EXCLUSIVE: Discovery+ is ramping up its feature doc slate with a range of new titles including a documentary about Michael Brody Jr., a hippie-millionaire and heir to a margarine fortune who publicly offered his $25-million inheritance to anyone in need in 1970.
The streamer has acquired the rights to Dear Mr. Brody, which is directed by Keith Maitland (Tower) and was an official selection at the Telluride Film Festival, as well as screening at SXSW and Tribeca Festival.
It has also picked up feature docs Set!, Dead Man’s Switch and Keep Sweet.
Dear Mr. Brody, which will be released theatrically by Greenwich Entertainment ahead of its streaming bow, will launch in winter 2022. It follows the complex story of Brody, who announced that he would be giving away his fortune in 1970. He and his wife became instant celebrities and they were mobbed by the public, scrutinized by the press, and overwhelmed by a crush of personal letters from across America responding to his offer.
Decades later, an enormous cache of these letters was discovered—unopened.
The doc will use a mix of archival footage, psychedelic animation, stylized recreations, and interviews with the letter writers themselves.
It is produced by Melissa Robyn Glassman, Megan Gilbride, Keith Maitland, and Sarah Wilson, exec produced by Edward R. Pressman, Shep Gordon, Jon Katz, Carolyn Pfeiffer, Regina K. Scully as well as Dan Cogan, Jenny Raskin and Geralyn White Dreyfous for Impact Partners and Michael Bloom, Maria Zuckerman and Lisa Leingang for Topic Studios. Cinetic Media represented the filmmakers.
“The stories in Michael Brody’s letters, silent for 50 years, are somehow more relevant now than ever — they challenge us to look at our world and at ourselves,” said director Keith Maitland.
Elsewhere, streamer has also unveiled three other new titles: Set!, Dead Man’s Switch and Keep Sweet.
Set! takes a behind-the-scenes look into the highly competitive, often hilarious and cut-throat world of competitive table setting, Dead Man’s Switch follows the international scandal caused by the mysterious death of a 30-year-old cryptocurrency exchange CEO with $215 million still missing and Keep Sweet goes deep into the notoriously insular the FLDS community 10 years after prophet Warren Jeffs’ conviction for aggravated sexual assault.
Set!, which will be released on November 12, is directed by Scott Gawlik with worldwide sales represented by MetFilm Sales.
Keep Sweet, which comes out November 24, is directed by Last Days Here director Don Argott. It is exec produced by Rasha Drachkovitch, Stephanie Noonan Drachkovitch, Glenn Meehan and David Hale for 44 Blue Productions and Argott and Sheena M. Joyce for 9.14 Pictures.
Dead Man’s Switch, which comes out December 23, is directed by Sheona McDonald (When Dreams Take Flight) with Espresso Media International representing worldwide rights.
These films join previously announced feature docs including Crutch, Introducing, Selma Blair and Rudolph and Werner Herzog’s Last Exit: Space.
“This has been a tremendous first year for documentaries on discovery+, culminating with this bold slate of projects across our key genres. We’re thrilled to welcome Dear Mr. Brody, Set!, Dead Man’s Switch and Keep Sweet to our vibrant upcoming lineup of awards contenders and crowd pleasers” says Igal Svet, Vice President of Documentaries, Discovery+. “While all so different, each title embodies the quality, diversity & urgency that have become the pillars of discovery+ original documentaries. We are excited to share these stories on Discovery+ around the globe as we continue our expansion in docs.”