Documentary ‘All These Sons’ Available on VOD From Gravitas Ventures

Gravitas Ventures, an Anthem Sports & Entertainment company, has acquired exclusive VOD distribution rights in the United States and Canada to All These Sons — available now on VOD.

The sophomore documentary of Academy and Emmy Award-nominated director Bing Liu (Minding the Gap) and feature directorial debut of award-winning editor Joshua Altman premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won Best Cinematography, Documentary Feature. 

All These Sons is a compassionate look at two Chicago groups dedicated to educating and empowering young Black individuals on Chicago’s South and West sides. The programs attempt to disrupt the conditions that produce violence in the first place by holistically investing in the young people most at risk of being victims or perpetrators of gun violence through street outreach, life coaching, education, employment and more.

“This documentary is vital because it adds the rich and complex human dimension to the ‘gun violence epidemic’ narrative in Chicago,” Marshall Hatch Jr., executive director of the MAAFA Redemption Project, one of the organizations highlighted in the film, said in a statement. “The young men and women at the center of the film, the historical context that informs their neighborhood conditions, and the creative community-led solutions that are bubbling up are important ingredients to the current national discourse around ‘public safety.’”

Filmmakers Liu and Altman follow three program participants — Shamont, Zay and Charles — as they wrestle with their pasts and, with the guidance of their mentors, construct a better future.

“The film makes clear that the genius and promise of Chicago’s young people are key to moving us forward,” Hatch Jr. added. “For this reason, the response to the film has been largely the same. There is a real sense of hope for an issue that often feels intractable.”

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Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is managing partner of Chicago CRED, an organization committed to reducing gun violence in Chicago that works with many of the participants highlighted in the film.

“The film elevates the voices of individuals at risk who are putting down their guns and changing their lives,” he said in a statement. “To those still caught up in lives of violence, this film shows what’s possible.”

“We went in wanting to draw attention towards the work being done to uplift communities on Chicago’s South and West sides as an alternative way of addressing the gun violence there,” filmmakers Liu and Altman said in a statement. “Throughout our time filming, we were reminded of the historical oppression folks in these communities have faced but also inspired by their resilience and the lessons of forgiveness and Sankofa — reaching back to the past in order to construct a better future.”

All These Sons is produced by Concordia Studio, Zak Piper, Kelsey Carr, Bing Liu and Joshua Altman. The film is executive produced by Davis Guggenheim, Laurene Powell Jobs, Nicole Stott, Jonathan Silberberg, Rahdi Taylor and Shannon Dill. Carina Nieto is co-producer.

Doc ‘1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed’ Debuts on HBO, HBO Max May 2

The HBO original documentary film 1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed, directed by W. Kamau Bell (“United Shades of America”), debuts May 2 on HBO and HBO Max. 
Through a series of conversations, Emmy-winning producer, director, host and comedian W. Kamau Bell explores the experiences of mixed kids and families in the San Francisco Bay Area. The film was inspired by Kamau and his wife Melissa’s desire to better understand what life is like for their mixed daughters, who are navigating issues of identity in a world that often asks them to pick a side. The film reveals the joys and complexities of growing up mixed in today’s America. 

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“As a father of three mixed daughters, directing this film was a deeply personal and profound journey of discovery,” Bell said in a statement. “I wanted to create something lyrical and playful in a way that we don’t normally associate with these conversations but is often the way they happen in my home. My hope is in sharing the stories of these dynamic young people, it will give audiences a window into their worlds and open the door for further dialogue around race, culture, and identity. We all know that this entire country needs it.”

Tubi Partnering With Vice Media for Original Documentaries, Including ‘The Cult of Elon’

Fox-owned ad-supported VOD service Tubi April 3 announced it has entered an exclusive content deal with Vice Media Group for eight Tubi original documentaries.

The first documentary, The Cult of Elon, will debut on April 24 and follow the story of Elon Musk and Tesla’s success, examining his path to becoming one of the most influential (and controversial) businessman by creating an immensely powerful cult of personality.

