The filmmakers behind “Immigration Nation” were granted extensive access to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, which raises the question what the agency’s communications people were thinking.
Now there are reports they’re having second thoughts about the Netflix docuseries, a searing dissection of Trump administration policies that’s even-handed but emotionally devastating in highlighting the pain associated with them.
Netflix, it’s worth noting, covered much of this ground last year in another six-part series, “Living Undocumented.”
What sets “Immigration Nation” apart is its fly-on-the-wall coverage of ICE personnel (presented using only their first names), providing an opportunity to tell their side of the story but seldom in a way that’s flattering to the agency.
“Immigration Nation” premieres August 3 on Netflix.
Casting JonBenet – In her 2017 Netflix documentary “Casting JonBenet,” director Kitty Green turned her eye to the nation’s obsession with true crime. The film is ostensibly about the murder of child pageant contestant JonBenet Ramsey, but it actually centers around the casting process for reenactments of the crime and aftermath. Green interviews the actors — most of them Boulder natives who remember the 1996 tragedy — about the murder and the ensuing tabloid-fueled fallout, their theories about the case, and the impact it had on their community.
Finders Keepers – When Shannon Whisnant bid on a foreclosed storage shed at an auction, he didn’t expect to find a mummified leg under the hood of a barbecue grill. But what many people would see as a piece of trash, Whisnant saw an opportunity. He started marketing himself as “The Foot Man,” intending to open a roadside attraction. That is, until the owner of the leg, plane crash survivor and recovering addict John Wood, found out. The 2015 film documents their legal battle and the emotional aftermath.
Grey Gardens – No list of weird documentaries would be complete without “Grey Gardens,” the iconic documentary about a reclusive mother and daughter — Big Edie and Little Edie — living on a dilapidated estate in East Hampton, New York. It’s fascinating to enter the world that the two eccentric women created for themselves at Grey Gardens, especially when Little Edie is waxing poetic about what she wants out of life or Big Edie is singing “Tea for Two.”
Grizzly Man – Any Werner Herzog documentary would be worthy of this list, not because the subjects themselves are necessarily weird, but because the director himself is so delightfully strange that energy naturally extends to his filmmaking. “Grizzly Man,” probably Herzog’s best known documentary, recounts the life and death of Timothy Treadwell, a grizzly bear enthusiast who was tragically mauled by a bear along with his girlfriend.
Fyre Fraud/Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened – Both Netflix and Hulu released documentaries on the Fyre Festival, the much-hyped music festival that turned out to be a major disaster, and both are worth watching if you’re fascinated with how events came to a head. The Netflix documentary, “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” takes a more comprehensive look at the behind-the-scenes planning of the event (in an ethical conundrum, the production company behind the film was also involved in the production of Fyre Festival.). But Hulu’s documentary, “Fyre Fraud,” was able to get an exclusive interview with the festival’s mastermind, Billy McFarland.
CNN’s top female political reporters are getting their close-up on HBO Max as the WarnerMedia-backed streaming platform rolls out its first CNN Films original.
As the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign gathers steam, HBO Max is set to launch “On the Trail: Inside the 2020 Primaries” on August 6.
The cinema verite feature from directors Katie Hinman and Toby Oppenheimer follows veteran and first-time CNN female political reporters — Dana Bash, Kaitlan Collins, Jessica Dean, Daniella Diaz, Annie Grayer, Kyung Lah, MJ Lee, Abby Phillip, Arlette Saenz, and Jasmine Wright — starting with the days before the Iowa caucuses last winter.
“On the Trail: Inside the 2020 Primaries” is the first of four unscripted projects from CNN Films scheduled to stream on HBO Max.
Greenwich Entertainment has acquired the North American rights to Alice Gu’s documentary, “The Donut King.” A theatrical release is planned for later this year.
“The Donut King” tells the story of Ted Ngoy, a Cambodian refugee who arrived in Los Angeles in 1975 and changed everything we know about America’s favorite pastry, the donut.
While building a multi-million-dollar empire that effectively kept Dunkin’ Donuts out of Southern California for decades, Ngoy became a hero of the Cambodian community by sponsoring hundreds of visas for incoming refugees.
Over the last several years, anti-LGBTQ “purges” have taken place in Chechnya, a conservative Russian republic.
Chechen officials, according to many reports and testimonies, have rounded up people they believe to be gay, tortured them and then released them to family members who were encouraged to commit “honor killings.”
Fearing for their lives, some young queer people have fled the predominantly Muslim region with the hopes of finding safety outside Russia.
“Welcome to Chechnya,” a documentary directed by David France available now on HBO, follows these refugees and the activists going to extraordinary lengths to help them escape.
TIME recently spoke with France about the extreme security measures he put in place for “Welcome to Chechnya,” what he thinks of the government’s denials, and why, despite the risk, Chechens were willing to tell their stories.