EXCLUSIVE: The world’s most famous domino toppling artist has bowled over discovery+.
The streaming service on Friday announced the acquisition of Lily Topples the World, the SXSW Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary about Lily Hevesh, a 20-year-old domino dropping sensation whose videos have attracted more than 1 billion views on YouTube.
The film, directed by Jeremy Workman, will premiere on discovery+ this summer, part of a robust slate of nonfiction programming announced by the platform ahead of the May TV Upfronts next week.
Lily Topples the World was filmed over three years and includes appearances by Jimmy Fallon, Katy Perry, Will Smith, and YouTuber Casey Neistat. Discovery+ describes it as “a unique portrait of an artist, a story of how passion and artistry can make dreams come true, and an unlikely American tale of a quiet Chinese adoptee who transforms into a global artistic force.”
Actress Kelly Marie Tran (Star Wars episodes VIII and IX, Raya and the Last Dragon) serves as an executive producer on the documentary.
“Lily is an absolute force. She is an incredible artist who believes in the magic of her own dreams, and her story is one every person will be able to see themselves in,” Tran commented. “She’s the role model I wish I had growing up, and I can’t wait for the world to hear her story.”
Lisa Holme, group SVP, head of content & commercial strategy for Discovery Inc., observed, “Lily is one of the most talented young artists in the world and we are so excited to share this heart-warming documentary alongside a compelling slate of new original docs. The combination of Lily’s visually stunning projects, complemented by her inspiring personal story makes this a can’t miss doc.”
Lily Topples the World joins a lineup of new documentary films that discovery+ promises “will take audiences on a diverse and enlightening journey this year.” Launching June 17 on the service is My Name Is Bulger, about former Massachusetts political figure William Bulger, younger brother of James “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious Boston crime boss. Brendan J. Byrne directed the film that is said to strip “away the hysteria of daily print headlines” about the Bulgers to reveal “a unique American family.”
The Smartest Kids in the World, directed by Tracy Droz Tragos and launching on discovery+ August 16, chronicles “the journey of four American teenagers who study abroad in countries that dramatically outperform the United States in education.”
Launching August 23 is Generation Growth from director Mu Sun, a documentary about Bronx teacher and “urban farmer” Stephen Ritz, who “developed an incredibly successful indoor gardening curriculum that allows children to grow vegetables in the classroom, helping them eat better, be more engaged with school and give them pathways for jobs.”
Set to launch October 18 is the documentary Crutch, directed by Sachi Cunningham and Vayabobo, about the “gravity-defying life” of Bill Shannon, an artist and dancer who performs on crutches.
The previously announced documentaries Introducing, Selma Blair and Rebel Hearts are also set to premiere on discovery+ in 2021.
In addition to claiming the top prize at SXSW, Lily Topples the World won the audience award at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Jeremy Workman produced, directed and edited the film. Robert J. Lyons produced; executive producers include the aforementioned Kelly Marie Tran, as well as Allen Altman, Cathie Altman, Marnie Black, Scott Black, and Jane Lee.
“This film documents the most pivotal moments of my life, professionally and personally,” domino toppler Hevesh said in a video released ahead of SXSW. “This documentary means so much to me and I cannot wait for you to see it when it gets publicly released.”