Docs

Netflix slates raft of documentaries, docuseries for 2020

Netflix has revealed a slate of documentary features and series set to premiere on the streamer over the next few months, including Silverback Films’ David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet and Crip ...
March 16, 2020

Netflix has revealed a slate of documentary features and series set to premiere on the streamer over the next few months, including Silverback Films’ David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet and Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, the Sundance-winning film executive produced by former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama, respectively.

Premiering later this week (March 20), the limited series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness follows “mulleted, gun-toting polygamist” Joe Exotic. The series takes a “dark” turn when Carole Baskin, an animal activist and owner of big cat sanctuary, threatens to pull him out of business.

The series is directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chailkin. Executive producers are Chris Smith (Fyre; Jim & Andy) and Fisher Stevens (Before the Flood; Bright Lights).

Also transmitting March 20, Francisco Macri’s A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story looks to get inside the mind of the Formula 1 driver.

Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht’s Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, meanwhile, tells the “untold” story of a group of teenagers that ignite a “landmark” movement from their summer camp, held down the road from Woodstock. In addition to the Obamas, executive producers are Tonia David, Priya Swaminathan and Howard Gertlet. It premieres March 25.

Looking to April, Netflix has slated Erin Lee Carr’s four part docuseries How To Fix A Drug Scandal, about convicted crime drug lab chemist Sonja Farak, for April 1.

Airing April 15, nine-part series The Innocence Files shines a light on the untold personal stories behind eight cases of conviction that the non-profit organization the Innocence Project and organizations within the Innocence Network have uncovered and worked to overturn.

The series is executive produced by Liz Garbus and Academy Award-winners Alex Gibney and Roger Ross Williams. Episodes will be directed by Jed Rothstein, Andy Grieve and Sarah Dowland.

Netflix will premiere Circus of Books, the debut documentary from Rachel Mason, on April 22. Executive produced by Ryan Murphy, the film follows Mason’s parents, who became America’s biggest distributors of gay porn.

Titles headed to the streamer April 29 are: Chris Bolan’s A Secret Love, about the decades-long relationship between baseball player Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel (produced by Alexa L. Fogel, Brendan Mason and Ryan Murphy); and Daniel Birman’s Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story, about the arrest of 16-year-old Cyntoia Denise Brown after she murdered a 43-year-old man who picked her up for sex (produced by Megan E. Chao).

Moving into May, titles slated to air include: Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics, which tells comedic tripping stories from actors, comedians and musicians (May 11; produced by Mike Rosenstein, Sunset Rose Pictures and Sugarshack 2000); and the documentary series Trial by Media, which explores how the press shape public perception during or after a trial (May 11; a Supper Club production in association with Smokehouse Pictures).

Trial by Media is directed by Skye Borgamn, Garrett Bradley, Yance Ford, Brian McGinn, Sierra Pettengill and Tony Yacenda. Executive producers are Jeffrey Toobin; Steven Brill; George Clooney and Grant Heslove for Smokehouse Pictures; and Supper Club’s McGinn, Jason Sterman and David Gelb.

Sam Rega’s Spelling the Dream, meanwhile, premieres May 23. The film chronicles the ups and downs of four Indian-American students as they compete to realize their dream of winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Rega serves as producer with Chris Weller.

Titles slated for June include: Lenox Hill, which follows four doctors who navigate the highs and lows of working at the Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City (June 10; directed and produced by Adi Barash and Ruthie Shatz. Series); the New York Times’ documentary Father Soldier Son, which follows one military family over the course of a decade (June 19; directed by Leslye Davis and Catrin Einhorn); and Athlete A, about disgraced gymnastics coach Larry Nassar (June 24; directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk).

In July, Netflix will air Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, about the “iconic, gender non-confirming astrologer” (July 8; directed by Cristina Costantini and Kareeem Tabsch; produced by Alex Fumero).

The streamer will also premiere Street Food: Latin America in July, a series from the creators of Netflix’s Chef’s Table. The newest installment will travel to six countries in Latin America and explore the vibrant street food culture. It is created by David Gelb and Brian McGinn. Executive producer ares David Gelb, Andrew Fried and Brian McGinn; Dane Lillegard is co-executive producer..

Netflix has slated four additional titles to air sometime in 2020.

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (pictured) tells the “story of life” on Earth, addressing the “biggest challenges facing life”; Dick Johnson Is Dead is a portrait of the retired psychiatrist, directed by his daughter Kirsten Johnson; and the 12-episode reboot of Unsolved Mysteries tells the stories of “ordinary people who have lived the unthinkable” (from the creators of the original series, Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, and Stranger Things producer 21 Laps Entertainment).

Finally, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich is a four-part series airing on the streamer in 2020. The docuseries, directed by Lisa Bryant, examines the failures in the justice system that allowed the serial sex abuser to evade prosecution for so long.

Executive produced by Joe Berlinger, Filthy Rich is a RadicalMedia and James Patterson Entertainment Production in association with Third Eye Motion Picture Company.

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a special reports editor at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.

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