HBO Max Bowing ‘The Mystery of D.B. Cooper’ Doc Nov. 25

HBO and subscription streaming video platform HBO Max Nov. 25 are set to launch documentary The Mystery of D.B. Cooper, about the infamous unidentified man who in 1971 successfully hijacked and parachuted from a 727 Boeing passenger plane over Washington State with $200,000 in cash — and disappeared without a trace. The hijacker had identified himself to airplane personnel as D.B. Cooper.

Drawing from a combination of dramitizations and archival footage, as well as interviews with those most connected to the infamous case and its likeliest culprits, the documentary also explores how the heist inspired copycat hijackings and elevated Cooper to cult status and folklore.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Directed by Emmy-nominated director John Dower (Thrilla in Manila, My Scientology Movie), the doc explores the stories of four individuals fervently believed by their family and friends to be the mystery man who hijacked the plane flying out of Portland, Ore., traded the passengers’ lives for cash and four parachutes, bailed out at 10,000 feet and was never heard from again. Almost 50 years later, the case continues to confound the FBI and inspire wild speculation as it remains the only unsolved airplane hijacking in U.S. history.

D.B. Cooper is part of a collection of five crime-focused docs that premiere on Wednesdays beginning Nov. 18. Each title goes beyond the sensational headlines to explore the human toll on all sides of a crime and delves deep into the internal and external worlds of perpetrators, victims, and survivors.

The anthology includes Academy Award winner Alex Gibney’s profile of a pioneering forensic psychiatrist who has studied some of the most notorious serial killers in Crazy, Not Insane (Nov. 18); a shocking examination into Las Vegas fertility specialist, Dr. Quincy Fortier in Baby God (Dec. 2); the tale of an attempted murder by a religious snake handler in Alabama Snake (Dec. 9); and the search for justice in the aftermath of a bishop and human rights activist’s murder in Guatemala in The Art of Political Murder (Dec. 16).

‘Frontline: The Choice 2020,’ ‘And She Could Be Next’ Among Political Titles Available on PBS Documentaries Prime Channel

PBS Distribution is streaming several political titles on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in time for the upcoming Nov. 3 election.

Among the titles available are Frontline: The Choice 2020, American Experience: The Vote, And She Could Be Next, Ken Burns: The Congress, American Experience: The Presidents and Frontline: Whose Vote Counts.

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

Frontline: The Choice 2020 offers interwoven investigative biographies of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden and examines the defining moments that shaped Trump and Biden’s lives, their approaches to power, and their visions for America’s future at this pivotal juncture.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

One hundred years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, American Experience: The Vote tells the dramatic story of the hard-fought campaign waged by American women for the right to vote, a transformative cultural and political movement that resulted in the largest expansion of voting rights in U.S. history. In its final decade, from 1909 to 1920, movement leaders wrestled with contentious questions about the most effective methods for affecting social change, debating the use of militant, even violent tactics, as well as hunger strikes and relentless public protests. The battle also upended previously accepted ideas about the proper role of women in American society and challenged the definitions of citizenship and democracy. Exploring how and why millions of 20th-century Americans mobilized for — and against — women’s suffrage, The Vote brings to life the unsung leaders of the movement and the deep controversies over gender roles and race that divided Americans then — and continue to dominate political discourse today.

Follow us on Instagram

And She Could Be Next follows a defiant movement of women of color as they transform politics from the ground up. Filmed during the historic 2018 midterm elections, the series follows organizers and candidates (including Rashida Tlaib and Stacey Abrams) as they fight for a truly reflective government, asking whether democracy can be preserved — and made stronger — by those most marginalized.

In Ken Burns: The Congress, Burns profiles a durable American institution in his portrait of the U.S. Congress. Narrated by David McCullough, the film uses historic footage and interviews with “insiders” David Broder, Alistair Cooke and Cokie Roberts to detail the first 200 years. The film chronicles careers of notable members and charts the continuing growth of the Capitol building, in readings from diary entries, letters and famous speeches.

