Coming Soon: “Malala,” “America’s Greatest Makers”

In this week's round-up, new unscripted titles and documentaries are slated to air on such networks as National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Mundo, PBS's 'Independent Lens' strand, Discovery Channel and TBS (Pictured: He Named Me Malala)
February 25, 2016

In this week’s round-up, new unscripted series and documentaries are slated to premiere across such networks as National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Mundo, PBS’s ‘Independent Lens’ strand, Discovery Channel and TBS.

U.S. cable network National Geographic Channel, in partnership with Fox Searchlight Pictures, is to air the global television debut of Davis Guggenheim‘s BAFTA-nominated documentary He Named Me Malala (pictured) on February 29.

The film, which enjoyed its world premiere at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, paints an “intimate portrait” of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban and shot when returning home on a school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.

The feature film will air across Nat Geo in the U.S. at 8 p.m. EST/PST on February 29, and will be simulcast across Nat Geo Mundo as Él Me Nombró Malala. A global roll-out is planned within a week in 171 countries and 45 languages.

Elsewhere, PBS documentary strand ‘Independent Lens’ will feature June Cross‘ film Wilhemina’s War, which focuses on the HIV epidemic in the rural U.S. town of Williston, South Carolina.

The 62-minute doc, which was shot over a five-year period and premieres February 29 at 10 p.m. EST/PST, centers on 62-year-old grandmother Wilhemina Dixon as she struggles to care for five family members with HIV/AIDS who are growing increasingly ill. The film provides a firsthand account of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of one of the leading causes of death for black women in the rural south.

Meanwhile, Discovery Channel will say goodbye to long-running science entertainment series MythBusters after 14 seasons, 248 episodes, 2950 experiments, 1050 myths and 900 explosions.

The series finale, which airs on March 5 at 8 p.m. EST/PST, will showcase hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman as they blow up an RV, take a “wild ride” while experimenting with a cement truck filled with 5,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate/fuel oil – a widely used bulk industrial explosive mixture.

Immediately following the episode, the Beyond Productions-made series will see all five of its hosts throughout its 13-year history – Savage, Hyneman, Kari Byron, Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara – pay tribute to the show in a behind-the-scenes reunion special set to feature celebrity guests. The hour-long special airs at 9 p.m. EST/PST.

The following day, Discovery and Science Channel will transmit a never-before-seen MythBusters episode on duct tape. The episode – airing on March 6 at 8 p.m. EST/PST – will offer viewers with “the duct tape build to end all duct tape builds in size, engineering, complexity and sheer ambition.”

Finally, U.S. cable network TBS will air the tech competition series America’s Greatest Makers from executive producer Mark Burnett and MGM Television on April 5 at 9 p.m. EST/PST.

The series, which was created in partnership with technology company Intel, pits 24 teams of American creators in head-to-head challenges that see them conceiving, pitching and implementing “game-changing technology” in front of a panel of celebrity judges. The series culminates with the five finalists presenting their finished products for a chance to take home the US$1 million prize and title of “America’s Greatest Makers.”

Celebrity judges include sports icons Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith; actor Mayim Bialik; and Massimo Banzi, co-founder and CEO of open-source computer hardware company Arduino.

About The Author
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.