TCA: Discovery+ unveils doc slate for first half of 2021

Discovery Inc.’s newly launched streaming service, Discovery+, has lifted the veil on its documentary slate for the first half of 2021, featuring a mix of festival favorites and docs exclusively ...
February 11, 2021

Discovery Inc.’s newly launched streaming service, Discovery+, has lifted the veil on its documentary slate for the first half of 2021, featuring a mix of festival favorites and docs exclusively launching via the platform.

Among the docs making their way to Discovery+ in the first half of the year: Hot Docs audience award winner The Walrus and the Whistleblower (pictured); My Beautiful Stutter, which boasts actor Paul Rudd as an executive producer; Groomed, from filmmaker Gwen van der Pas; and Apocalypse ’45 from filmmaker Erik Nelson (The Cold Blue).

“This slate of documentaries is just the beginning for discovery+, as we embark on an ambitious journey to extend our leadership in nonfiction storytelling to the documentary genre,” said Lisa Holme, group SVP, content & commercial strategy for Discovery in a statement. “Discovery sets the bar for a number of unscripted categories, and with our new streaming platform, we can satisfy fans of documentaries in a medium where viewers have shown tremendous appetite for the best docs. Expect to hear much more in the months to come.”

A list of the upcoming docs in the slate follows with excerpted synopses from Discovery (dates are subject to change):

Director: Nathalie Bibeau
“A whistleblower is sued for $1.5 million for plotting to steal a walrus at the heart of the movement to end marine mammal captivity… Part cautionary tale, part portrait of human resilience, Nathalie Bibeau’s unconventional and heart-wrenching film drills at the heart of the hills we are willing to die on.”

Director: Ryan Gielen (Stop the Bleeding, The Graduates)
“Executive produced by Paul Rudd, Mariska Hargitay, Peter Hermann, George Springer and Patrick James Lynch, My Beautiful Stutter follows five kids who stutter, ages 9 to 18, from all over the United States and all walks of life. After experiencing a lifetime of bullying and stigmatization, these children meet others who stutter at an interactive arts-based program, The Stuttering Association for the Young, based in New York City.”

GROOMED (March 18, 2021)
Director: Gwen van de Pas
Groomed is the devastatingly powerful story of filmmaker Gwen van de Pas as she returns to her hometown in search of answers about the man who sexually abused her as a child. To understand her ongoing traumas, Gwen travels to meet survivors, psychologists, and even a convicted sex offender.”

Director: Miles Hargrove (Stanley Marcus Documentary, The Starck Club)
“In 1994, Miles Hargrove’s father was kidnapped outside their home in Cali, Colombia by the FARC. In an instant, the Hargrove family found themselves in the midst of a Colombian epidemic – the kidnap and ransom trade… To cope with the long and difficult negotiations, Miles kept a Video8 diary of the events that unfolded. Twenty-five years later, he revisited the footage to turn his diary into a documentary chronicling his family’s incredible story.”

FUTURE PEOPLE: THE FAMILY OF DONOR 5114 (April 10, 2021, siblings day)
Director: Michael Rothman
“Executive produced by Jason Momoa, and filmed over eight years, Rothman follows a group of adolescents who discover that they were conceived from the same sperm donor, forming an unlikely family of familiar strangers. There are presently 37 half-siblings, and counting.”

GENIUS FACTORY (May 20, 2021)
Director: Daryl Stoneage (Donkey Love, Pizzicato Five, Shlomo Arigato)
“In the 1980s an eccentric billionaire named Robert Graham wanted to create the world’s smartest kids, so he funded the largest legal genetic experiment in human history… Today, 30 years later, the children of his eugenics experiment walk the streets of America as adults. These super babies seem normal enough, but there is a hidden struggle to understand who they are and why they came to be.”

APOCALYPSE ’45 (May 27, 2021)
Director: Erik Nelson (The Cold Blue)
Apocalypse ’45 recounts the end of World War II. With never before seen restored footage and the voices of 24 men who lived through these events, this timely documentary highlights the experiences of the last of the Greatest Generation.”

“Hidden deep beneath the park is an unseen terror – a fiery time bomb slowly building up to its next eruption with the potential to become a modern Pompeii and the biggest natural disaster to ever hit the modern world. This super volcano is a mysterious danger that has left experts and scientists on edge… and it’s not the only one of its kind.”

These projects join previously announced docs headed to the streamer, including The Impossible Row, Beyond Borders, JonBenet Ramsey: What Really Happened?, PS: Burn This Letter Please, They Call Me Dr. Miami, Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story and Francesco.
More follows…

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