Docuseries ‘Theodore Roosevelt’ Headed to DVD Sept. 20

A two-part docuseries exploring the life of the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, arrives Sept. 20 on DVD from Lionsgate.

The film is directed by Malcolm Venville (And We Go Green, Portrait of a Dancer: Sarah Lamb) and written by presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author Doris Kearns Goodwin, who also doubles as executive producer alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.

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The historical documentary explores the life of one of history’s most fascinating figures — a cowboy, soldier, statesman, conservationist, adventurer, reformer, author and U.S. president. Featuring more than five hours of expert interviews, archival material and live-action sequences, the two-part documentary charts Roosevelt’s journey from his sickly childhood to being a champion for the working man to becoming, at age 42, the youngest president of the United States, whose legacy and impact on progressive political policies reverberate today.

‘The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family’ Among Titles on PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in August

Frontline’s Ukraine: Life Under Russia’s Attack and the documentary miniseries The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family are among the titles available on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel this August.
 
The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Ukraine: Life Under Russia’s Attack, debuting Aug. 2, is a dramatic and intimate look inside the Russian assault on Kharkiv told by displaced families trying to survive underground, civilians caught in the fight, and first responders risking their lives amid the shelling of Ukraine’s second largest city.

The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family, debuting Aug. 28, covers the scandalous rise and fall of the Boleyn family in a three-part documentary series filled with love, betrayal and obsession. Told from the unique perspective of the family itself, the series juxtaposes narration from historical academics with actors performing significant scenes.

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Other titles coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in August include Eugene O’Neill: A Film by Ric Burns (“American Experience”) on Aug. 9; Afghanistan Undercover (“Frontline”) on Aug. 9; Roberto Clemente (“American Experience”) on Aug. 18; and Rise of the Bolsonaros on Aug. 30.

Doc ‘Lucy Has Worms’ Headed to VOD Aug. 23 From Virgil

The documentary Lucy Has Worms will be released on VOD Aug. 23 from Virgil Films.

Lucy Has Worms is the story of Lucy Lau Bigham’s relentless commitment and vision to help women in a rural Kenyan community one silk worm at a time. Over a three-year period, documentary filmmaker Gage Johnston and her collaborating partner Mark Weinstein filmed and edited more than 100 hours of footage to tell Lucy’s story about dedicating her life to revitalizing her community by training women in silk rearing, spinning and weaving to build a textile industry.

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Doc on Diana ‘The Princess’ Due on HBO and HBO Max Aug. 13

The HBO Original documentary film The Princess will debut Aug. 13 on HBO and HBO Max, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.

The Princess, which had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, is an intimate and immersive look at the life of Princess Diana directed by Academy Award nominee Ed Perkins (Black Sheep, Tell Me Who I Am).

The relationship of Diana and Charles, the Prince and Princess of Wales, was tabloid fodder for nearly two decades, the subject of almost daily headlines in the 24-hour news cycle. The Princess draws solely from contemporaneous archival audio and video footage to take audiences back to key events in Diana’s life as they happened, including their seemingly fairy-tale public courtship and wedding, the birth of their two sons, their bitter divorce, and Diana’s tragic and untimely death on Aug. 31, 1997. 

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The film unfolds as if it were in the present, allowing viewers to experience the overwhelming adoration, but also intense scrutiny of Diana’s every move and the constant judgement of her character. Through archival material, the film is also a reflection of society at the time, revealing the public’s own preoccupations, fears, aspirations, and desires.

Netflix Producing Doc Series on David Beckham

Netflix is in production on a documentary series about global football star David Beckham.

The multi-part series will “explore Beckham’s humble working class beginnings in East London, and the drive and determination that led him to become one of the most recognizable and scrutinized athletes of all time,” according to a Netflix announcement.

The series will feature a mixture of never-before-seen personal archive footage from the last 40 years and interviews with David Beckham, his family and friends, as well as with key figures who have been part of his journey both on and off the pitch.

The project is helmed by Academy Award-winner Fisher Stevens (Palmer, And We Go Green, The Cove) who serves as director and executive producer, along with Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning producer John Battsek (One Day in September, Searching for Sugar Man, Winter on Fire).