American Experience: The Presidents, including JFK, Nixon, George W. Bush, Clinton and George H. W. Bush, includes five programs taking a look at some of America’s most influential presidents of the 20th century. Focusing on the intersection of public and private, character and history, these programs examine pivotal moments in each of the presidencies and how they affected the country. Viewers will look at George W. Bush and his unorthodox road to the presidency; George H. W. Bush and his life and career as the 41st president; Clinton and his meteoric rise in state politics; JFK, with a new perspective on his private life and reevaluation of his time in the Oval Office; and Nixon, with a look at one of American history’s most powerful figures, exploring a fateful mix of strength and weakness that made him president, and then brought him down.

Finally, Frontline: Whose Vote Counts, available Oct. 21, investigates allegations of voter fraud and disenfranchisement in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

‘Chicago 10’ Animated Documentary Reissued On Demand

Participant, River Road Entertainment and Giant Pictures will re-release Chicago 10, the acclaimed 2007 feature documentary written and directed by Brett Morgen (On the Ropes, Jane).

The documentary, about the arrest and trial of eight Vietnam War protesters on charges of inciting a riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, will be available on demand via Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video and FandangoNow.

Chicago 10 explores the build-up to and the unraveling of the protesters’ conspiracy trial. The protesters include such famous counter-culture figures as Abbie Hoffman,  Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale, and Tom Hayden. After numerous outbursts, Seale was severed from the case and sentenced to four years in prison on 16 contempt charges. The title of the film is drawn from a quote by Rubin, who said, “Anyone who calls us the Chicago Seven is a racist. Because you’re discrediting Bobby Seale. You can call us the Chicago Eight, but really we’re the Chicago 10, because our two lawyers went down with us.”

The trial resulted in five of the seven convicted for inciting riots. All were acquitted of conspiracy, but sentenced to lengthy jail terms for contempt of court. Later, the contempt charges were reversed, and all of the convictions for inciting riots were overturned.

The film blends interviews with narration, and archival footage with animation. The film moves back and forth from the streets of Chicago to the courtroom, merging the past and present.

Animated segments are voiced by actors Hank Azaria, Mark Ruffalo, Jeffrey Wright, Roy Scheider, Liev Schreiber and Nick Nolte.

Docs ‘Pizza, A Love Story’ and ‘Seniors: A Dogumentary’ Due on DVD Sept. 29 From MVD

Two documentaries, Pizza, A Love Story and Seniors: A Dogumentary, are coming out on DVD and VOD Sept. 29 from MVD Entertainment Group and What Were We Thinking Films.

Pizza, A Love Story explores three pizza places in New Haven, Conn., Sally’s, Pepe’s and Modern. They are not only a cornerstone of New Haven’s Italian-American heritage but also the establishments that set the bar for this immediately recognizable comfort food.

Filmmaker Gorman Bechard tells the story of the evolution of this modern day food staple from the landing of Italian immigrants on our shores to the rusted wheels of Frank Pepe’s bread cart, taking a journey from old world Italy into present-day New Haven.

Pizza, A Love Story is not just a tale of three restaurants but of three families. Extras include commentary from director Gorman Bechard and co-producers Dean Falcone and Colin M. Caplan; Lyle Lovett on Pepe’s Pizzeria; Michael Bolton on Wooster Street; Making Pizza with Modern’s Bill Pustari; “Italian American culture in New Haven”; “Urban Renewal in New Haven”; “Hy Katz Explains the Pizza Boy Song”; “There Can Be No Favorites”; Q&A with director Gorman Bechard and co-producers Dean Falcone and Colin M. Caplan on opening night in New Haven; the original opening; and original trailers.

End_off_time_01.TIF

Seniors: A Dogumentary is a portrayal of the vitality of senior dogs and features Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary, the celebrated forever-foster home-based sanctuary in Mount Juliet, Tenn., and Chaser the Border Collie, known as the smartest dog in the world.

Their stories are brought together through the lens of famed photographer Jane Sobel Klonsky. Klonsky is the author of the book Unconditional: Older Dogs, Deeper Love. She specializes in capturing the cherished relationship between senior dogs and their owners.

The film follows Zina and Michael Goodin, the Old Friends founders, as they relocate into their current facilities, and introduces viewers to Leo, a social media phenom who became the most popular dog in the sanctuary’s history. Viewers also meet Dr. John W. Pilley Jr. and his beloved Chaser. Not only had Chaser learned the names of over 1,000 toys, she could also differentiate between nouns and verbs, understand full sentences, and mimic Dr. Pilley’s actions after just observing them once. Director Bechard also made A Dog Named Gucci (winner of the 2015 ASPCA Media Excellence Award).

