HBO Documentary Films Summer 2009 Lineup

Starting July 13 and running through Sept. 7, HBO Documentary Films heats up the summer with a provocative new film every Monday night at 9:00 pm. (ET/PT).  From a look at the life and 46-year Senate career of Ted Kennedy, to the story of the kidnapping and murder of a 24-year-old Afghan, HBO documentaries take subscribers to worlds others rarely see.

            Upcoming documentaries include (in chronological order):

            TEDDY: IN HIS OWN WORDS (debuting July 13) explores the life and 46-year Senate career of Ted Kennedy through his own words, from his childhood up through his speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.  The film includes archival material and never-before-seen home movies.  Produced by Peter Kunhardt (HBO’s “In Memoriam:  New York City 9/11/01”).

            PROM NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI (July 20), an official selection of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, follows the students, teachers and parents of Charleston, Miss. as they prepare for the first integrated prom at Charleston High.  Even though the students share classes and every other aspect of school life, the town of Charleston had a tradition of holding two proms, one white, one black.  In 1997, Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman made an historic offer to his hometown high school:  He would foot the bill for the school’s senior prom — on the condition that both black and white students be allowed to attend.  Freeman’s offer was ignored, but in 2008, he made it again.  This time, the school accepted and history was made, but not without significant opposition.  Directed by Paul Saltzman.

            THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD (July 27) follows two professional tricksters as they infiltrate the world of big business and pull off outrageous pranks in an effort to highlight the human toll of greed and profiteering.  This lively documentary focuses on the efforts of Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, frontmen for the Yes Men, to champion worthy causes – and battle the excesses of today’s free-market economy – through high-profile, politically charged hoaxes.  An official selection of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.  Directed by Andy Bichlbaum & Mike Bonanno.

            BOY INTERRUPTED (Aug. 3) tells the heartbreaking story of Evan Perry, a 15-year-old boy who jumped to his death from his New York City bedroom window after a lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder.  An official selection of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, the documentary recounts Evan’s life and death in the words of his parents, filmmakers Hart and Dana Perry, and others who knew him.  Illustrating how one family deals with generations of loss and grief, this moving film defies the stigma associated with mental illness and suicide among children.  Produced and directed by Dana Perry.

            THE NINE LIVES OF MARION BARRY (Aug. 10) profiles the controversial Washington, D.C. politician, viewed by some as a philandering, drug-addled disaster, and by others as a folk hero.  His soaring achievements, catastrophic failures and phoenix-like rebirths have made him a symbol of indestructibility.  Today, Barry is once again in the political limelight.  Directed and produced by Dana Flor & Toby Oppenheimer.

            FIXER:  THE TAKING OF AJMAL NAQSHBANDI (Aug. 17) focuses on the 2007 kidnapping and murder of a 24-year-old Afghan who was hired by foreign journalists to help gather news stories.  Ajmal Naqshbandi and an Italian reporter were captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan, but while the journalist was spared, he was killed.  Interweaving footage of Ajmal on assignment with an American journalist six months before his abduction, this 2009 Tribeca Film Festival winner shows how Ajmal’s friends, family and fellow abductee try to make sense of his murder.  Directed by Ian Olds.

            WHICH WAY HOME (Aug. 24), an official selection of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival and the upcoming 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival, views the immigration issue through the eyes of children who face harrowing dangers as they journey to the United States.  The film follows unaccompanied child migrants traveling by freight train through Mexico, including Jose, a nine-year-old El Salvadoran, who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center, and 14-year-old Kevin, a streetwise Honduran who hopes he will find work in New York City in order to send money back to his mother.  Executive produced by Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich and Russell Smith; directed and produced by Rebecca Cammisa.

            YOUTH KNOWS NO PAIN (Aug. 31) follows filmmaker Mitch McCabe, the age-obsessed daughter of a plastic surgeon, as she journeys through America’s $60 billion a year anti-aging world.  In this “Alice in Wonderland” tale, McCabe spends two years traveling across the country visiting doctors and experts, living with a cross-section of characters from Minnesota to Texas who have gone to varying lengths to “beat the clock.”  A film by Mitch McCabe.

            THE LAST TRUCK:  THE CLOSING OF A GM PLANT (working title) (Sept. 7) tells the inside story of the last days of a General Motors plant in Moraine, Ohio, as lived by the people who worked the line.  Directed and produced by Ohio natives Steve Bogner & Julia Reichert.

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