Docs

Celebs sign up to produce docs for OWN

The Oprah Winfrey Network is teaming up with a number of celebrities - including Julia Roberts, Forest Whitaker, Goldie Hawn, Gabriel Byrne and Mariel Hemingway - to produce five new, original documentaries.
July 26, 2010

The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) has announced that it is teaming up with a number of celebrities – including Julia Roberts, Forest Whitaker, Goldie Hawn, Gabriel Byrne and Mariel Hemingway – to produce five new, original documentaries.

The new docs will be part of OWN’s monthly documentary club, in addition to acquisitions including Life 2.0, Sons of Perdition (profiled here by realscreen) and Family Affair. Those titles have been acquired through OWN’s partnership with distributor ro*co films international.

New docs being produced for the documentary club include Extraordinary Moms, presented and exec produced by Julia Roberts’ Red Om Films. The film, produced by Roberts’ shingle and Creative Visions Productions, examines the power of mothers to not only nurture their children but to also better society as a whole. Executive producers include Kathy Eldon, Lisa Gillan and Philip Rose and producers are Jacoba Atlas and Kyra Thompson.

One Last Shot, narrated and exec produced by Forest Whitaker, takes us into Louisiana’s maximum security prison at Angola, where the average sentence is 90 years. The film documents a hospice program within the prison where prisoners care for dying fellow inmates. It’s produced by Lightworks Pictures in association with KPI. Lisa R. Cohen is producer/director; executive producers are Nick Stuart and Molly Fowler.

Searching for Happiness, exec produced, hosted and narrated by Goldie Hawn, examines the facts behind positive psychology, of which Hawn is a practitioner. Mark Ford and Kevin Lopez of Creature Films are also exec producers on the project.

Exec producers Gabriel Byrne and Leora Rosenberg, producer/director Steven Cantor and Stick Figure Productions are behind Tent City, an exploration of homelessness in Nashville, Tennessee that documents a self-sustaining community of close to 100 individuals that lives under a downtown bridge.

Seven Suicides follows Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of literary icon Ernest Hemingway, as she traces the history of suicide and depression within her family, and illuminates the road she took to avoid succumbing to depression herself.

‘All of these documentaries fundamentally explore human interaction, relationships and emotions,’ said OWN CCO Lisa Erspamer. ‘We’re excited to provide viewers with new perspectives and new ways of looking at core themes that shape and affect their lives.’

OWN will debut officially on January 1, 2011, set to launch in approximately 80 million homes via what is currently the Discovery Health Channel.

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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