Tribeca Film Festival to Open With Apollo Theater Documentary

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival will open with the world premiere of “The Apollo,” an HBO Documentary film about the landmark Apollo Theater in New York City, the festival announced on Wednesday.

Roger Ross Williams directs the feature-length documentary that weaves archival footage, music, comedy and dance performances, and behind-the-scenes looks at the team that makes the theater run. “The Apollo” features interviews with artists including Patti LaBelle, Pharrell Williams, Smokey Robinson, and Jamie Foxx.

“The Apollo” will make its world premiere on April 24 at the iconic theater itself, and it will air on HBO later this year. The documentary is produced by Lisa Cortés, Nigel Sinclair’s White Horse Pictures, and Williams.

Also Read: HBO Won’t Edit Michael Jackson Doc ‘Leaving Neverland’ That Singer’s Estate Complained About

The documentary covers the rich history of the storied performance space over its 85 years and follows a new production of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me” as it comes to the theater’s stage. The creation of Coates’s multimedia stage show frames the way in which “The Apollo” explores the current struggle of black lives in America, the role that art plays in that struggle and the broad range of African American achievement that the Apollo Theater represents.

The Apollo Theater is internationally renowned for having influenced American and pop culture more than any other entertainment venue. The space has created opportunities for new talent to be seen and has served as a launchpad for a myriad of artists including Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Luther Vandross, Dave Chappelle, Lauryn Hill, Jimi Hendrix, and more.

“We’re excited to finally be going uptown to play the Apollo.” Jane Rosenthal, co-founder and CEO of the Tribeca Film Festival said in a statement. “‘The Apollo’ gives audiences an inside look at the major role this institution has played for the past 85 years. It’s seen the emergence of everything from Jazz to R&B to Soul and Gospel – all quintessential American music genres, and this is the time to remind people of our nation’s rich history.”

Also Read: Spinal Tap to Reunite and Perform for 35th Anniversary Screening at Tribeca Film Festival

“The Apollo is about so much more than just music, it’s about how we used music and art to lift ourselves out of oppression,” director Williams said in a statement. “The story of the Apollo is the story of the evolution of black American identity and how it grew to become the defining cultural movement of our time.  I was fortunate to make my first film with HBO and I am thrilled to be coming back home with The Apollo. Premiering at The Tribeca Film Festival, at the Apollo Theater in Harlem is a dream come true.”

“The Apollo Theater is a symbol of the creative spirit of New York and beyond, and I’m very happy that we’re kicking off our 18th festival celebrating it with this documentary from Roger Ross Williams,” Tribeca co-founder Robert De Niro said in a statement.

“The Apollo” will also have additional screenings during the festival. Passes and packages to attend go on sale on Feb. 19, and the festival, now in its 18th year, runs from April 24 to May 15. The fest will announce its full feature film slate on Mar. 5.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘To Dust,’ ‘United Skates’ Win Tribeca Film Festival Audience Awards

Tribeca Film Festival: ‘Diane,’ ‘Smuggling Hendrix,’ ‘Island of the Hungry Ghosts’ Take Top Jury Awards

Watch ‘Westworld’ Panel at Tribeca Film Festival Awkwardly End Right After Cringeworthy Fan Question (Video)

Alec Baldwin Set To Host Inaugural Arthur Miller Foundation Honors

Read on: Deadline.

Alec Baldwin will host the Arthur Miller Foundation’s inaugural honors gala in New York celebrating the work of HBO Documentary Films and playwright Tony Kushner.
The inaugural Arthur Miller Foundation Honors is set for Monday, Oct. 22, at Manhat…

HBO Documentary Films Acquires WWII Doc ‘The Cold Blue’

Read on: Deadline.

HBO Documentary Films has taken U.S. TV rights to Erik Nelson’s The Cold Blue which tells the story of the Eighth Air Force who flew multiple deadly missions during WWII. The doc will air in June 2019.
The doc, from Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Product…

HBO Acquires Documentary On USA Gymnastics Sexual-Abuse Scandal

Read on: Deadline.

HBO Documentary Films has acquired worldwide TV and streaming rights to At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal, which explores the sexual abuse scandal that shook the sports world in 2017.
Slated to bow on HBO, next year, the film is d…

HBO & Independent Filmmaker Project Launch Non-Fiction Storyteller Funding Initiative

Read on: Deadline.

