From billionaire origin stories to the people behind “competitive endurance tickling,” HBO has an intriguing new crop of documentaries lined up for early 2017.
Beware the Slenderman, debuting January 23, tells the disturbing story of two 12 year-old girls who lured their best friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times in order to appease a tall and faceless man known online as Slenderman. Irene Taylor Brodsky (HBO’s Oscar-nominated The Final Itch) directs this chilling film that investigates how the dark corners of the internet can influence society’s youngest media consumers. Watch the trailer here.
If origin stories are more your thing, Peter Kunhardt’s Becoming Warren Buffett (January 30) is a candid portrait of the respected billionaire from Nebraska who has left an indelible mark on how Americans view capitalism, and more recently, philanthropy.
Solitary: Inside Red Onion State Prison reveals the lives of inmates and corrections officers at one of America’s most notorious and isolated “supermax” prisons. Director Krista Jacobson had unprecedented access to the facility, which holds inmates in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, sometimes for years on end. The film, debuting February 6, paints a complex portrait of life behind bars, and raises provocative questions about punishment in America today.
Human connections—and their role in the healing process—are explored in Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends), debuting February 23. The film, directed by Colin Hanks, follows member of the American rock band as they recount their experiences before and after the tragic terrorist attack at a November 2105 Paris concert, which claimed 89 lives. The film spotlights the deep bonds within the band, and with their fans, which inspired them to return to Paris in February 2016 to perform once again.
Unlocking the Cage (February 20) explores animal rights lawyer Steven Wise’s extraordinary challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. After 30 years of struggling with ineffective animal welfare laws, Wise and his legal team, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform an animal from a “thing” with no rights to a “person” with legal protections. Directed by Chris Hegedus (HBO’s Emmy-winning Elaine Stritch at Liberty) and Academy Award winner D A Pennebaker.
Wrapping up February is Tickled, which follows journalist David Farrier, who stumbles upon a bizarre “competitive endurance tickling” video online, wherein young men are paid to be tied up and tickled. Delving deeper, he encounters fierce resistance, but eventually uncovers a shocking story stranger than fiction. The film, directed by David Farrier and Dylan Reeves, debuts February 27.