The second doc, Vigilante, Inc., bows May 6, investigating the volatile world of online vigilantism, as told through a recent manhunt for an arsonist in Los Angeles — fueled by the crime and neighborhood watch app Citizen.

The remaining docs cover topics such as chatbot technology, mass shootings in the United States and ticket scalping.

“These original documentaries will raise the curtain and spark conversation on stories that tap into today’s cultural zeitgeist, including ticket scalping, chatbots and the rise of online vigilantism,” Adam Lewinson, chief content officer of Tubi, said in a statement.

Subrata De, EVP of Vice News, added,”We are looking forward to bringing our cinematic storytelling and journalism to the Tubi audience.”

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Doc ‘Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb’ Headed Home

The documentary Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb will be released digitally March 28 and on DVD April 11 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Two literary legends — writer Robert Caro and his longtime editor Robert Gottlieb — have worked together to create some of the greatest non-fiction books in history. Now 86, Caro is determined to complete the final volume of his masterwork, The Years of Lyndon Johnson; Gottlieb, 91, wants to edit it. With humor and insight, this unique double portrait reveals the work habits, peculiarities, and professional joys of these two ferocious intellects as they attempt to finish the final masterstroke in their lives’ work.

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PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel to Bow Carousel for Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

This April, the  PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel will launch a special carousel in anticipation of Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May.

The PBS programs recognize the historical and cultural contributions of individuals and groups of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to the United States.

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

The titles that will be on the carousel include “Asian Americans,” “American Experience: Mr. Tornado,” “Rising Against Asian Hate: One Day in March,” “American Masters: Tyrus,” “Frontline: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” “A Tale of Three Chinatowns,” “First Vote,” “Frontline: President Xie,”  “Great Performances: Beethoven in Beijing,” “American Experience: Plague at the Golden Gate” and “Frontline: A Thousand Cuts.”

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Other titles coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in April include “La Frontera with Pati Jinich” season two on April 3; “The Sun Queen” (“American Experience”) on April 4; “America and the Taliban” season one (“Frontline”) on April 4; “Reel South” volume eight on April 11; “My Grandparents’ War” season two on April 11; “Weather the Future” (“Nova”) on April 12; “Hummingbird Effect” (“Nature”) on April 12; “Picture a Scientist” (“Nova”) on April 15; “Niagara Falls” (“Nature”) on April 19; “Changing Planet” season two on April 19; “Treasure of the Caribbean” on April 26; “Chasing Carbon Zero” (“Nova”) on April 26; and “Bill Nye: Science Guy” on April 26.

Doc ‘It’s Quieter in the Twilight’ Headed to Theaters and On Demand May 19 From Gravitas Ventures

Gravitas Ventures has acquired worldwide rights to Weigel Production’s documentary It’s Quieter in the Twilight.

The film, which premiered at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival and is helmed by first time director Billy Miossi, will be distributed theatrically and on demand May 19.

The Voyager mission, launched in 1977,  enthralled the world as the dual man-made spacecrafts blasted off. They have since traveled farther than humankind ever has. The film memorializes the people who guide this spacecraft on its incredible path — engineers from rural South Korea, the Jim Crow South, the U.S./Mexico border and across the globe, who overcame enormous obstacles to pilot two aging spacecraft into the depths of the universe. Together, they battle outmoded technology and dwindling sunlight to pursue unparalleled discovery in the twilight of their own careers and lives.

“The world should know these unsung explorers and  the essential role they’ve played in humanity’s most ambitious adventure,” Miossi said in a statement.

The project features members of NASA’s Voyager Flight Team, Todd Barber, Jefferson Hall, Sun Matsumoto, Enrique Medina, Fernando Peralta and Chris Jones, and includes project manager Suzanne Dodd and Ed Stone, Voyager’s long-standing Project scientist.

