“Bobby Fischer Against the World” kicks off HBO’s summer series

HBO Documentary Films is launching its summer series on June 6 with Liz Garbus' doc on chess genius Bobby Fischer (pictured).
April 20, 2011

HBO Documentary Films is launching its summer series on June 6 with Liz Garbus’ doc on chess genius Bobby Fischer (pictured), and will feature docs from a number of first-time filmmakers as well as Alexandra Pelosi and Lisa F. Jackson (The Greatest Silence:  Rape in the Congo).

The 11-week series begins with Bobby Fischer Against the World, which follows Fischer’s evolution from chess prodigy and superstar to angry recluse.

Paul Liebrandt’s path from that of a young renegade to one of New York City’s top chefs is the focus of A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt. Airing on June 13, the film is the documentary directorial debut of Sally Rowe.

On June 20, HBO will air Sex Crimes Unit, which looks inside the Manhattan District Attorney’s division, the first full-time Unit in the U.S. dedicated to the prosecution of rape and sexual assault. It is directed by Emmy-winner Lisa F. Jackson (HBO’s The Greatest Silence:  Rape in the Congo).

The now infamous legal battle over a spilled cup of McDonald’s coffee is the focus of Hot Coffee, from first-time filmmaker and former trial lawyer Susan Saladoff. The doc, airing in June 27, examines the dangers of so-called tort reform and its threat to the civil justice system.

Alexandra Pelosi directs Citizen U.S.A.: A 50-State Road Trip, debuting on July 4.  In the doc, Pelosi travels across America attending naturalization ceremonies in all 50 states and examines why brand new citizens chose America as their home. Citizen U.S.A. also includes interviews with notable first-generation Americans, including Madeleine Albright, Arianna Huffington, Henry Kissinger and Gene Simmons.

On July 11, The Pirate Tapes will tell the story of Canadian-Somali college student Mohammed Asherah, who went undercover in Somalia to capture pirates’ lives. It is directed by first-time documentary filmmakers Mohammed Asherah, Rock Baijnauth, Andrew Moniz, Roger Singh and  Matvei Zhivov.

Mann V. Ford, from Maro Chermayeff (HBO’s The Kindness of Strangers) and Micah Fink (Frontline), tells the story of the Ramapo Indian tribe in New Jersey, who have spent eight years fighting in a class-action lawsuit against the Ford Motor Company over the handling of an assembly plant’s waste. The doc airs on July 18.

Liz Garbus’ second film, There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane, will air on July 25. The doc revisits the mystery behind the tragic auto accident of Diane Schuler, who drove the wrong way on a New York parkway for nearly two miles before smashing into an oncoming SUV. The accident was fatal for Schuler, her daughter, her three nieces and all three people in the other car.

Koran By Heart spotlights the world’s oldest Koran memorization contest in Cairo. Airing August 1, the film follows talented youngsters as they prepare and take part in the rigorous tournament. It’s directed by Greg Barker (HBO’s Sergio).

On August 8, Superheroes tells the stories of everyday Americans who put on their masks, handmade costumes and utility belts to fight crime. First-time filmmaker Michael Barnett directs.

Lastly, Gloria Steinem is the focus of Gloria: In Her Own Words. From filmmakers Peter Kunhardt and Dyllan McGee (HBO’s Teddy:  In His Own Words), the film tells the life story of one of the pioneers of feminism. It wraps up the summer series on August 15.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.