Extras include a Q&A at the world premiere in Nashville; watching the total solar eclipse at Old Friends Senior Dogs Sanctuary; “Jane photographs Leo and Friends”; “Michael’s Thoughts on Senior Dogs”; “More about Leo”; “Springsteen vs. the Paper Towel Roll”; Jane’s photographs of the dogs at Old Friends Senior Dogs Sanctuary; behind-the-scenes photographs; director’s commentary; and trailers.

Doc ‘The Blech Effect’ Coming to VOD and EST Aug. 25 From Virgil

The documentary The Blech Effect: The Rise and Fall of the King of Biotech will come out on VOD and electronic sellthrough Aug. 25 from Virgil Films.

The film chronicles the life of David Blech, who would be a multi-billionaire — if only he were in a coma for the last 15 years. In his early 20s, David was a pioneer investor in biotech companies and helped create an industry that has grown to be on the cutting edge of the world’s greatest medical cures, saving countless lives. Blech’s wealth grew with the industry. According to Forbes Magazine, he was once worth more than $300 million, and he was on the Fortune 400 list. He became known as the “King of Biotech” and his influence on the market coined the term “The Blech Effect.” But Blech struggled with bipolar disorder and a gambling addiction. He once hoped to be remembered for helping to create an industry that saves lives; instead he ended up $11 million in debt, struggling to keep his family afloat and awaiting a jail sentence.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Blech Effect follows a protagonist all too self-aware yet still unable to control his worst impulses, a wife and mother who is both a saint and enabler, and a beloved child heartbreaking in his beauty and disability.

PBS Launches PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel

PBS Distribution Aug. 4 will launch a new documentary-focused Prime Video Channel called PBS Documentaries.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel, which allows access to PBS content outside the PBS Video App, is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription via Prime Video Channels and is available in the United States only.

The PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel library will include the entire Ken Burns collection as well as programs from “Nova,” “Frontline,” “American Masters,” “Nature,” “American Experience,” “Independent Lens,” “POV” and many independent producers.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“PBS is the leader of high-quality, compelling nonfiction entertainment, and the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is a natural addition to our current streaming offering on Prime Video Channels — PBS Masterpiece, PBS Living and PBS Kids,” Andrea Downing, co-president of PBS Distribution, said in a statement. “This channel will not only help bring engaging stories about life in all corners of our country to a new audience, it will provide needed revenues to sustain public broadcasting’s public-private partnership model for the benefit of all stations and the communities they serve.”

The entire Ken Burns collection will also be available via PBS Passport, a member benefit available within the PBS Video App.

Follow us on Instagram

“We had long hoped to be able to have all of our films available in one place so the public would have access to the body of work,” added Ken Burns in a statement. “We’re thrilled that this is now possible thanks to the efforts of PBS Distribution and Amazon to launch the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel and also through PBS’s Passport initiative that allows viewers to support their public television stations. Both will also contribute to the larger mission of PBS.”

“’Frontline’ was founded on the belief that long-form documentaries could inform, educate and inspire public television’s audiences — and during these historic times, deeply reported and easily accessible journalism is invaluable,” “Frontline” executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath said in a statement. “Through this new channel, we’re excited to see our documentaries reach new and existing streaming audiences.”

At launch, the channel will feature nearly 1,000 hours of programming, including Ken Burns’ series The Civil War and Country Music, Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution and Academy Award-Nominated films such as “Frontline’s” For Sama and American Experiences Last Days in Vietnam.

“I’m thrilled to see that my work will find a new home on this channel,” Nelson said in a statement. “PBS has become a premier destination for documentary programming in the U.S. and has been hugely invested in giving films by diverse storytellers and emerging filmmakers much-needed national exposure. I’m so glad that my film on the Black Panther Party, which can inform communities in our current historical moment, will be able to reach different audiences on this new service.”

Docs ‘Secrets of Highclere Castle,’ ‘Hudson River School’ Coming to PBS Living in July

The documentaries Secrets of Highclere Castle and The Hudson River School: Artistic Pioneers begin streaming on PBS Living in July from PBS Distribution.