HBO Documentary Films and the Independent Filmmaker Project have launched the New True Stories Funding Initiative for emerging non-fiction storytellers. The initiative seeks to support and foster relationships with new voices in a range of formats, cul…

‘Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind’ HBO Documentary – First Trailer Out

Read on: Deadline.

The first trailer from the forthcoming documentary on comedian Robin Williams is out from HBO Documentary Films.
Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind bows on July 16 on HBO, offering an intimate portrait of one of the world’s most beloved and inventive …

HBO Reteams With Alex Gibney To Chronicle Fall Of Elizabeth Holmes’ Theranos Company

Read on: Deadline.

HBO Documentary Films and Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney will team up to investigate the bizarre tale of Theranos, the once multibillion-dollar healthcare company that made young founder Elizabeth Holmes a billionaire and an accused fraud in short …

Docuseries Based On Michelle McNamara’s Golden State Killer Book ‘I’ll Be Gone In the Dark’ Greenlighted By HBO

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: HBO Documentary Films has given the green light to a docuseries based on Michelle McNamara’s bestselling true-crime book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, and production is underway. Oscar no…

Docuseries Based On Michelle McNamara’s ‘I’ll Be Gone In The Dark’ True-Crime Book In Works At HBO

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: HBO Documentary Films has acquired the rights to journalist Michelle McNamara’s bestselling true-crime book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, to develop as a docuseries.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a meticulous exploration of the case of an elusive, violent predator who terrorized California in the late 1970s and early ’80s. McNamara, the late wife of Patton Oswalt, was in the midst of writing the book when she…

HBO Documentary Films Acquires Rights to ‘The Price of Everything’ Ahead of Sundance Premiere

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

HBO Documentary Films has picked up the rights to “The Price of Everything” ahead of its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

The premium cable network acquired both the U.S. TV and theatrical rights to the Nathaniel Kahn-directed film, and plans to open it in theaters in a minimum of 12 U.S. markets prior to its HBO premiere.

The flick, a deep dive into the contemporary art world, will bow in the Sundance U.S. Documentary Competition on Jan. 19.

Also Read: Sundance Parties 2018: Highlights of the Starry Scene Invading Park City

“I couldn’t think of a better home for the film than HBO,” Kahn said. “I had a great experience with them on both ‘My Architect’ and my short, ‘Two Hands,’ and am particularly happy they will be taking on the theatrical as well as the TV release for ‘The Price of Everything.’”

Exploring the labyrinth of the contemporary art world, the film examines the role of art and artistic passion in today’s money-driven, consumer-based society, according to its official synopsis.

“The Price of Everything” features collectors, dealers, auctioneers and a rich range of artists, from current market darlings Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter and Njideka Akunyili Crosby, to one-time art star Larry Poons. The project seeks to expose deep contradictions as it holds a mirror up to contemporary values and times, coaxing out the dynamics at play in pricing the priceless.

Also Read: Sundance After #MeToo: Indie Buyers and Sellers Step Up Vetting of Filmmakers, Stars

Josh Braun of Submarine and Lisa Callif of Donaldson + Callif, LLP negotiated the deal with HBO Documentary Films.

“The Price of Everything” was produced by Jennifer Blei Stockman and Debi Wisch for Hot & Sunny Productions and Carla Solomon for Anthos Media. Lisa Remington and Kayla Malahiazar acted as co-producers. The film is edited by Sabine Krayenbühl, with additional editing by Phillip Schopper and Brad Fuller. Lensing is by Bob Richman and music is by Jeff Beal.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Why ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Has to Wait Until 2019 – HBO Boss Casey Bloys Explains

HBO’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Director Says Why Ray Bradbury Novel Is More Relevant Than Ever

No, HBO’s ‘Succession’ Is NOT About the Murdoch Family

‘Silicon Valley’ Returns to HBO in March for Season 5 (Video)

HBO Taps Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller as Co-Heads of Documentary and Family Programming

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller have been named co-heads of HBO Documentary and Family Programming, HBO programming president Casey Bloys announced Tuesday.

The news follows Monday’s official announcement Sheila Nevins will be stepping down from her post as the long-running president of HBO Documentary and Family Programming early next year.

