A+E Networks-owned channel History is making a big move into the documentary space via an ambitious doc strand.
The ‘History 100′ (w/t) strand will be comprised of 100 films from acclaimed documentary directors that focus on some of the most compelling historical events of the last century.
Anchoring the front end of the slate will be eight films from such award-winning filmmakers as Barbara Kopple, Daniel Junge, Charles Ferguson and Werner Herzog, as well as celebrated executive producers Jane Root, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Mark Herzog and Christopher G. Cowen.
Films will spotlight such significant stories in American history as the group of pioneers that made up NASA’s first female astronaut training program; former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who helped bring about the end of the Cold War; the attempted Delta Force mission to end the Iran hostage crisis; and a new perspective on the Watergate story.
“The only way to understand today is to see it in the context of yesterday and History is committed to scouring the past for the most gripping, fascinating stories,” said Eli Lehrer, EVP of programming at History, in a statement. “Our dynamic and diverse array of award-winning storytellers will bring the history of the past 100 years to life through the fresh voices and perspectives in these groundbreaking documentaries.”
A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for all of the programs.
The initial ‘History 100′ documentary programming slate, with descriptions provided by the network, follows below:
Meeting Gorbachev (working title)
Acclaimed director Werner Herzog (pictured) meets Mikhail Gorbachev for a series of exclusive one-on-one interviews with the man who ended the cold war. Using Gorbachev’s personal archives as well as interviews with key political players from the last 30 years, this will be a deeply humanizing portrait of an enigmatic man who’s still viewed as a traitor by many Russians.
Meeting Gorbachev is produced by Spring Films and Werner Herzog Film. Directed by Werner Herzog and André Singer. Produced by Lucki Stipetic and Svetlana Palmer. Richard Melman is the executive producer. Molly Thompson is executive producer for History. Meeting Gorbachev is a History Films production in association with A&E IndieFilms.
Desert One (working title)
From two time Academy Award winning director Barbara Kopple, comes the incredible story of Operation Eagle Claw: the attempted Delta Force mission to end the Iran Hostage Crisis. On November 4, 1979, hundreds of Iranian students took up arms and took the American Embassy by storm, and the subsequent attempt to end the hostage stand-off would result in the death of eight American soldiers (while re-shaping how our Special Forces operate), and contribute to the electoral victory of Ronald Reagan over Jimmy Carter. Recounted in context of the broader crisis, Desert One will be a nuanced examination of the mission and its considerable legacy both at home and abroad.
Desert One is produced by Cabin Creek Films. Zachary Behr is executive producer for History.
Rocket Women (working title)
From Emmy nominated producer Jane Root, comes the incredible story of the very first would-be women astronauts, the Mercury 13. At the height of the US/Soviet space race, NASA’s Randy Lovelace embarked on a secret experiment: he recruited over 20 women to undergo NASA’s radical physical exam – the toughest in the world at the time. When many of the women passed, with some even outperforming the men, it opened up a whole new chapter in America’s space story and ignited an early public debate on gender equality.
Rocket Women is produced by Nutopia. Jane Root serves as executive producer for Nutopia. Zachary Behr is executive producer for History.
Game on: The Improbable and Shocking Story of the Video Game Business (working title)
This is the untold story of the personal battles that gave rise to the $100 billion video game industry. Brought to life by Academy Award winning director Daniel Junge, this film is a tale of brilliant innovations, colossal failures, and ego-driven rivalries on a massive scale. It is a 50-year-long, multi-generation epic featuring corporate coups, industrial espionage, secret burial grounds and the promise of unimaginable riches being just one cartridge away.
Game on: The Improbable and Shocking Story of the Video Game Business is produced by Efran Films and Stone Cottage Media. Daniel Junge serves as director. Morgan Hertzan and Shawn Efran are executive producers. Zachary Behr is executive producer for History.
From Academy Award winning director Charles Ferguson, comes the full story of the conspiracy led by President Richard Nixon and his White House staff and how they were brought to justice. New interviews with journalists, senior Nixon administration officials, members of congress, and prosecutors – combined with archival footage and newly sourced information from the Nixon White House tapes – will bring a fresh perspective on this complex story.
Watergate is produced by Representational Pictures. Charles Ferguson is director and producer, Krista Parris is producer for Representational Pictures. Michael Stiller and Molly Thompson are executive producers for History. Watergate is a History Films production in association with A&E IndieFilms.
Where is Angel? (working title)
From Left/Right, the award-winning producers of The Circus, this documentary will take viewers inside Air Force One on one of the most fateful days in U.S. history – 9/11. From this unique vantage point, viewers will experience the struggles of our nation’s leaders, and members of the civilian and military chain of command, as they grapple with the unforeseen nature and extent of the deadly attack.
“Where is Angel” is produced by Left/Right. Ken Druckerman and Banks Tarver are executive producers for Left/Right. Kristen Burns, Jim Pasquarella and Zachary Behr are executive producers for History.
Cola Wars (working title)
From Herzog & Company, the Emmy Award winning producers of Gettysburg, The History of Comedy and the acclaimed Decades Series – The Sixties, The Seventies, The Eighties – this film will explore how two of the most powerful companies in the world – Coca Cola and Pepsi – have used advertising campaigns, publicity stunts, and other cutthroat tactics in an incalculably expensive bid to each be the top purveyor of beverages to consumers. It is a story that speaks volumes about who we are as a people, shedding an illuminating—and not always flattering—light on why and how we make the decisions we do.
Cola Wars is produced by Herzog and Company. Mark Herzog and Christopher G. Cowen are executive producers for Herzog, with executive producers Robert Edwards and Ferne Pearlstein. Zachary Behr is executive producer for History.
Axis of Addicts (working title)
At the outset of World War II, the Nazis harbored a secret. In spite of their talk of racial, spiritual and physical purity – they were an Axis of drug addicts. It wasn’t just those in the trenches on drugs, Hitler and his High Command were chasing a state of supreme human function via uppers, downers and everything in between. This documentary will explore the origin, impact and lasting effects of the state-sponsored drug use that helped build – and eventually burn – the Third Reich. New sources of information, including never-before-seen historical records, reveal the extent of the Nazi party’s reliance on drugs to power their war effort.
Axis of Addicts is produced by World of Wonder. Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell and Jason Sklaver are executive producers for World of Wonder. Melinda Toporoff is executive producer for History.