Epix is turning Slate’s “Slow Burn” podcast into a documentary series

Epix is turning Slate’s “Slow Burn” podcast into a documentary series

Source:  The Verge

Epix has greenlit a six-episode adaptation of Slate’s hit podcast “Slow Burn”, a series that explored the Watergate scandal and how it eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Podcast host Leon Neyfakh will be an executive producer and narrator for the series.

The series is expected to launch in late 2019 on Epix.  Slate launched the eight-episode podcast series in 2017 which drew parallels between the slowly-building scandal that ended the Nixon Administration, and that of the ongoing investigations into the Trump administration.

“Slow Burn” has earned widespread acclaim, and recently took home the Podcast of the Year award at iHeartRadio’s inaugural Podcast Awards last month.

Read the story at The Verge.

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Oscar nominee “A Night at the Garden” to disrupt Fox News with historic Nazi rally footage

Oscar nominee “A Night at the Garden” to disrupt Fox News with historic Nazi rally footage

Source:  IndieWire

Marshall Curry’s Oscar-nominated short film, “A Night at the Garden,” brings viewers inside a 1939 Nazi rally held in New York City, and now distributor Field of Vision is set to disrupt Fox News with footage of the rally.

Field of Vision will debut a television spot for “A Night at the Garden” during the Monday, February 11 episode of “Hannity.”

“I hope that by showing the ‘Hannity’ audience how manipulative leaders in the past have attacked the press, scapegoated minorities, made light of violence against protesters, and wrapped hateful ideologies in the symbols of American patriotism, they might become more vigilant when they see leaders do those things today,” Curry told IndieWire about the decision to air promotional footage for the documentary short on Fox News.

Watch the television spot that’s airing on Fox News above.

Read the story at IndieWire.

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Netflix acquires Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez documentary “Knock Down the House” for record amount

Netflix acquires Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez documentary “Knock Down the House” for record amount

Source:  Business Insider

It was the documentary that had all the buyers in a feeding frenzy — and won the Audience Award in the U.S. Documentary category — at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and it’s going to be on Netflix.

Yesterday the streaming giant officially announced that it had acquired worldwide rights to “Knock Down the House,” which looks at four female progressive candidates through their campaigns during the 2018 midterm elections, and includes the successful run of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

According to Deadline, the film had everyone from Neon and Focus Features, to Hulu and Amazon, interested in nabbing it.

But Netflix won out and had to pay a pretty penny.  Deadline reports the film was acquired for $10 million, which would be a record purchase for a documentary at a film festival.

Read the story at Business Insider.

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A new documentary asks the question: “What Is Democracy?”

A new documentary asks the question: “What Is Democracy?”

Source:  The New Yorker

In its first five minutes, “What Is Democracy?,” a new documentary by writer, organizer, and filmmaker Astra Taylor, provides more possible answers to her titular question than most English-language media does in a year.

Then, with the help of some modern readers of ancient texts, Taylor reminds us of Plato’s warning: that the rich would want to keep getting richer, forcing the poor into debt, splitting society into two, and leading the poor to buy into a demagogue’s promises, thereby dooming democracy to turn into tyranny.

All that said—by this time, we are seven minutes into the film—Taylor begins to make it clear that she will provide no definitive single answer to the question. This is a documentary essay in the guise of an investigation.

The movie is radically democratic: Taylor poses the question to philosophers, activists, a poet, politicians, trauma surgeons, a barber, and refugees.

With the exception of a couple of politicians, talking heads are identified only by name, underscoring the point that democracy, whether as practice or as a concept, belongs to everyone.

Read the story at The New Yorker.

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A Visitor’s Guide to America’s Big Border Wall

A Visitor’s Guide to America’s Big Border Wall

Source:  The Atlantic

As the border between the United States and Mexico began to figure more and more prominently in the news cycle, filmmaker David Freid noticed a consistent blind spot. No one, it seemed, was talking to the people who actually lived there.

Fried decided to pay a visit to Big Bend National Park, which composes 13% of the U.S.-Mexico border. There, he encountered Mike Davidson, the captain of the Rio Grande river’s only international ferry.

“But we discovered that the international ferry was a rowboat,” Freid told The Atlantic.

Though no hulking vessel, the modest boat transports 11,000 visitors annually—a feat for which Davidson has been responsible for more than 40 years.

Freid’s short documentary “Ferryman at the Wall” is the story of two countries that, for the most part, peacefully coexist where it matters most: at the dividing line.

“There isn’t just a straight line where one country ends and the other begins,” Freid said. “People’s family and friends extend in both directions. The land on either side of the Rio Grande is identical, and the people are close to identical as well. The two countries bleed into each other.”

“Ferryman at the Wall” is part of The Atlantic Selects, an online showcase of short documentaries from independent creators, curated by The Atlantic.

Read the story at The Atlantic.

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How a little-known documentary is helping push criminal justice reform in Congress

How a little-known documentary is helping push criminal justice reform in Congress

Source:  The Washington Post

Movies and Capitol Hill tend to mix mostly in throwback work, like “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” or in token scenes in popcorn fests, such as “Mission: Impossible,” in which lawmakers try to rein in renegade heroes. Otherwise? Policy and protagonists tend to stay pretty far apart.

But a prison reform bill in the Senate improbably owes at least some of its momentum to a movie — not a widely seen Hollywood release but a little-known documentary that has quietly been marshaled by the bill’s backers to sway skeptical lawmakers.

As the much-covered First Step Act stands on the brink of passage, “The Sentence,” an emotional look at a family caught up in the federal prison system, appears to have helped get it there.

The First Step Act aims to, among other goals, reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders in federal prisons and to allow some people to be incarcerated closer to their homes, which would reduce the burden on their families.

While many reform activists say the bill calls for a modest action that will affect only a small number of inmates, they also note its importance in making the punishment for nonviolent offenders more proportional.

Read the story at The Washington Post. 

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