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.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Documentary About Russian Opposition Leader ‘Navalny’ Streaming on HBO Max

The CNN Films and HBO Max co-produced documentary thriller Navalny, about anti-corruption Russian government opposition leader Alexei Navalny, is available to stream on HBO Max.

The film, directed by filmmaker Daniel Roher, follows Navalny after he survived an assassination attempt by poisoning with a lethal nerve agent. 

In August 2020, a plane traveling from Siberia to Moscow made an emergency landing. One of its passengers, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was deathly ill. He was taken to a local Siberian hospital and evacuated to Berlin, where the German government eventually determined he had been poisoned with Novichok, a lethal nerve agent implicated in attacks on other opponents of the Russian government. Navalny and his team learned about the attempt on his life from the data investigative journalism outlet Bellingcat, which along with other international news organizations, including CNN, uncovered crucial details about the plot and its potential links to the Kremlin. President Vladimir Putin denied any involvement in the attack and accused news organizations that reported on the investigation of “information warfare,” facilitated by foreign special services.  Despite the risks to his personal safety, Navalny willingly returned to Russia on Jan. 17, 2021, and was arrested moments after landing in Moscow.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In Navalny, shot as the story unfolded, filmmaker Roher reveals a courageous and controversial would-be president at the precipice of sacrificing everything in order to bring reform to his homeland. It is Roher’s hope that the film will spark “global outrage and outcry” over Navalny’s imprisonment, according to an HBO Max press release.

The film won both the Documentary Audience Award and the Festival Favorite Award at the Sundance Film Festival.

Our Father

STREAMING REVIEW: 

Netflix;
Documentary;
Not rated.

Our Father is a real-life horror thriller, exploring the disturbing results of power in the wrong hands.

The story starts with Jacoba Ballard, an only child conceived via donor sperm. An at-home DNA test led her to the discovery of not one, but seven half-siblings — a number that defied best practices in fertility medicine. As the group set out to learn more about their curious family tree, they soon found out the sickening truth: Their parents’ fertility doctor had been inseminating his patients with his own sperm — without their knowledge or consent.

Each new revelation in this film elicits an astonished gasp. The discoveries build in intensity as viewers learn the extent of this doctor’s carelessness, conceit and deceit. A well-respected member of the community with a family at home, he somehow found it necessary to break the trust of the women he treated, violating them in a most intimate way and playing God with his own offspring. These children now walk the world wondering if they may unwittingly bump into a half-brother or half-sister.

The horror is amplified by their father’s dismissive and cold attitude toward his enormous brood as they look for answers and take legal action. He seems incapable of comprehending the pain he has caused. Indeed, he remains a puzzle. Like his children, the audience is left wondering why he did it, what drove him and why he got away with it for so many years. If there is a weakness in the film, it’s that viewers are left with few answers about the man at the center of the story.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Still, Our Father brings up important moral questions and uncovers a blind spot in a legal system that was not set up to properly protect the rights of families created via fertility treatment. This left them vulnerable to a perverted man on the cutting edge of science who was fittingly caught by the availability of new technology — DNA testing.

HBO Max to Stream Documentary on Lizzo

A new Max Original untitled Lizzo documentary will follow three-time Grammy Award-winning superstar singer, songwriter, rapper, flutist and actress Lizzo.
 
The HBO Max documentary shares the inspirational story behind her humble beginnings to her meteoric rise with an intimate look into the moments that shaped her hard-earned rise to fame, success, love and international stardom.
 
“To get the chance to work with someone we have admired and adored for so long is a dream come true,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content at HBO Max. “Lizzo’s formidable talent has entertained and inspired millions, and we are ecstatic to help share her incredible journey.” 

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Growing up I never dreamed I’d get to experience all of the things I’ve accomplished in my life, and I’m just getting started,” said Lizzo. “I’m so excited I get to share and relive my journey with my fans and HBO Max. From ‘Cuz I Love You’ to my dramatic world tour, losing and gaining love, and creating my new album ‘Special,’ y’all get to see the amount of time, patience, blood, sweat and tears that went into this process. It takes ten years to become an ‘overnight success,’ and hopefully I can inspire other young creatives to keep going.” 

Disney+ to Stream Documentary on Elton John

Disney Original Documentary and Disney+ have announced the feature documentary Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: The Final Elton John Performances and The Years That Made His Legend.

