Nancy Buirski’s The Rape of Recy Taylor is among the eight first-run docs acquired by Lionsgate-owned Starz.
The other films picked up by the network include director Roger Donaldson’s McLaren; Slavko Martinov’s Pecking Order; Fern Levitt’s Sled Dogs; Joe Berlingers’ Intent to Destroy: Death, Denial & Depiction; Mark Monroe’s What Haunt’s Us; Jason Pollock’s Strange Fruit; and Ashley Bell’s Love & Bananas.
“We are acquiring an eclectic slate of documentaries that not only strategically align with Starz Original series but also present engaging subjects, provocative conflicts and authentic storytelling,” said C. Brett Marottoli, head of program acquisitions for Starz, in a statement.
The Rape of Recy Taylor tells the story of Recy Taylor, who was abducted and raped by six white men in Alabama in 1944. The doc, which won the Human Rights Film Network Award at the 2017 Venice Film Festival, looks at the history of physical abuse of black women
The eight docs will also be available for download or streaming via the Starz app.
Starz continues to strengthen its foothold in the documentary space, having recently acquired Steve James’ unscripted docuseries America to Me. Produced by Participant Media and Kartemquin Films, America to Me follows a group of students, teachers and administrators in suburban Chicago high schools over the course of one year as they struggle with racial and educational inequality as well as the daily challenges of being a teenager.
Descriptions of the eight documentaries are below courtesy of Starz:
Director: Roger Donaldson
March 12, 2018
A fearless sportsman and a brilliant visionary engineer, Bruce McLaren became a superstar during the glamorous jet-set world of 1960s Formula One motor racing. McLaren recounts the New Zealander’s life, from his humble beginnings at his father’s auto shop in Auckland, to revolutionizing Formula One Racing by becoming the youngest driver ever to win a Grand Prix, to his death at 32. Featuring interviews with his closest friends and family members, the documentary is an unprecedented window into the life of a true genius.
Director: Slavko Martinov
March 26, 2018
Fierce rivalries, club infighting, problematic birds and irregular judging are just some of the challenges faced by a group of zealous Kiwi chicken breeders hell bent on victory at the 2015 National Poultry Show.
Director: Fern Levitt
April 9, 2018
Winner of the World Documentary Award and Best Female-Directed Documentary at the Whistler Film Festival, Sled Dogs, is the first documentary to look at the sometimes gruesome reality of what happens at sled dog operations and the Iditarod once the tourists go home. This film weaves together various characters and narratives to explore a truth about the dog sledding industry while posing the question: “Is the abuse seen against “man’s best friend” disguised as entertainment?
Intent to Destroy: Death, Denial & Depiction
Director: Joe Berlinger
April 23, 2018
Emmy award winner and Academy Award-nominated director Joe Berlinger embeds himself on the epic film set of Terry George’s The Promise (2016) to take an unwavering look at the Armenian Genocide. Historians, scholars and filmmakers come together in Berlinger’s cinematic exploration of the tangled web of responsibility that has driven a century of denial by the Turkish government and its strategic allies.
Intent to Destroy (2017) is a timely reckoning with the large-scale suppression of a historical tragedy. Berlinger confronts the fraught task of shedding light on the Armenian Genocide – whose witnesses and descendants are still fighting to be officially acknowledged as such by the international community – how it was carried out during World War I as the reign of the Ottoman Empire drew to a close, and how it laid the groundwork for the genocides that followed.
What Haunts Us
Director: Mark Monroe
May 14, 2018
The 1979 class of Porter Gaud School in Charleston, South Carolina graduated 49 boys. Within the last 35 years, six of them have committed suicide. When Paige Goldberg Tolmach gets word that another former student from her beloved high school has killed himself, she decides to take a deep dive into her past in order to uncover the surprising truth and finally release the ghosts that haunt her hometown to this day.
Director: Jason Pollock
June 18, 2018
Stranger Fruit is a documentary about what happened to Mike Brown, told through the eyes of those closest to him, including his father, Michael Brown Sr. Pollock delivers an in-depth look at the facts of Mike Brown’s case in an effort to unravel the full story of what happened on Aug. 9, 2014, when then-Ferguson, Missouri, Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Brown.
The Rape of Recy Taylor
Director: Nancy Buirski
July 2, 2018
Mrs. Recy Taylor was abducted and gang-raped by six white men in Alabama in 1944. Unbroken, she spoke up and fought for justice with help from the NAACP, Rosa Parks and legions of women. An epic story of sexual violence in the Jim Crow South, when courageous black women fight to take back their bodies and their dignity.
Love & Bananas
Director: Ashley Bell
July 30, 2018
Ashley Bell and a team of elephant rescuers led by world-renowned Asian elephant conservationist Lek Chailert, embark on a daring 48-hour mission across Thailand to rescue a 70-year old captive blind Asian elephant and bring her to freedom.