Earlier today at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, Showtime announced that its inside-the-CIA documentary The Spymasters will bow in November. Now it has released its full docu slate for the rest of 2015 and into the spring. Projects from Antoine Fuqua, Amy Berg and Stevan Riley, among others, tackle subjects ranging from rock’s ultimate guitar god to a fallen rap mogul to one of the 20th century’s greatest actors and the infamous polygamist who still rules his cult from behind bars. Other topics include iconoclastic legislator Barney Frank, future Hall of Fame football star Tony Gonzalez and the woman who Dreamcatcher Foundation fights to end human trafficking and to prevent the sexual exploitation of at-risk youth. For the first time in Showtime history, three of the docus — Listen To Me Marlon, Dreamcatcher and Prophet’s Prey — are being released theatrically before they bow on the premium network.
Here are the premiere dates for Showtime’s docu slate, with descriptions provided by the network:
JIMI HENDRIX: ELECTRIC CHURCH
Premieres: Friday, September 4, at 9:00 PM
Rock legend Jimi Hendrix captivated the world with his unique, highly stylized, jaw-dropping approach to blues guitar. JIMI HENDRIX: ELECTRIC CHURCH chronicles his largest ever U.S. performance at the massive Atlanta Pop Music Festival in July 1970 with never-before-seen concert footage of the icon in action. Standout performances and recently unearthed footage shot by Steve Rash (The Buddy Holly Story), detail the historic night and the efforts of promoter Alex Cooley to create the definitive music festival with Hendrix as the centerpiece. Directed by John McDermott, JIMI HENDRIX: ELECTRIC CHURCH showcases breathtaking, 16mm color footage of Hendrix’s never-before-aired performance, a mere ten weeks before his untimely death. The film features such contemporaries as Paul McCartney, who stood in awe of his incredible musical prowess. Hendrix’s Experience bandmates Billy Cox and the late Mitch Mitchell are also featured, as well as Steve Winwood, Rich Robinson, Kirk Hammett, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi.
AMERICAN DREAM/AMERICAN KNIGHTMARE
Premieres: Saturday, September 26, at 9 PM
Under the SHO: Close Up banner, AMERICAN DREAM/AMERICAN KNIGHTMARE, from famed director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Brooklyn’s Finest), delves deep into the life and storied exploits of the iconic Death Row Records co-founder, Suge Knight, as well as the volatile and highly influential era in music that he presided over. Through a series of interviews with Knight, who is currently in jail pending trial on murder, attempted-murder and hit-and-run charges, viewers are guided through his world as he personally reveals exactly how it all happened and why it all fell apart. AMERICAN DREAM/AMERICAN KNIGHTMARE is directed by Fuqua, and is executive produced by Bradley J. Fischer (Black Swan, Shutter Island, Zodiac), Fuqua and Eva Gunz.
Premiere: Saturday, October 10 at 9 PM
Under the SHOWTIME DOCUMENTARY FILMS banner, PROPHET’S PREY is a look inside the world and mind of Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), one of the largest cults currently operating in the United States. Though he was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list and, eventually, captured and sentenced to life in prison, Jeffs continues to prey on the FLDS community in absentia, his power largely unchecked and unchallenged to this very day. An official selection of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, PROPHET’S PREY is written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil, West of Memphis) who also serves as a producer. The film is based on the book by Sam Brower, Prophet’s Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints. Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Dustin Lance Black, Shannon Costello, Anna Culp, Geralyn Dreyfous, Erica Huggins, Jon Krakauer and Regina Scully also serve as executive producers. Brower and Katherine LeBlond also serve as the documentary’s producers.
PLAY IT FORWARD
Premiere: Friday October 16, at 9 PM
Under the SHO: CLOSE UP banner, PLAY IT FORWARD, from executive producer Michael Strahan, is a rousing portrait of All-American NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez and his older brother, and wingman, Chris. Over the course of a year– his final in the NFL — future Hall-of-Famer Tony puts his heart on the line to achieve the one dream that has always eluded him: Super Bowl glory. At the same time, Chris, whose own football aspirations were thwarted by an injury, works to realize his very different ambition of becoming a professional firefighter. Equally full of heart and tension, PLAY IT FORWARD is an uplifting and entertaining look at these two brothers, driven both on and off the field. The film, which was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, is directed and written by Andrea Blaugrand Nevins, produced by Cristan Crocker-Reilly and in addition to Strahan, is also executive produced by Constance Schwartz.
LISTEN TO ME MARLON
Premiere date TBA
Under the SHOWTIME DOCUMENTARY FILMS banner, LISTEN TO ME MARLON is the definitive Marlon Brando cinema documentary. Described as “revelatory” by the Los Angeles Times, “a masterpiece” by theVillage Voice, and “the greatest, most searching documentary” by New York Magazine, LISTEN TO ME MARLON was created using Brando’s vast personal audio archive, allowing him to tell the story in his own words. For the first time, Brando’s personal audio recordings come to life, charting his exceptional career as an actor and his extraordinary life away from the stage and screen. The film reveals the complexities and contradictions that were Marlon Brando, guiding us into the padlocked recesses of his own memory and through the story of his life. LISTEN TO ME MARLON is written, edited and directed by Stevan Riley (Fire in Babylon) and produced by Academy Award®-winning producer John Battsek (Searching for Sugar Man, Restrepo, The Tillman Story, One Day In September), Emmy® winner R.J. Cutler (THE WORLD ACCORDING TO DICK CHENEY, The September Issue) and Emmy Award nominee George Chignell (Ali). Simon Chinn serves as the executive producer. LISTEN TO ME MARLON is a Passion Pictures production in association with Red Box Films and co-produced by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Content Group.
COMPARED TO WHAT: THE IMPROBABLE JOURNEY OF BARNEY FRANK
Premiere date TBA
This rollicking film reveals a Barney Frank you only thought you knew. It is an intimate and entertaining look behind-the-scenes at the public and private life of one of America’s greatest legislators. Combining 40 years of rare and archival material with verité footage and interviews shot over several years, the film follows Frank from the Halls of Congress to the streets of Boston– and to the side of his loving partner, Jim Ready, as he takes his vows and becomes the first member of Congress to enter into a same-sex marriage. Directed and produced bySheila Canavan and Michael Chandler, Geralyn Dreyfous serves as executive producer.
Premiered on Friday, March 27, at 9 PM
DREAMCATCHER is the inspirational portrait of Chicago’s Brenda Myers-Powell whose Dreamcatcher Foundation fights to end human trafficking and to prevent the sexual exploitation of at-risk youth. Directed by veteran documentarian Kim Longinotto (Salma, Rough Aunties, Divorce Iranian Style), the film focusses on Myers-Powell, a former Chicago prostitute who helps women and teenage girls break the cycle of sexual abuse and exploitation. The film lays bare the hidden violence that devastates the lives of young women, their families and the communities where they live. Armed with an overwhelming personality and unflinching focus, Brenda establishes The Dreamcatcher Foundation, which helps women and girls acquire the tools they need to leave the sex industry. DREAMCATCHER is a Rise Films, Vixen Films and Green Acres production in association with Impact Partners and Artemis Rising Foundation. It is produced by Lisa Stevens and three-time Emmy winner Teddy Leifer (The Interrupters, Oscar nominee The Invisible War). Executive Producers are Dan Cogan, Geralyn White Dreyfous and Regina K. Scully.