The subscription rate for the PBS Living Channel is $2.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription. PBS Living is also available on Apple TV Channels in the Apple TV app at a subscription rate of $2.99 per month with no additional annual fees.

In Secrets of Highclere Castle, viewers get the insider story about the famous mansion from the multi Emmy award-winning series “Downton Abbey.” Viewers step inside one of Britain’s best-known manor houses. It may be more famous now than any time in its 1,300-year history as the setting of “Downton Abbey,” but England’s Highclere Castle has its own stories to tell. In its heyday, Highclere was the social epicenter of Edwardian England. Viewers see how all the inhabitants of Highclere lived, from the aristocrats who enjoyed a life of luxury to the army of servants toiling “below stairs.” They also find out how the current inhabitants, Lord and Lady Carnarvon, spend their $1 million in annual upkeep funds, and what life in the castle is like today.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In The Hudson River School: Artistic Pioneers, viewers learn about a group of artists who captured images of 19th century America in their lifelike landscape paintings.

Follow us on Instagram

In the vicinity of New York’s Hudson River Valley, the Adirondack Mountains, Catskill Mountains and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, a group of American painters led by British born artist Thomas Cole forged an artistic vision of the American wilderness. This was the first American school of landscape painting that emerged between 1825 and 1880. In addition to Cole, men with the names of Asher Durand, Jasper Cropsey, Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Church would impress the world with their creative brilliance and wondrous vision. On canvas they would bring to life 19th century America through imagination, interpretation, color and conviction. The Hudson River School: Artistic Pioneers focuses on the story of these men and their message, its founder Cole, and other influential celebrants of this movement.

Imax Documentaries Headed to Hulu

With most movie theaters, including Imax screens, still shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, Imax has reportedly inked a deal with Disney-owned Hulu to stream a slate of 16 theatrical documentaries on the SVOD platform beginning this summer.

Titles include Pandas, Into the Deep, Space Station and A Beautiful Planet, Superpower Dogs, the Oscar-nominated Fires of Kuwait, Galapagos, Hail Columbia! and Journey to the South Pacific, among others.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“With people at home there is an immense and growing desire for discovery, particularly for students, families and children. For years Imax has helped share the power of the natural world and the potential of human existence, and now, together with Hulu, we can bring those incredible, enlightening experiences to millions more,” Megan Colligan, president of Imax Entertainment, said in a statement.

Since the first Imax film, Tiger Child, debuted at Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan, Imax has helped transport audiences into realistic screen images across more than 75 documentaries using proprietary technology. Imax originals have been nominated for Academy Awards (Fires of Kuwait 1992), traveled to the depths of the sea (Journey to the South Pacific 2013), and ventured into space 24 times.

Hollywood’s stars lending their voices to Imax docs, include narrations from Tom Cruise (Space Station 2002), Jennifer Lawrence (A Beautiful Planet 2016), Kristen Bell (Pandas 2018), and more. The forthcoming Asteroid Hunters is narrated by Daisy Ridley.

Many of the Imax docs headed to Hulu have also been filmed or digitally remastered with brilliant, proprietary visual and audio technology.

Colligan says that despite Hulu featuring Imax’s coveted screen and sound features, it will still be able to convey to streamers specific world experiences and information about science and exploration, among other topics.

“[Hulu is] absolutely crafted for immersive sound and the immersive screen,” she said. “School has ended and many kids and families across the country are searching for co-viewing content.”

Doc ‘Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies’ Debuts on Digital HD July 7 From Virgil

The documentary Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies is coming to Digital HD July 7 from Virgil Films.

It explores the career of Alan Ladd Jr. — known to friends and colleagues as Laddie — the understated studio chief and Oscar-winning producer behind the films Star Wars, Alien, Blade Runner, Chariots of Fire, Police Academy, Braveheart, The Omen, Thelma and Louise, Young Frankenstein, Gone Baby Gone and a staggering 154 more. During his 50-plus year career, garnering more than 50 Academy Award wins and more then 150 nominations, he worked with world-famous filmmakers and actors — many of whom became household names on his watch — and brought to life some of the most influential films of our time.

In Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies, Amanda Ladd-Jones endeavors to better understand her father — to see him not just as “Dad,” the man who spent the majority of her childhood at the office — but the way his collaborators do, as a doyen of modern American cinema.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The doc includes interviews with Ben Affleck, Mel Brooks, Richard Donner, Morgan Freeman, Mel Gibson, Ron Howard, George Lucas, Ridley Scott and Sigourney Weaver.

Netflix Offers Free Documentary Streaming to Teachers on Its YouTube Channel

Netflix has expanded it free documentary screening program for teachers, offing a selection of titles on the Netflix U.S. YouTube channel.

“For many years, Netflix has allowed teachers to screen documentaries in their classrooms. However, this isn’t possible with schools closed,” read the Netflix blog post. “So at their request, we have made a selection of our documentary features and series available on the Netflix U.S. YouTube Channel.

“Each title also has educational resources available, which can be used by both students and teachers — and we’ll be doing Q&As with some of the creators behind these projects so that students can hear from them firsthand.

“We hope this will, in a small way, help teachers around the world.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The documentaries are currently available in English, but subtitles in more than a dozen languages will be available later this week, according to the post. “Please check the ratings so that you can make informed choices for your students and children,” the post requested.

Offered on the channel is the film 13th, Ava DuVernay’s documentary with a title that refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay, featuring a mixture of archival footage and testimony from a activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men. Educational resources are here.

Also available is season one of the series “Abstract.” “Abstract: The Art of Design” takes you beyond blueprints into the art, science, and philosophy of design. The series goes inside the minds of the world’s greatest designers, showcasing the most inspiring visionaries from a variety of disciplines whose work shapes our culture and future. Educational resources are here

Select episodes of the series “Babies” are available. Filmed over the course of three years, “Babies” explores the miracle of the first full year of life through the pioneering work of leading scientists from across the globe. The series examines the epic journey every person embarks on, from helpless newborn to independent toddler. The series follows the life-changing adventures of 15 international families and featuring the latest research from eminent scientists who share their personal journeys of discovery into the infant mind. Educational resources are here.

The film Chasing Coral  taps into the collective will and wisdom of an ad man, a self-proclaimed coral nerd, top-notch camera designers, and renowned marine biologists as they invent the first time-lapse camera to record bleaching events as they happen. Educational materials are here.

Follow us on Instagram

Available are select episodes of the series “Explained.” In partnership with Vox Media Studios and Vox, this explainer series takes viewers deep inside a wide range of culturally relevant topics, questions and ideas. Each episode explores current events and social trends pulled from the zeitgeist, touching topics across politics, science, history and pop culture — featuring interviews with some of the most authoritative experts in their respective fields. Educational resources are coming soon.

The film Knock Down the House follows four women who mount grassroots campaigns against powerful incumbents in the 2018 midterm elections that tipped the balance of power. When tragedy struck her family in the middle of the financial crisis, Bronx-born Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to work double shifts as a bartender to save her home from foreclosure. After losing a loved one to a preventable medical condition, Amy Vilela didn’t know what to do with the anger she felt about America’s broken health care system. Cori Bush, a registered nurse and pastor, was drawn to the streets when the police shooting of an unarmed black man brought protests and tanks into her neighborhood. A coal miner’s daughter, Paula Jean Swearengin was fed up with watching her friends and family suffer from the environmental effects of the coal industry. Educational resources are here.

The series “Our Planet”  is available. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, the eight-part series explores the wonders of our natural world from the creators of the award-winning series “Planet Earth.” Educational materials are here.

The short Period. End of Sentence. is available. The documentary short directed by Rayka Zehtabchi tells the story of women in a rural village outside Delhi, India, who fight against the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation. For generations, these women didn’t have access to pads, which lead to health problems and girls missing school or dropping out entirely. But when a sanitary pad machine is installed in the village, the women learn to manufacture and market their own pads, empowering the women of their community. Educational resources are here.

The short The White Helmets is available. The Netflix original short documentary, set in Aleppo, Syria and Turkey in early 2016 follows three volunteer rescue workers as they put everything on the line to save civilians affected by the war, all the while wracked with worry about the safety of their own loved ones. Educational materials are here

The short Zion is available. It’s the portrait of Zion Clark, a young wrestler born without legs who grew up in foster care. Educational materials are here.