In this week’s roundup, we look at unscripted series and documentaries scheduled to debut on PBS documentary strand ‘POV’, HBO, Ovation and Amazon Prime Video.
Arts network Ovation is expected to warm up the winter months with a six-part docuseries featuring award-winning, internationally renowned actor Sam Neill.
The Pacific: In the Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neill will follow the Jurassic Park and Hunt for the Wilderpeople actor as he retraces Captain James Cook’s voyage across the largest ocean in the world in an attempt to re-examine Cook’s legacy. In celebration of the 250th anniversary of the HMS Endeavour’s departure from England, Neill will offer new perspectives from the Pacific cultures left in Cook’s wake. The Pacific premieres tonight (Feb. 14) at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Ovation, which will air two hour-long episodes every Thursday night over three weeks.
Elsewhere, digital streaming giant Amazon will launch Lorena (pictured), an investigative true crime docuseries from acclaimed director Joshua Rofé across Amazon Prime Video on Friday (Feb. 15).
Executive produced by Academy Award-winning actor Jordan Peele, the four-part docuseries re-investigates the events of 1993 when Lorena Bobbitt sliced off her husband’s penis after years of abuse. The series provides in-depth insight into the story of Bobbitt and exposes how this event laid the groundwork for the modern 24-hour news cycle and increasing sensationalistic media coverage. Lorena, which debuts Feb. 15 on Amazon Prime Video, is produced by Peele’s Monkeypaw, Rofé’s Number 19 and Sonar Entertainment.
American pubcaster PBS, meanwhile, will provide the broadcast television premiere of Bing Liu’s Academy Award-nominated Minding the Gap across its long-standing documentary strand ‘POV’ next week.
Liu’s feature-length debut, which held its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, chronicles a group of three young men who, over the course of a decade, bond together through skateboarding to escape volatile home lives in Rockford, Illinois. Archive footage is interwoven with current interviews and skateboarding footage to follow the trio as they navigate unexpected revelations that threaten their friendship. The 93-minute film was produced by Kartemquin Films, and co-produced by American Documentary, POV and ITVS. Minding the Gap launches Feb. 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on PBS’s POV.
Finally, Madeleine Sackler’s feature-length documentary It’s A Hard Truth, Ain’t It will receive its television debut when it airs across premium cable network HBO later this month.
Co-directed by Sackler and 13 men serving extended sentences at Indiana’s Pendleton Correctional Facility, the documentary follows the incarcerated men as they study documentary filmmaking as a vehicle to explore their memories from childhood to incarceration. The doc was filmed during the same production period as the HBO Films drama O.G., which was also shot entirely at Pendleton.
It’s A Hard Truth, Ain’t It is an HBO Documentary Films presentation of a Great Curve Films and Stacey Reiss production. The film will be made available for streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now beginning Feb 23 at 11:45 p.m. ET/PT, and will debut Feb. 25 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the main HBO linear channel.