Exclusive: Nat Geo pairing “Breakthrough” with docs

U.S. net National Geographic will air three companion documentaries alongside its upcoming science anthology series from executive producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. (Pictured: DamNation)
July 29, 2015

U.S. net National Geographic Channel will air three companion documentaries alongside its previously announced science anthology series, Breakthrough, from executive producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

The documentaries Hip Hop-eration, DamNation (pictured) and Inside the Mega Twister are set to “thematically connect a real-world story” to the innovations featured in each episode of Breakthrough, which focuses on the people and technology behind scientific innovations in such areas as longevity, water, brain science, energy, pandemics and cyborg technology.

First announced at a Nat Geo Upfront presentation in April, each episode of Breakthrough will be helmed by a Hollywood director, including Angela Bassett, Peter Berg, Paul Giamatti, Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard and Brett Ratner. The 6 x 60-minute series is coproduced by Imagine Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment and backed by General Electric.

Hip Hop-eration premieres after a Breakthrough episode on longevity and was first released in New Zealand last September. The documentary – produced by Inkubator Limited and the New Zealand Film Commission – follows a group of seniors aged 65 to 95 as they prepare for Las Vegas’ World Hip Hop Dance Championships.

Elsewhere, the National Geographic Studios-made Inside the Mega Twister follows an episode on energy and focuses on the deadly 2013 El Reno tornado, which was tracked using new CGI and progressive radar technology. The film features first-hand accounts from scientists and storm chasers, and charts all stages of the storm.

Finally, DamNation is produced by outdoor clothing brand Patagonia and first premiered at SXSW in March. The doc is to air after a Breakthrough episode on water and follows environmental activists rallying for the demolition of dams to protect salmon and ecosystems in the Northwest U.S. Created by filmmakers and activists Ben Knight, Travis Rummel and Matt Stoecker, the film features interviews and exclusive footage of dam removal and the immediate and long-term effects of dams, and also profiles those who live off the region’s rivers.

The documentaries and series are set to air this fall.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.