“With Nancy and Lisa leading a stellar team, there will be a continued commitment to the excellence that was a hallmark of Sheila’s tenure,” Bloys said in a press release. “Our viewers can look forward to a compelling slate of programming.”

Nevins revealed the news of her exit in an in-depth interview with Maureen Dowd that went live on Saturday.

Also Read: HBO Documentary President Sheila Nevins to Step Down

“There’s something exciting about leaving a job. I can’t explain it. I have deprived my life of a life. All I did was work. I was, like, born at HBO and I don’t have to die there,” Nevins told Dowd. “If I stayed any longer, I probably would have died at my desk. I just regret that there’s so little time left.”

The exec has helmed the network’s documentary division since 1979 and acted as president since 2004. In the time that Nevins has been running the show, HBO has won 26 Oscars, the most recent being for 2015’s “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.”

Abraham and Heller, who will be taking on the roles of executive vice presidents, are both currently senior vice presidents in the division, tackling development, production and acquisition for HBO Documentary and Family programming.

Also Read: HBO Docs Genius Sheila Nevins Says She Slept With Bosses Early in Her Career

Abraham has been with the HBO department since 1995 and was promoted to vice president in 1998. She became a senior VP in 2009. Abraham has been programming executive for projects like “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds,” “Cries from Syria,” “Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper,” “Life According to Sam,” “Six by Sondheim,” “The Loving Story,” “Ethel” and “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.”

Heller moved into HBO’s documentary division in 2000 from her role as executive producer for the PBS documentary series “POV.” She was promoted to vice president in 2001 and became senior vice president in 2012. Heller has taken point as programming exec on “Born into Brothels,” “Capturing the Friedmans,” “Everything Is Copy – Nora Ephron: Scripted & Unscripted,” “Spielberg,” “The Black List,” “The Words That Built America” and the series “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” and family programs like “Sesame Street.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

HBO Taps Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller as Co-Heads of Documentary and Family Programming

Issa Rae to Develop 2 More Shows for HBO

HBO Documentary President Sheila Nevins to Step Down

‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ to Return to HBO for Season 10

HBO Names Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller Co-Heads of Documentary and Family Programming

Read on: Variety.

Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller have been named executive vice presidents of HBO documentary and family programming, the premium cabler announced Tuesday. The announcement comes in the wake of the announced departure of HBO Documentary president Sheila Nevins, who is leaving HBO after 38 years. Nevins will officially step down in March. “With Nancy and Lisa […]

HBO Documentary President Sheila Nevins to Step Down (Report)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins is leaving the cable network after 38 years, the New York Times reported.

Nevins revealed the news in an in-depth interview with Maureen Dowd that went live on Saturday.

“There’s something exciting about leaving a job. I can’t explain it. I have deprived my life of a life. All I did was work. I was, like, born at HBO and I don’t have to die there,” Nevins tells Dowd. “If I stayed any longer, I probably would have died at my desk. I just regret that there’s so little time left.”

Also Read: HBO Docs Genius Sheila Nevins Says She Slept With Bosses Early in Her Career

Nevins is taking “several projects” she started at HBO with her, which she plans to finish at home, according to the Times. She’s also mulling over taking on radio show with SiriusXM called “Kicking Ass With Sheila Nevins” and perhaps another book.

The exec has run the network’s documentary division since 1979 and acted as president since 2004. In the time that Nevins has been running the show, HBO has won 26 Oscars, the most recent being for 2015’s “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.”

Nevins has overseen production on over 1,000 documentaries for the cabler, including acclaimed projects like “Going Clear,” “Citizenfour” and “Bright Lights.”

Also Read: ‘Sharp Objects’: First Look at Amy Adams in HBO Adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Debut Novel

The HBO vet has received 32 Primetime Emmy Awards, 35 News and Documentary Emmys and 42 Peabody Awards for projects in which she held either an executive producer or producer credit.

Related stories from TheWrap:

HBO Documentary President Sheila Nevins to Step Down (Report)

HBO Docs Genius Sheila Nevins Says She Slept With Bosses Early in Her Career

HBO’s Nevins Lands Governors Award

A-List Women Directors, Actors, Executives Join Filmmaking Competition From Glamour, GirlGaze

Peaceful Protests in ‘Cries From Syria’ Say Much About America in 2017

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

It happened in the Ukraine. It’s happening in Syria. And now it’s happening in the U.S.