Docs ‘Fair Play’ and ‘Sh*t Saves the World’ Among Titles Available on VOD and DVD From Gravitas Ventures in July

The documentaries Fair Play, Fittest on Earth: Next Gen and Sh*t Saves the World, as well as the drama Bundles and the thriller Endangered, are available on  DVD and VOD from Gravitas Ventures in July.

Fittest on Earth: Next Gen

Due on July 5 is the documentary Fittest on Earth: Next Gen. Directed by Mariah Moore, the film explores the CrossFit Games. When Mat Fraser declared he would retire from competition after the 2020 season, he opened the door to a new wave of challengers. In 2021, new and seasoned competitors marked the 15th year of the Games with 15 events designed to test the limits of human potential and their worthiness to be called the fittest. Amid the surprises, upsets, and staggering displays of incomparable athleticism, Tia-Clair Toomey ticked on with consistency, all while shattering records and securing her place as the most unbeatable athlete in CrossFit Games history. At the 2021 Games, viewers witnessed the return of some of the sport’s greats and the rise of the new initiates — those who will carry the mantle of the Fittest on Earth for the next generation.

In the documentary Fair Play, available July 8, inspired by her New York Times best-selling book of the same name, Eve Rodsky takes viewers on her journey to change the unbalanced care dynamic in her home and society at large. Written, produced and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom (Miss Representation, The Mask You Live In) and in partnership with Hello Sunshine, Fair Play follows three families on their journeys to better balance their home life, illustrating how fights about dirty dishes are actually linked to systemic issues affecting millions of families across the globe. Featuring interviews with Melinda Gates, Ai-jen Poo, Tony Porter and U.S. Representative Katie Porter, Fair Play demonstrates how private lives are public issues and that when the invisible care work historically held by women is made visible, we will achieve a more equitable future for all.

Bundles

In the drama Bundles, available July 22, when senior picture day takes a turn for the worse, high school senior Morgan Davis, with the help of her friends, is forced to confront her old elementary school bestie and current rival Maria Sanchez. Together, they concoct a plot to exact revenge against Maria — an involuntary, impromptu haircut. In an attempt to get rid of evidence, the girls decide to sell the severed hair. They quickly discover that hair is in very high demand. Before long, what was supposed to be a one-time retribution quickly escalates into a get-rich-quick scheme, and the girls find themselves in a bundle of trouble. Directed by Ryan Jordan and Jeffery Leslie, the film stars Yovanna Harris, Tanisha Cardwell, Naysa Young, Alexis Jacquelyn Smith, Layla Khepri, Imonte Ford, Lisa Renee’ Marshall, Kevin Tan, Nick Scalise, Burke Vidnovic  and Karen Culi.

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Endangered

The thriller Endangered debuts July 26. The film follows Alison, a down-on-her-luck young professional who spends her evenings trying to make ends meet as a ride-share driver. Wrapping her shift, she decides to take on one last passenger — only to find herself in unexpected danger when she discovers the mysterious stranger is not what he appears to be. Alison is cajoled into taking the fare against her better judgement, and when she discovers blood-stained jewelry and a gun in his bag, she begins to fear that she may not make it out of the trip alive. Through a twisted turn of events, Alison turns to her enigmatic passenger for help. In over her head, she must get through the night covering her tracks, avoiding the police and discovering who her inscrutable passenger truly is. Directed by Drew Walkup, the film stars Lizzie Zerebko, Michael Olavson, Edward Craig, Ryan Forrestal and Sam Lukowski.

The documentary Sh*t Saves the World is available July 5. Directed by Troy Hale, the film is a humorous take on our impact on the Earth, exploring serious topics in an environmental documentary format. The project brings to light subjects that are not often discussed — at least not at the dinner table.

Doc ‘Endangered’ Headed to HBO and HBO Max June 28

The HBO Original documentary Endangered, produced and directed by Oscar-nominees Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing and executive produced by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ronan Farrow, debuts June 28 on HBO and the HBO Max streaming service.
 
An official selection of the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, the documentary chronicles a year in the life of four journalists living and working in democratic countries where freedom of the press has historically been considered a “given.” Yet, as online misinformation proliferates and world leaders brazenly denigrate the press, distrust of traditional media is on the rise, and journalists are increasingly facing situations more typically encountered in war zones or autocratic states.
 