From Academy Award-nominee R.J. Cutler and filmmaker David Furnish, the documentary will serve as the official feature on Elton John, comprised of unseen concert footage of him over the past 50 years, hand-written journals and present-day footage of him and his family. Following a festival run and limited theatrical release, the film will be available exclusively on Disney+. 

Rooted in Elton John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour,” the feature documentary film will capture his final months on the road, culminating in his final North American show at Dodger Stadium this upcoming November. The film will also look back at the first five years of John’s career when, between 1970 and 1975, he released 10 albums, seven of which went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts and became a global phenomenon. The documentary will include exclusive new interviews and performance clips from Madison Square Garden, London and other performance venues.

“There are no superlatives left to describe Elton John and his impact on music and culture — he’s simply unrivaled,” Bob Chapek, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said in a statement. “Like a good Disney story, Elton’s music has both universal appeal and the ability to connect with audiences on a deeply personal level. He has been part of the Disney family since 1994 when he helped make The Lion King an instant classic, and we could not be more excited to collaborate with him on this new documentary.”

“Working with R.J. Cutler and David Furnish on what will undoubtedly become the definitional film about the iconic Elton John is a great honor,” Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television, said in a statement. “Their incredible vision and intimate access to exclusive, never-before-seen anecdotes and footage will provide the deepest, most captivating insight yet into one of the world’s most beloved and prolific artists.”

In addition to directing, R.J. Cutler will also produce the film under his company, This Machine Filmworks, as will David Furnish, who will produce under his and Elton John’s formed Rocket Entertainment. Trevor Smith will also serve as producer. Joining as executive producers are John Battsek, Jane Cha Cutler and Elise Pearlstein.

“What a thrill and an honor it is that David Furnish and I get to create this intimate and unique look at one of the world’s most celebrated artists,” director and producer Cutler said in a statement. “As it has for so many others, Elton John’s music has had deep meaning for me for decades, and this opportunity is nothing short of a career highlight and privilege.”

“Elton and I could not think of a better collaborator than R.J. Cutler for a film that represents more than just Elton’s career — it’s his life,” Furnish said in a statement. “From the Troubadour to Dodger Stadium, we knew that R.J. would help guide Elton’s story and its many layers in a way that feels authentic and evocative. We’re ecstatic to be working together.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Cutler is the director, producer and writer of four-time Emmy-nominated and Oscar-shortlisted feature documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, about music sensation Billie Eilish. His additional feature documentary credits include Critics’ Choice Award-nominated Belushi, Oscar-nominated The War Room, Emmy-nominated A Perfect Candidate, the Sundance Award-winning The September Issue, the Peabody Award-winning and Oscar-shortlisted Listen to Me Marlon, the Grierson Award-winning Thin and The World According to Dick Cheney.

Doc ‘The Beatles and India’ Arrives on DVD and Blu-ray June 21 From MVD

The feature documentary The Beatles and India, from Silva Screen Productions and Renoir Pictures, will be released on DVD and Blu-ray June 21 from MVD Entertainment Group.

The documentary examines how Indian music and culture shaped the music of the band and explores how The Beatles served as ambassadors of the pioneering World music sound and cultural movement. In 1968, The Beatles had achieved mass fame and fortune yet were searching for deeper meaning in their lives. Under the spiritual guidance of Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, The Beatles took a trip to Rishikesh, India, to study Transcendental Meditation. Drawing together an expansive archive of footage including contemporaneous locale shooting in India, recordings, photographs and first-hand interviews, The Beatles and India documents this East-meets-West touchstone in pop-culture history.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Inspired by Ajoy Bose’s book Across The Universe — The Beatles In India, the documentary was produced by British Indian music entrepreneur Reynold D’Silva and directed by Bose (his directorial debut) and cultural researcher Pete Compton.

The Beatles and India has been awarded Best Film Audience Choice and Best Music at the 2021 U.K. Asian Film Festival “Tongues on Fire.” The film has also been nominated for Best Documentary at the 2022 New York Indian Film Festival.

Doc ‘Banksy Most Wanted’ Due on Transactional Digital May 13 From Level 33

The French documentary feature film Banksy Most Wanted will be released for digital purchase and VOD May 13 from Level 33 Entertainment.

