Sheila Nevins, former President of HBO Documentary Films, is heading to Viacom to launch MTV Documentary Films, a new division under MTV Studios that “will embrace a new generation of filmmakers exploring the social, political, and cultural trends and stories important to young people,” according to a press release.
Nevis is tasked with building a programming slate not only for MTV’s platforms, but for third-party streaming services as well.
“Throughout her stellar career, Sheila has elevated documentaries into one of the most compelling, culturally influentially forms of modern storytelling,” said Chris McCarthy, president of MTV, in a statement. “As we grow and expand MTV, we’re excited for Sheila to bring a new generation of filmmakers to the forefront and continue to extend our creativity and cultural impact.”
Nevins, who left HBO in 2018, has been a pioneer in bringing documentary films to the mainstream in a meaningful way with projects including “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” “Citizenfour,” and “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.”
Over the course of her 38-year-career at HBO, her films won 28 Academy Awards, 44 Peabody Awards, and 34 Primetime Emmy Awards.
As part of a larger redesign and streamlining of the digital media company’s website and editorial structure, VICE Media is bringing all of its more than a dozen digital brands under one roof at Vice.com, the company announced last week.
Additionally, the company is rolling out a new proprietary audience metric and is making changes to its blacklist policy for advertisers.
Stand-alone news sites like Broadly, Amuse, Free, Tonic, Waypoint and VICE Sports will be folded into Vice.com. Other sites, like Motherboard, Noisey, Munchies and VICE News, will no longer have stand-alone sites but will be part of dedicated subject verticals on Vice.com that will retain their branding.
Disney+ has signed Supper Club, producers of Netflix’s docuseries “Chef’s Table,” to an exclusive two-year production deal, which is the first nonfiction pact for the upcoming streaming service.
Supper Club, led by David Gelb, Brian McGinn and Jason Sterman, will create franchise-based and original-concept nonfiction programming for the streaming service as well as other platforms and networks within The Walt Disney Company.
The company already has 2 projects in development for Disney+.
Supper Club’s first two series for Disney+ will be “Marvel 616” (working title) and “Earthkeepers” (working title.
“We are thrilled Jason, David, and Brian will bring their distinct perspectives and genuine narrative vision exclusively to Disney,” said Agnes Chu, senior vice president of Content at Disney+. “As some of the world’s greatest nonfiction storytellers, Supper Club will be a crucial, creative force for Disney+ as we build a platform for compelling, personal, and authentic programming.”
Apple is continuing to fill out its executive ranks.
AppleTV+ has named former A+E executive Molly Thompson as the company’s head of documentaries. She brings with her three decades of experience in the field, having founded A&E IndieFilms, the feature film production arm of A+E Networks, and served as head of documentary films for A+E Networks.
Thompson executive produced such documentary titles as “The Clinton Affair,” Charles Ferguson’s “Watergate,” “Studio 54,” and “City of Ghosts” from Oscar nominee Matthew Heineman.
Among the additional projects she has shepherded are Roger Ross Williams’ Emmy award-winning “Life, Animated,” “Cartel Land,” “Murderball,” and “Jesus Camp.”
The latest player to hit the film-festival circuit may be a bit unexpected. Airbnb, the travel-accommodations booking marketplace, developed, financed, and produced the documentary film “Gay Chorus Deep South,” set to premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival on April 29.
It’s Airbnb’s first feature film, narrative or documentary. Directed by David Charles Rodrigues, “Gay Chorus Deep South” follows the 300-member San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus on a 10-day tour across the southeastern U.S. with the goal of inspiring conversation around inclusivity and civil rights.
The film documents the challenges the singers faced as they brought their music into people’s homes, churches, and concert halls.
Why did the Silicon Valley commerce company decide to dive into film production?
James Goode, Airbnb’s head of creative, explained that the film aligns with its corporate values that all people should not only be treated with dignity and respect but should be welcomed and celebrated.
The first Peabody Awards of 2019 were announced yesterday, with eight documentaries honored and Kartemquin Films (“Minding the Gap,” “Hoops Dreams”) set for an Institutional Award for its “commitment to unflinching documentary filmmaking and telling an American history rooted in social justice and the stories of the marginalized.
The eight documentaries — six of which aired on PBS — are HBO’s “A Dangerous Son,” Hulu’s “Minding the Gap,” and PBS’s “Independent Lens: Dolores,” “Independent Lens: The Judge,” “Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart,” “POV: the Apology,” “The Facebook Dilemma” and “The Jazz Ambassadors.”
The Peabody Awards ceremony will take place on May 18 in New York City and will be hosted by New Yorker contributing writer Ronan Farrow.