Cutting back and forth between unfolding stories in Mexico City; São Paulo, Brazil; and the United States, Endangered introduces viewers to Sáshenka, Patrícia, Oliver and Carl, whose safety and professions are under threat as they cover political rallies, police brutality, BLM protests and the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, while confronting slander, hostility and violence from their own governments. As newsrooms across the world face economic hardships and layoffs, conventional checks and balances against corrupt institutions of power are weakening. Journalists are at the forefront of a dangerous culture war with the very right to free speech at the crux of it.
 
Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists, which is normally tasked with helping journalists in peril abroad, is for the first time inundated with pleas for help and safety training here in the United States.
 
Extra content featuring Ronan Farrow will be available on HBO digital platforms. These pieces will include Farrow speaking with journalists from around world about the challenges they face.
 
“Many of us living in democratic nations take freedom of the press for granted. In the course of making this film, though, we realized that in order to survive, this ‘right’ has to be fought for in perpetuity,” directors Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing said in a statement. “As governments and the public become increasingly hostile to ‘The Media,’ it was a privilege to observe a few of the unassuming beat reporters who hit the streets every day to bring us the facts.” 

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“When I started working with HBO, one of the first and most urgent ideas I talked about with the documentary team there was chronicling the minefield of misinformation, anti-press authoritarian politics, and faltering media business models that reporters around the world navigate to bring us the truth,” Farrow said in a statement. “In following a remarkable group of journalists into chaos and back, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady have brought that story to electric life and given us an important record of this moment in history.”
 
Featured interviews include reporters Patrícia Campos Mello (Folha de São Paulo) and Oliver Laughland (The Guardian); photojournalists Carl Juste (Miami Herald) and Sáshenka Gutiérrez (EFE News Agency); and former executive director, CPJ, Joel Simon.

 

Doc ‘Who You Gonna Call?’ Available on Digital June 7

Who You Gonna Call?, a documentary on the man who wrote the hit “Ghostbusters” song, will be released on digital June 7 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Filmmaker Fran Strine explores the riveting true story of Ray Parker Jr., the man who wrote and recorded the global smash hit song, which became a universally recognized pop culture classic.

Parker Jr. granted Strine unprecedented access to reveal his never-before-told life story — from overcoming nearly impossible odds growing up on the segregated streets of Detroit in the 1960s to achieving his dream of getting his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and winning a Grammy.

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Who You Gonna Call? pulls back the curtain to reveal Parker’s now little-known yet legendary career, with Clive Davis and other music legends sharing what it was like to collaborate with Parker, both on stage and off. 

 

Season 15 of ‘Ancient Aliens’ Headed to DVD July 19

Season 15 of the History Channel series “Ancient Aliens”  arrives on DVD July 19 from Lionsgate.

Featuring narrator Robert Clotworthy and producer Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, this season examines formerly secret government reports about unexplained events around the country and the world, along with ancient relics believed to be of extraterrestrial origin. From prehistoric stone monoliths and sacred temples to dragon gods and time travelers, the season explores ancient technology and timeless relics that span the globe and the galaxy. As the government shifts from denial of the existence of extraterrestrials’ presence on Earth to releasing their extensive — formerly secret — reports on unexplained phenomena, it explores the growing belief that aliens may not be visitors from other planets, but perhaps creatures from our own future.

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Doc ‘End of the Line’ Available on Digital and on Demand June 14 From Gravitas Ventures

The feature documentary End of the Line will be released on digital and cable on demand June 14 from Gravitas Ventures.

The film, from award-winning filmmaker Emmett Adler, is about the New York City subway crisis and a long overdue reckoning on infrastructure. Establishing the vital economic importance and grandeur of New York City’s historic subway system, the film dives into its dire modern-day troubles picking up in the late 2010s when flooding, overcrowding, power failures and derailments have become commonplace. After a particularly bad spate of disasters in the summer of 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proclaims a state of emergency and hires a new international wunderkind executive named Andy Byford to save the subways. Byford, an earnest Briton with an impressive resume, enters as a charismatic would-be hero.

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As the political turmoil behind the subway’s decline comes into sharp focus, scenes in barbershops, bodegas and bakeries show the frustration and devastation among business owners and residents who are caught in the middle. Ultimately, the COVID-19 pandemic makes things worse and brings to light America’s need to shore up its infrastructure in cities across the country and the inequality struggles that are central to this debate. 

The film is dedicated to the heroic New York City transit workers who lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic.