Season four of “Frankie Drake Mysteries” comes out in a three-DVD set Sept. 7. The season opens with our intrepid detectives Frankie Drake (Lauren Lee Smith) and Trudy Clarke (Chantel Riley) alongside their best gal pals, Mary Shaw (Rebecca Liddiard) and Flo Chakowitz (Sharron Matthews), traipsing through the woods on a scavenger hunt that quickly turns deadly. From the wilderness to the world of high society, from an underground cabaret to a candy factory, Frankie and Trudy investigate murders, kidnappings, heists and poisonings. Using her position as a morality officer, Mary is able to snoop through police files and be privy to non-civilian discussions, while Flo lends a hand with autopsy reports, science experiments and her newly acquired medical skills. As always, amid high-stakes danger, excitement, intrigue and friendship, the women find their balance in their lives outside of work. Frankie has a European race car-driving beau; Trudy’s dreams of home-sweet-home are closer than ever; Mary falls for the wrong fellow; and Flo starts a family.

Also due on DVD in September are the documentaries Exhumed: A History of Zombies on Sept. 14; Downing of a Flag on Sept. 7; Lucy Worsley’s Royal Myths and Secrets, Volume 2 on Sept. 14; and The Mysteries of Mental Illness on Sept. 28.

The self-help title Discovering Your Warrior Spirit with D.J. Vanas comes out on DVD Sept. 14.

Coming for the kids in September are Molly of Denali: Molly and the Great One, due Sept. 14, and PBS Kids: 15 Girl Power Adventures!, available Sept. 7.

Ken Burns Docuseries ‘Muhammad Ali’ Streaming on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel Sept. 19

Muhammad Ali, a new four-part documentary directed by Ken Burns, will begin streaming on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel Sept. 19.

It will be available in 4K Ultra HD.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

The new series, which was in development for six years, was also written and co-directed by Sarah Burns and David McMahon, whose previous collaborations with Burns include The Central Park Five (2012), Jackie Robinson (2016) and East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story (2020).

The film follows the life of one of the most consequential men of the 20th century, a three-time heavyweight boxing champion who captivated billions with his combination of speed, agility and power in the ring, as well as his charm, wit and outspokenness outside of it. At the height of his fame, Ali challenged Americans’ racial prejudices, religious biases and notions about what roles celebrities and athletes play in our society, and inspired people all over the world with his message of pride and self-affirmation.

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Drawing from archival footage and photographs, contemporary music, and the insights and memories of eyewitnesses — including family and friends, journalists, boxers and historians, among many others — the docuseries is a sweeping portrait of an American icon. The series details the story of the athlete who called himself — and was considered by many to be — “the greatest of all time” and competed in some of the most dramatic and widely viewed sporting events in history, including “The Fight of the Century” and “The Thrilla in Manila,” both against his great rival Joe Frazier, as well as “The Rumble in the Jungle,” in which he defeated George Foreman to regain the heavyweight title that was stripped from him seven years earlier.

Muhammad Ali captures Ali’s principled resistance to the Vietnam War, his steadfast commitment to his Muslim faith, and his complex relationships with Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. While largely celebrated today as an icon of American sport and culture, Ali was not always embraced. At times he was reviled by many in America, especially white Americans and members of the media. Ali faced a firestorm of criticism when he said, “I ain’t got nothing against them Viet Cong” — a stance that would result in five years of legal jeopardy and a three-and-a-half-year banishment from boxing.

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Ali’s story is full of contradictions. Despite his ruthlessness in the ring, he was a symbol of peace and pacifism. Though committed to a faith that expected dignified conduct, he was notoriously unfaithful to his wives. A clever showman with unparalleled genius for promotion, he occasionally allowed partners and friends to take advantage of him. Endlessly trumpeting his own greatness, he anonymously donated much of his fortune.

Muhammad Ali includes interviews with Ali’s daughters Hana Ali and Rasheda Ali, his second wife Khalilah Ali, his third wife Veronica Porche, and his brother and confidant Rahaman Ali. Others appearing in the film include activist and former basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, sportswriter Howard Bryant, historian Gerald Early, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, friend and business manager Gene Kilroy, boxing promoter Don King, novelist Walter Mosley, long-time friend Abdul Rahman, and New Yorker editor David Remnick, among others.

Other titles coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in September include American Experience: Citizen Hearst, American Experience: Jimmy Carter, Season 1, American Experience: Reagan, Season 1, American Experience: Supreme Justice: Sandra Day O’Connor, American Masters: Raul Julia: The World’s a Stage, American Masters: Twyla Moves, Discovering Your Warrior Spirit with D.J. Vanas, Frontline: America After 9/11, Frontline: Boeing’s Fatal Flaw, Generation 9/11, Independent Lens: Harvest Season, Lives Well Lived, Nova: Bat Superpowers and Nova: The Cannabis Question.

‘American Experience: Tesla’ Headlines Titles Coming to PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in August

American Experience: Tesla, The Botany of Desire and Doc World: Cocaine Prison headline the titles coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in August.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Due Aug. 6 is American Experience: Tesla. The documentary chronicles the life and influence of Nikola Tesla, dubbed the “patron saint of geeks.” Tesla has had electric cars, rock bands, a unit of measurement, a minor planet, and a lunar crater named after him. Still eclipsed however by contemporaries such as Edison and Marconi, Tesla, the visionary scientist died impoverished and largely forgotten. During his lifetime, he gained international fame for his invention of a system of alternating current that made possible the distribution of electricity over vast distances and is the basis for the electrical grid that powers 21st century life. But the visionary Tesla imagined much more — robots, radio, radar, remote control, the wireless transmission of messages and pictures, and harnessing the wind and sun to provide free energy to all. As a showman, he dazzled his scientific peers who flocked to see him demonstrate his inventions and send thousands of volts of electricity pulsing through his body. His fertile, yet undisciplined imagination was the source of his genius and also his downfall, as the image of Tesla as a “mad scientist” came to overshadow his reputation as a brilliant innovator. It is his exhilarating sense of the future that has inspired renewed interest in the man, as his once scoffed-at vision of a world connected by wireless technology has become a reality.

Doc World: Cocaine Prison, coming Aug. 15, follows the lives of three Bolivians who work at the lowest levels of the cocaine trade: two prison inmates who film their daily experiences and an inmate’s sister who must decide whether to traffic cocaine or pursue a college education. The film bridges the ever-widening gap between the North and the South and brings a new perspective to the war on drugs being waged in the Andes.

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The Botany of Desire

Based on Michael Pollan’s best-selling book, The Botany of Desire, brought to life through narration by Frances McDormand, is coming Aug. 27. The film focuses on four species of plants that we’ve all interacted with and details how humans have completely shaped these plants’ evolutions and destinies. The documentary takes viewers on an eye-opening exploration of the human relationship with the plant world — seen from the plants’ point of view. The program shows how four familiar species ─ the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato ─ evolved to satisfy our yearnings for sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control. The Botany of Desire shows how human desires are an essential, intricate part of natural history. It begins in Michael Pollan’s garden, and then roams the world from the corn fields of Iowa to the apple forests of Kazakhstan, from a medical marijuana hot house to the tulip markets of Amsterdam. One of the great conceits of human civilization is to put ourselves outside nature — constantly shaping and re-shaping the wild for our own purposes. Taking the plants’ view of the world pushes viewers to understand Pollan’s call to restore human activity to its proper place in the matrix of nature.