Evgeny Afineevsky, the director of the HBO documentary “Cries from Syria,” has seen the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad label the country’s peaceful protestors as terrorists. And now he says it’s happening in 2017 in America.

“People came out to the streets against President Trump. People who came out in Syria came out against President Assad. They came with water and flowers, peaceful demonstrations. Their government pronounced them terrorists,” Afineevsky told TheWrap Editor-in-Chief and CEO Sharon Waxman during a Q&A at TheWrap’s Awards and Foreign Screening Series on Thursday night. “The word ‘rebels’ is something the media gave a negative connotation. So in our minds, we see rebels as something negative,” he added while speaking at the event, held at The Landmark Theatres in Los Angeles.

Also Read: George and Amal Clooney Commit $3.5 Million Donation to Aid Syrian Refugee Children

“Cries from Syria” tells the story of the Syrian refugee crisis in four chapters: the birth of the revolution in the Arab Spring, the start of the Syrian Civil War, the rescue efforts as the situation worsens, and, finally, the ongoing escape efforts from the regime. It’s a film about how revolution spreads and what it’s like to live under constant turmoil and oppression.

“I saw the screaming headlines saying these people are bringing Islam into our countries. These people are taking over our cities, and everyone was afraid of Syrian refugees,” Afineevsky said about the media in the European Union as he finished his previous film. “I wanted to tell the story of refugees, but I can’t talk about refugees if most people don’t know what happened and why these people are fleeing.”

He captures their story in especially grim detail. “Cries from Syria” opens with a toddler lying dead face down on a beach, the waves washing over his body. A six-year-old has a hole in his face where a sniper bullet has pierced through his cheek. The aftermath of a chemical weapon attack in 2013 resembles Holocaust imagery. Former prisoners recount how everyone among them was raped, beaten and tortured. And in their testimonials, Syrian civilians remember how wrong they were when they thought things couldn’t get any worse.

Also Read: ‘Cries From Syria’ Director Applauds US Strike But Says It Did Little to Help Syrians

Afineevsky says there is a real misunderstanding of the refugee crisis in the media and among our politicians. Afineevsky described screening the film to a bipartisan group of Congress back in 2015 and realized the work that needed to be done.

“I was asked by every Congressman I met, ‘What should we do?’ They saw the movie, and for them it was like Columbus discovering America,” Afineevsky said.

Instead, the director has taken his efforts to the streets and to the people in need, earning the trust of Syrian freedom fighters on the ground by explaining how as a storyteller, he could take their story and expose it to the world.

“I explained to them, we lack knowledge. We are in the darkness in our media. Media never exposed what happened from 2011, up until 2015. It was the screaming headlines of ‘Here They Come,’” Afineevsky said. “As the doctor who wants to treat the disease, I can’t just treat the symptoms, I need to treat the disease. So I need to tell a story that has a beginning, middle and end.”

Also Read: Lindsey Graham Calls Assad’s Use of Syria’s Bombed Base an ‘FU’ to Trump (Video)

Afineevsky said it was his “happiest moment” to learn his last film “Winter on Fire” was shown to underground rebels as a means to fuel the opposition. He says “Cries from Syria” can do the same.

“When you take a risk, going across the border knowing you can be killed, you do it because you know you can save someone’s life or change someone’s life,” Afineevsky said. “As a filmmaker, I not only change history, I inspire the people.”

“Cries from Syria” is available on HBO Now and HBO Go.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘City of Ghosts’ Review: Syrian Citizen Journalists Fight ISIS in Vital Doc

Bill Maher Blasts Syria Airstrikes: ‘Bill O’Reilly Was So Excited He Groped Himself’ (Video)

Syria Doc Director Critiques US Strike: ‘It Doesn’t Remotely Constitute a Syrian Strategy’

‘Cries From Syria’ Director Applauds US Strike But Says It Did Little to Help Syrians

Meryl Streep, Judith Light, Lena Dunham, More Tell Sheila Nevins’ Stories in New Audiobook

Read on: Variety.

“It was easier to hear myself through someone else’s voice,” says Sheila Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films and first-time author of the well-received collection of short stories, “You Don’t Look Your Age… and Other Fairy Tales.” A New York Times bestseller released earlier this month, the audiobook features such boldfaced names as Meryl Streep, Glenn… Read more »