At its launch in March 2022, as part of the feature documentary competition at SXSW, the film helped build the wave of current documentaries popularizing feats of exploration in space. It’s Quieter in the Twilight celebrates the celestial journey of the aging Voyager spacecrafts as they timelessly transcend earthly boundaries and inspire human potential.

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The film was produced by Matt Reynolds and Executive Produced by Alissa Shapiro.

“We are thrilled to partner with Gravitas Ventures to bring Voyager’s cosmic adventure and yet uniquely human tale of their guardian angels to audiences everywhere,” Shapiro, executive producer at Weigel Productions, said in a statement.

“Gravitas is excited for audiences to experience It’s Quieter in the Twilight in theaters and on VOD this spring, and beyond,” Bill Guentzler, senior director of acquisitions at Gravitas Ventures, said in a statement. “We believe those who see the film will connect to this group of extremely passionate people who have dedicated their lives to oversee this unimaginable voyage and because of their passion, allow the human race to explore farther than ever thought possible.”

Doc ‘Being Mary Tyler Moore’ Headed to HBO, HBO Max in May

The HBO original documentary film Being Mary Tyler Moore, directed by Emmy winning filmmaker James Adolphus (“Soul of a Nation”) and produced by Lena Waithe (A Thousand and One), Debra Martin Chase (Harriet) and Ben Selkow (HBO’s “Q: Into The Storm”), debuts this May on HBO and HBO Max.
With unprecedented access to Mary Tyler Moore’s vast archive, the documentary chronicles the screen icon whose storied career spanned 60 years. Weaving Moore’s personal narrative with the beats of her professional accomplishments, the film highlights her groundbreaking roles and the indelible impact she had on generations of women who came after her.
Moore’s career broke boundaries in different eras, most notably in her comedic roles as Laura Petrie in the ’60s sitcom “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and as single career woman Mary Richards on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the ’70s, both of which put her at the forefront of female representation on television and cemented her as a role model for independent working women. Acknowledging that much of herself was woven into her sunny characters, she nevertheless struggled behind the scenes, dealing privately with immeasurable tragedy in her personal life, some of which was echoed in her portrayal of a grieving mother in the 1980 film Ordinary People, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. In the last 35 years of her life, Moore went through a transformative period of self-discovery, moving to New York City, finding true love, and going on to become an impactful global advocate for diabetes research.

Being Mary Tyler Moore documents the life of a complex artist who shifted the dynamics of how women were portrayed on television, had far-reaching influence on the business through her own production company, and helped affect great change through her work as International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).  

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Lending their voices to the film are family members, colleagues and those whose lives Mary Tyler Moore impacted including directors Rob Reiner, Michael Lindsay-Hogg and Jim Burrows; actors Ed Asner, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lena Waithe, Phylicia Rashad, Bernadette Peters and Joel Grey; writers and producers Allan Burns, James L. Brooks, Norman Lear, Debra Martin Chase, Treva Silverman, Susan Silver, and Moore’s husband, Dr. S. Robert Levine.

Doc ‘Love to Love You, Donna Summer’ to Debut in May on HBO, HBO Max

The HBO original documentary Love to Love You, Donna Summer will debut in May 2023 on HBO and on the streaming service HBO Max.
Directed by Oscar and Emmy-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams (“Life Animated,” HBO’s “The Apollo”) and Brooklyn Sudano, daughter of Donna Summer, the documentary is an intimate portrait of “The Queen Of Disco.” Shaped by Summer’s own reflections, the memories of close family, friends and colleagues, it’s an in-depth look at the iconic artist as she created music that took her from the avant-garde music scene in Germany to the glitter and bright lights of dance clubs in New York, to worldwide acclaim, her voice and artistry becoming the defining soundtrack of an era. A deeply personal portrait of Summer on and off the stage, the film features a wealth of photographs and never-before-seen home video footage — often shot by Summer herself — and provides a window into the range of her artistry, from songwriting to painting, while exploring the highs and lows of a life lived on the global stage.

