HBO has announced its documentary lineup for the second half of 2018, and seven of the 12 films are women-directed or co-directed.
Among the first to air will be “Jane Fonda in Five Acts,” Susan Lacy’s (“Spielberg”) portrait of the Oscar-winning actress, activist, and fitness tycoon. “Jane Fonda has been vilified as Hanoi Jane, lusted after as Barbarella, and heralded as a beacon of the women’s movement. This film goes to the heart of who she really is, a blend of deep vulnerability, magnetism, naiveté, and bravery, revealing a life transformed over time,” the announcement details.
Drawing on over 20 hours of interviews with the “Grace and Frankie” star, “Jane Fonda in Five Acts” debuts September 24 on the premium cable network. The doc made its world premiere at Sundance in January.
Other titles on the way include Sareen Hairabedian’s “We Are Not Done Yet,” a portrait of vets and active-duty service members who share their fears and vulnerabilities in an arts workshop, and Kate Davis’ “Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland,” a look into Bland’s family and legal team’s efforts to unravel the truth behind her death — Bland died in a jail cell after being arrested for a traffic violation. The former drops on HBO in November and the latter in December.
Check out all of the women-directed docs airing on HBO for the rest of 2018 below with synopses courtesy of the network.
SWIPED: HOOKING UP IN THE DIGITAL AGE (debuts Sept. 10). With more than 40 million Americans currently engaging in online and app dating, this $2.5-billion industry is rapidly changing the rules of dating, while expanding access to potential mates for everything from “hookups” to long-term relationships. This eye-opening look at the evolving nature of sex and dating in the digital age offers candid insights from twentysomethings and experts in the field. Directed by Nancy Jo Sales.
THE OSLO DIARIES (Sept. 13). In 1992, with Israeli-Palestinian relations at an all-time low and any communication between the two sides punishable by jail time, a small group of Israelis and Palestinians gathered secretly in Oslo for a series of meetings that came to be known as The Oslo Accords and dramatically changed the political landscape of the Middle East. Articulated through readings of the participants’ diaries from the time and airing on the 25th anniversary of the Accords, this geopolitical story features never-before-seen archival footage and exclusive interviews with key players, including the last on-camera conversation with former Israeli president Shimon Peres. A riveting account of talks that spanned a period of 1,100 days, the film offers a resonant portrait of diplomacy and the delicate nature of peace. Directed by Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan.
JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS (Sept. 24). Girl next door, sex icon, activist, fitness tycoon, Oscar®-winning actress Jane Fonda has lived a life marked by controversy, tragedy and transformation – and she’s done it all in the public eye. From award-winning documentarian Susan Lacy, this is an intimate look at one woman’s singular journey.
RX EARLY DETECTION: A CANCER JOURNEY WITH SANDRA LEE (Oct. 8). This deeply personal short documentary follows Sandra Lee, along with those closest to her – including her sister, Kimber, and her longtime partner, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo – as she faces a cancer diagnosis following a routine annual exam. Directed by Cathy Chermol Schrijver.
STOLEN DAUGHTERS: KIDNAPPED BY BOKO HARAM (Oct. 22). In 2014, 276 Nigerian school girls were kidnapped from a school in Chibok, Northern Nigeria, and hidden in the vast Sambisa forest for three years by Boko Haram, a violent Islamic insurgent movement. Granted exclusive access to the 82 girls who were freed last year and taken to a secret government safe house in the capitol of Abuja, the film reveals how the young women are adapting to life after their traumatic imprisonment and how the Nigerian government is handling their reentry into society. Directed by Karen Edwards and Gemma Atwal.
WE ARE NOT DONE YET (Nov.). This documentary follows veterans and active-duty service members from varied backgrounds who come together to combat their traumas through the written word in a USO-sponsored arts workshop at Walter Reed National Military Hospital. Sharing fears, vulnerabilities and victories via poetry becomes a process for bonding, empowerment and healing that culminates in a live performance of a collaborative poem at Washington, D.C.’s Lansburgh Theater. Under the direction of poet Seema Reza and actor Jeffrey Wright, the warrior-poets take to the stage to tell often hidden truths about the consequences of intimacy with war and death. Directed by Sareen Hairabedian.
SAY HER NAME: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SANDRA BLAND (Dec.). In 2015, Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman from Chicago, was arrested for a traffic violation in a small Texas town. Three days later, she was found hanging from a noose in her jail cell. Though ruled a suicide, her death sparked allegations of racially-motivated police murder and made Bland’s case a rallying point for activists across the country. Featuring Bland’s passionate video blogs, the timely documentary follows her family and their legal team as they try to make sense of what happened, presenting a compelling look at her life as well as her death. Directed and produced by Kate Davis; produced by David Heilbroner.