Beware the Slenderman, Becoming Warren Buffett and Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis are among a slate of documentaries announced by HBO for the first half of 2017. The line-up was released during HBO’s presentation of its programs at TCA today.
Here’s the slate and premiere airdates, with HBO’s descriptions of the films:
Beware the Slenderman, January 23. Irene Taylor Brodsky’s doc tells the true story of 12-year-olds Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, who lured their best friend into the woods, stabbed her 19 times and confessed they did it to appease a tall and faceless man known online as Slenderman. With access to the girls’ families, the documentary plunges down the rabbit hole, exploring how the dark corners of the Internet can influence society’s most impressionable young consumers of media.
Becoming Warren Buffett, January 30. Peter Kunhardt’s film chronicles the improbable story of an ambitious, numbers-obsessed boy from Nebraska who became one of the richest, most respected men in the world. The definitive documentary on Buffett, this candid portrait sheds new light on a man who has helped shape how Americans view capitalism and, more recently, philanthropy. Told primarily in Buffett’s own words, the film features never-before-released home videos, family photographs, archival footage and interviews with family and friends. Produced by Teddy Kunhardt and George Kunhardt.
Solitary: Inside Red Onion State Prison, February 6. Kristi Jacobson’s Solitary is an unflinching exploration of the lives of inmates and corrections officers in one of America’s most notorious supermax prisons, built to hold inmates in 8’x10’ cells 23 hours a day, for months, years and sometimes decades. With unprecedented access, the film paints a complex, unexpected and deeply moving portrait of life inside a world rarely seen.
Eagles Of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends), February 13. Directed by Colin Hanks, Eagles of Death Metal spotlights the American rock band as they recount their experiences before and after the 2015 terrorist attack in Paris that claimed 89 lives at the group’s Bataclan Theatre concert. The film spotlights the group’s deep bonds with each other and with their fans, which inspired them to return to Paris to perform once again in February 2016.
Unlocking the Cage, February 20. Directed by famed documentarians Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker, this film explores animal rights lawyer Steven Wise’s unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. After 30 years of struggling with ineffective animal welfare laws, Wise and his legal team, the Nonhuman Rights Project, are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform an animal from a “thing” with no rights to a “person” with legal protections.
Tickled, February 27. Journalist David Farrier stumbles upon a bizarre “competitive endurance tickling” video online, wherein young men are paid to be tied up and tickled. Delving deeper, he encounters fierce resistance, but eventually uncovers a shocking story stranger than fiction. Directed by Farrier and Dylan Reeve.
Cries From Syria, March 13. A searing account of the Syrian civil war from the inside out, this film draws on hundreds of hours of war footage from Syrian activists and citizen journalists, as well as testimony from child protestors, revolution leaders, human rights defenders, ordinary citizens and high-ranking army generals who have defected from the government. Directed by Evgeny Afineevsky.
Also upcoming from HBO, with premiere dates to be announced:
Tracy Droz Tragos’ Abortion: Stories Women Tell; Lisanne Skyler’s Brillo Box (3¢ Off); Sonja Sohn’s For the Love Of Baltimore; Daniel Gold’s If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast (a doc about “older age,” with appearances by Mel Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Kirk Douglas, Norman Lear, Betty White and Tony Bennett); Erin Lee Carr’s Mommy Dead and Dearest; Morgan Neville’s The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble; and Rock and a Hard Place, directed by Matthew O’Neill and Jon Alpert.