Love to Love You, Donna Summer will have its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival.

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Doc ‘Being Thunder’ Headed to DVD and Digital Jan. 10 From Film Movement

The documentary Being Thunder will be released on DVD and digital Jan. 10 from Film Movement.

The film, an Official Selection of Frameline, NewFest, The American Indian Film Festival and the Inside Out Film Festival, introduces the Native American role of a two-spirit person, who embodies masculine and feminine qualities through many gender expressions informed by Indigenous traditions and community roles. The film focuses on the life and advocacy of Sherente Mishitahin Harris, a two-spirit genderqueer teenager from Rhode Island’s Narragansett tribe. 

Wearing traditional female dress, Sherente joyfully performs a traditional female dance in competition at Powwows around New England, but not everyone accepts Sherente’s inclusion in the “girls” category. Being Thunder is the stirring story of Sherente’s persistence, aided by love and unconditional support from peers and family. From facing biased Powwow judges to tackling college applications, Sherente shines through as a role model for youth worldwide to go against the grain and live their authentic selves with tenacity and grace.

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French filmmaker Stephanie Lamorré quietly documents Sherente’s life and family interactions over the course of several years, revealing the struggles and triumphs faced by the determined teen courageously navigating questions of identity, expression, and how to be one’s authentic self.

Being Thunder is a rare example of a three-dimensional, Indigenous LGBTQ+ BIPOC story, demonstrating the need for far more on screen representation, according to a Film Movement release.


‘Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World’ Among Titles on PBS Documentaries Prime Video in January

The documentary series “Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World” and the ninth season of “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” arrive this January on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel.

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

Featuring firsthand accounts from some of rap’s most integral players, “Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World” recounts the origins of this bold and revolutionary art form through the voices of those who were there at the beginning, creating an anthology of how hip hop became a cultural phenomenon against the backdrop of American history. Weaving together interconnected moments via intimate interviews and archival footage, ”Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World” covers four years of Hip Hop history and explores how the genre quickly created a provocative narrative of America. The series, which begins streaming Jan. 31, was developed by rap icon Chuck D and features interviews with legendary artists Ice-T, Fat Joe, Run DMC and MC Lyte, among others.

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“Finding Your Roots” highlights the genealogical backgrounds and ancestral stories of prominent guests that helped to define who they are today. In the ninth season, Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. sits down with actors Jamie Chung (“Lovecraft Country”), Brian Cox (“Succession”), Billy Crudup (“The Morning Show”), Claire Danes (“Homeland”), Jeff Daniels (“American Rust”), Viola Davis (The Woman King), David Duchovny (“The X-Files”), Richard Kind (Inside Out), Joe Manganiello (“True Blood”), Tamera Mowry-Housley (“The Real”), Edward Norton (Fight Club), Julia Roberts (Ticket to Paradise) and Danny Trejo (Machete); pop icon Cyndi Lauper; comedians Carol Burnett and Niecy Nash; athlete and sportscaster Tony Gonzalez; journalists Jim Acosta and Van Jones; activist Angela Y. Davis; and statesman Jeh Johnson. The ninth season begins streaming Jan. 3.

 Other titles coming to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel in January include:

  • The Letter: A Message for Our Earth Jan 2
  • The Lie Detector (“American Experience”) Jan. 3
  • Global Spyware Sandal: Exposing Pegasus (“Frontline”) Jan. 3
  • First Contact: An Alien Encounter Jan. 4
  • Marian Anderson: The Whole World in their Hands Jan. 16
  • Secrets of the Dead: Hidden in the Amazon Jan. 16
  • Breach of Trust Jan. 16
  • Wildheart (“Nature”) Jan. 18
  • The Earthshot Prize Jan. 20
  • Soul of the Ocean (“Nature”) Jan. 25
  • Putin and the Presidents (“Frontline”) Jan. 31