Premium cable network HBO has unveiled its documentary slate as part of its 2019 TCA Winter tour, with Alex Gibney’s The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley and Amy Berg’s The Case Against Adnan Syed among the films highlighting the network’s early 2019 programming lineup.
Gibney’s The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley (pictured), which world premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, explores the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and her infamous biotech startup Theranos, which vowed to disrupt health care with inexpensive, accessible finger-prick blood tests. The 119-minute feature film will premiere on HBO on March 18.
Berg’s The Case Against Adnan Syed, meanwhile, will reinvestigate the 1999 murder of an 18-year-old Baltimore Country high school student and the subsequent conviction of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, as popularized by the 2014 NPR podcast Serial. The four-part documentary will utilize a wealth of archival footage, documents from the case file and family photos to reopen the original police investigation and trial, and moves into the current day as Syed faces the prospect of a new trial after nearly 20 years in jail. The Case Against Adnan Syed debuts on March 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Also anchoring the network’s lineup of premium documentaries is Dan Reed’s previously announced Leaving Neverland, which explores the experiences of two young boys who alleged that seminal pop icon Michael Jackson sexually abused them. Jackson was acquitted of molestation charges in 2005. Produced by Reed’s Amos Pictures, the two-part doc launches on March 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, followed by the second part the following night on March 4 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
The remaining documentary films slated to fill HBO’s programming lineup in the winter and spring of 2019 are listed below, with descriptions courtesy of the network:
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Directed by Morgan Neville
Premiere date: Feb. 9
One of the most celebrated theatrical releases of 2018, this documentary takes an intimate look at America’s favorite neighbor: Fred Rogers. It tells the story of a soft-spoken minister, puppeteer, writer and producer whose show was beamed into homes across America daily for more than 30 years. In his beloved television program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” Rogers and his cast of puppets and friends spoke directly to young children about some of life’s weightiest issues in a simple, direct fashion.
Directed by Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown
Premiere date: Feb. 18
When America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community of thousands battles in a racially charged environment to save an underground African-American subculture. This documentary celebrates a phenomenon that has been overlooked by the mainstream for generations, yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talents.
It’s A Hard Truth, Ain’t It
Directed by Madeline Sackler
Premiere date: Feb. 25
Filmed during the production of the HBO Films drama O.G. in Indiana’s Pendleton Correctional Facility, an active maximum-security prison, this companion documentary is co-directed by Madeleine Sackler and 13 of its inmates, several of whom were also cast as first-time actors in O.G. These men study documentary filmmaking as a vehicle to explore their memories and examine how they ended up with decades-long sentences.
One Nation Under Stress
Directed by Marc Levin
Premiere date: March 25
Stunned by reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that life expectancy in the United States is declining for the first time in more than a century, Dr. Sanjay Gupta sets out to see what’s happening and why. While looking at society through the state of its health, he discovers an epidemic of self-inflicted deaths of despair (caused by drug overdoses, chronic liver disease and suicide) that are driven by an increasingly stressed America.
On Tour With Aspergers’s Are Us
Directed by Alex Lehmann
Premiere date: April
Executive produced by Mark and Jay Duplass, this six-part series follows the first all-autistic comedy troupe as it navigates its first cross-country tour. Crammed into a relic of an RV that’s on the verge of explosion, the team of four hits the road for six weeks, testing their understanding of friendship, comedy and carburetors.
Ice On Fire
Directed by Leila Conners
Premiere date: April
This eye-opening film explains the present-day effects of excess carbon on planetary systems large and small, and explores the ways people can reduce carbon input to the atmosphere, as well as “draw down” the existing excess. Shot in nine countries around the world, the documentary visits visionaries and scientists young and old who are innovating cutting-edge efforts to mitigate climate change and minimize climate-related events, despite a rapidly warming planet.
At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal
Directed by Erin Lee Carr
Premiere date: April
An inside look at the sexual abuse scandal that shook the sports world in 2017, this film examines how Dr. Larry Nassar, the osteopathic physician for the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team, went undeterred for so many years. Featuring exclusive interviews with survivors and offering insights going beyond the headlines, the documentary shines a light on the brave gymnasts who share their stories and whose courageous efforts reveal a dangerous system that prioritized winning over everything else.
Directed by Deborah Oppenheimer and Mark Jonathan Harris
Premiere date: May
Drawing on unprecedented access, this film traces a complex path through the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services. Oscar winners Deborah Oppenheimer and Mark Jonathan Harris upend some of the most enduring myths about foster care, going beyond the sensational headlines and stereotypes. Interweaving first-hand stories of those navigating the child protection system with insights from social workers, lawyers and other advocates, the film offers a realistic but hopeful perspective on a community that needs society’s support.
Running with Beto
Directed by David Modigliani
Premiere date: TBA
This behind-the-scenes documentary follows Beto O’Rourke’s rise from virtual unknown to national political sensation through his bold attempt to unseat Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Embedded with the campaign for a year, the film follows his journey through intimate access to O’Rourke, his family and a team of political newcomers who champion a new way of getting to know a candidate — one Texas county at a time.
With files from Daniele Alcinii