Directed by Aurelia Rouvier and Seamus Haley and featuring Robin Barton (The Man Who Stole Banksy, The Banksy Job), the film sets out to provide an in-depth look into one of the art world’s biggest unanswered mysteries — who is Banksy? Banksy is a household name, but behind this name hides a multitude of stories, artworks, stunts, political statements and identities. The documentary draws an in-depth portrait of the masked Robin Hood of the art world. Each investigation reveals a facet of the artist, his political views, his commitment to environmental causes and political refugees, his links with the music scene, and his entrepreneurial side.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The film was an official selection at the Tribeca Film Festival and a nominee in the Golden Star Feature Documentary Competition at the El Gouna Film Festival.

 

Doc ‘Have You Heard About Greg?’ Headed to Transactional Digital June 21 From Virgil

The documentary Have You Heard About Greg? will be released for digital purchase and on VOD June 21 from Virgil Films.

Have You Heard About Greg? puts a human face on the disease of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The film features experts committed to the fight against Alzheimer’s who share their experience and wisdom about how to deal with an invisible enemy that is quietly killing millions of people each year around the world and will affect millions more in years to come.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

 

Doc ‘Fair Play’ Available On Demand From Gravitas Ventures July 8

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to distribute Hello Sunshine’s documentary Fair Play and will release it in select theaters and on demand on July 8.

About the unequal division of labor in the home, the documentary is based on the New York Times bestselling book of the same name from author Eve Rodsky.

Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom and featuring interviews with Melinda Gates, C. Nicole Mason and Congresswoman Katie Porter, Fair Play takes viewers into the homes of real families that are on a journey to balance their home life. It doesn’t take long to realize that they aren’t really fighting about dishes in the sink. They are fighting about much bigger issues, problems that affect millions of couples and families across the globe. Immersed in these couples’ lives, the viewer sees their struggles, but also their triumphs. They learn how communication and a plan can have a life-changing impact, creating more connectedness with the most important people in their lives — their families.

“The home presents so small but it speaks to a much larger issue which is about reframing the value of time,” said the book’s author Rodsky in a statement. “Is an hour holding your child’s hand in the pediatrician’s office as valuable as an hour in the boardroom? We believe it is. This film aims to spark a conversation that fosters true fairness and healthy partnerships, starting with our most important organization, the home.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Gravitas is proud to partner with Hello Sunshine in the release of Fair Play in theaters and on VOD this summer,” Bill Guentzler, senior director of acquisitions, said in a statement. “We feel that this documentary can be a game-changer for many people by smartly and entertainingly digging into the dilemma facing many households today, balancing tasks and responsibilities.”

Doc ‘The Quest: Nepal’ Headed to Digital May 24 From Gravitas Ventures

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to the documentary The Quest: Nepal and will release it on TVOD/digital platforms May 24 timed to International Everest Day May 29.

It follows filmmaker and host Alex Harz’s personal journey through the culture of Nepal, including his harrowing climb of Mt. Everest. The film is a quest to deeper understand and climb the most iconic mountain in the world while unveiling the fascinating culture, history and nature of Nepal. Viewers visit one of the most surreal cities on earth, Kathmandu, before embarking with the climbers on the expedition in the film.

“I summited at 12:30 p.m. Nepal time on May 21, and had the whole summit to myself for 45 minutes alongside my climbing partner and Sherpa brother, Tashi Sherpa (as seen in The Quest: Nepal),” filmmaker and climber Harz said in a statement. “This is not only unheard of to have the whole upper mountain and summit to yourself, but was completely unexpected and unplanned for as well. The opportunity to bring this first-hand, life changing experience to audiences is a gift I’m truly grateful to offer.” 

International Everest Day commemorates the first time Everest was successfully summited on May 29, 1953, by Sir Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay of Nepal, which is referenced in the film. Tashi and Harz  were all alone like Hillary and Norgay were back in 1953.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Quest: Nepal has won awards at the Buenos Aires International Film Festival, New York International Film Awards, Santa Monica Film Festival, Accolade Competition, Barcelona International Film Festival, Europe Film Festival U.K. (EFFUK), Las Vegas International Film & Screenplay Festival, Silk Road Film Awards Cannes and the Vegas Movie Awards.