EXCLUSIVE: Discovery+ is just over a month old and the streamer is already restocking its slate of original documentaries.
The digital platform has added eight documentaries, including a number of festival titles, to its slate. This comes ahead of its virtual TCA presentation.
Films include My Beautiful Stutter, Future People: The Family of Donor 5114, The Walrus and the Whistleblower, Groomed, Miracle Fishing: Kidnapped Abroad, Genius Factory, Apocalypse ’45 and Yellowstone: Super Volcanoes.
My Beautiful Stutter, which launches March 11, follows five kids who stutter, ages 9 to 18, from all over the United States and all walks of life. After experiencing a lifetime of bullying and stigmatization, these children meet others who stutter at an interactive arts-based program, The Stuttering Association for the Young, based in New York City. It is directed by Ryan Gielen (Stop the Bleeding) and exec produced by Paul Rudd, Mariska Hargitay, Peter Hermann, George Springer and Patrick James Lynch and produced by Michael Alden and Gielen.
Future People: The Family of Donor 5114, which launches April 10, siblings day, follows a group of adolescents who discover that they were conceived from the same sperm donor, forming an unlikely family of familiar strangers. There are presently 37 half-siblings, and counting. Filmed over eight years, it is directed by Michael Rothman and exec produced by Jason Momoa.
The Walrus and the Whistleblower, which premieres on March 4, follows a whistleblower who is sued for $1.5 million for plotting to steal a walrus at the heart of the movement to end marine mammal captivity.
Phil Demers, a trainer at Niagara Falls’ Marineland, popular for his bond with Smooshi the walrus, quits his dream job after a decade, makes claims of animal abuse and wages a war on social media. For the next decade, Demers is embroiled in a stranger-than-fiction public campaign to Save Smooshi. He becomes trapped in his own story and is swallowed whole by his crusade. It is directed by Nathalie Bibeau.
Groomed, which comes out March 18, is the story of filmmaker Gwen van de Pas as she returns to her hometown in search of answers about the man who sexually abused her as a child. To understand her ongoing traumas, Gwen travels to meet survivors, psychologists, and even a convicted sex offender. Van de Pas directs and produces, along with Bill Guttentag, and Dylan Nelson. It is exec produced by Blumhouse in association with Yellow Dot Films.
Miracle Fishing: Kidnapped Abroad, which launches March 25, tells the story of Miles Hargrove’s father, who in 1994 was kidnapped outside their home in Cali, Colombia by the FARC. The Hargrove family found themselves in the midst of a Colombian epidemic – the kidnap and ransom trade. Their only hope was to give in to the guerrillas’ demands, but they had no idea how to embark on the journey ahead. To cope with the long and difficult negotiations, Hargrove kept a Video8 diary of the events that unfolded. Twenty-five years later, he revisited the footage to turn his diary into a documentary chronicling his family’s story.
Genius Factory, which premieres on May 20, explores the tale of Robert Graham, an eccentric billionaire, who in the 1980s wanted to create the world’s smartest kids, so he funded the largest legal genetic experiment in human history. He felt that unintelligent people were breeding too often and smart people weren’t breeding enough, so he decided to do something about it. Today, 30 years later, the children of his eugenics experiment walk the streets of America as adults. These super babies seem normal enough, but there is a hidden struggle to understand who they are and why they came to be. They struggle to understand if the Genius Factory rewarded them or condemned them.
Daryl Stoneage (Donkey Love) directs and it is produced by Wavelength Entertainment in association with Silo Entertainment.
Apocalypse ’45, which premieres on May 27, recounts the end of World War II. With never before seen restored footage and the voices of 24 men who lived through these events, this documentary highlights the experiences of the last of the Greatest Generation. Directed by Erik Nelson (The Cold Blue).
Finally, Yellowstone: Super Volcanoes, which erupts on June 3, looks at the national park’s fiery time bomb slowly building up to its next eruption with the potential to become a modern Pompeii and the biggest natural disaster to ever hit the modern world.
“This slate of documentaries is just the beginning for Discovery+, as we embark on an ambitious journey to extend our leadership in nonfiction storytelling to the documentary genre” said Lisa Holme, Group SVP, Content & Commercial Strategy, Discovery. “Discovery sets the bar for a number of unscripted categories, and with our new streaming platform, we can satisfy fans of documentaries in a medium where viewers have shown tremendous appetite for the best docs. Expect to hear much more in the months to come.”
“We’re thrilled to share this slate of documentaries and shine a light on these important stories and talented filmmakers,” said Igal Svet, VP of Documentaries, Discovery+. “As a leader in nonfiction content, we are going to put the full support of our company behind documentaries as we continue to build the best streaming platform for all unscripted content with Discovery+. We look forward to collaborating with brilliant storytellers and continuing to invest in premium docs.”