HBO Documentary Films has acquired the North American television and streaming rights to Jenifer McShane’s feature-length documentary Ernie & Joe.
The 96-minute film follows Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro, two officers from the San Antonio Police Department, as they divert people away from jail and into mental health treatment.
The documentary chronicles Stevens and Smarro’s daily encounters with people in crisis, showing how the their innovative approach to policing – which takes mental health into account – is having a dramatic effect on the way police respond to these challenges.
Ernie & Joe enjoyed its world premiere at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival where it received special jury recognition.
The deal for Ernie & Joe was negotiated with HBO by Submarine. The project is executive produced by Andrea Meditch with McShane serving as producer.
HBO will provide Ernie & Joe with its North American television debut later this year.
“I am deeply grateful to HBO Documentary Films for bringing this story to a national audience and hope other police and mental health professionals can benefit from the experience of Ernie & Joe,” said McShane in a statement.