The Sundance Film Festival has been doing its thing up in and around Park City, Utah this past week and just concluded on 02.01.15 for this year. It is such a well attended event that film distributors snatch up hot properties right on the spot. HBO did just that when they gained the rights to two documentaries that were popular at the festival. Those films were HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO and 3 ½ MINUTES. Here is a quick look at both.
HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO is a film that follows a group of young people in Columbus, Ohio, with an array of developmental challenges as they prepare for a spring formal dance. They spend 12 weeks confronting and practicing their social skills as they prepare for the big event, working with a psychologist to deconstruct fear and social anxiety one step at a time by picking dates, dresses, and a prom king and queen.
It was directed by Alexandra Shiva and The Film Sales Company president Andrew Herwitz made the deal on behalf of Shiva with HBO. It’s an HBO Documentary Films presentation of a Gidalya Pictures film in association with Blumhouse Productions; Jason Blum is executive producer and Shiva and Bari Pearlman are producers.
It sounds like one of those empowering documentaries that illustrates that we all matter and that even those with setbacks and disabilities all have the right to enjoy a good quality of life. For three months in Ohio these teens get to feel good about themselves and HBO will share that with us sometime later this year.
In 3 1/2 Minutes, two lives intersected and were forever altered. On Black Friday in 2012, two cars parked next to each other at a Florida gas station. A middle-aged white man and a black teenager exchanged angry words over the volume of the music in the boy’s car. A gun entered the exchange, and one of them was left dead. Dunn fired 10 bullets at a car full of unarmed teenagers and then fled. Three of those bullets hit 17-year-old Jordan Davis, who died at the scene. Arrested the next day, Dunn claimed he shot in self-defense. Thus began the long journey of unraveling the truth. 3 1/2 Minutes follows that journey, reconstructing the night of the killing and revealing how hidden racial prejudice can result in tragedy.
The president of HBO Documentary Films, Sheila Nevins, was quoted as saying “I am grieved that these continuing stories are everyday matters swept away. By bringing this powerful film to HBO audiences, we hope to elevate the national conversation around these tragic issues.” I couldn’t agree more. We look forward to this documentary later in 2015.
The film was produced by the Filmmaker Fund and Motto Pictures in association with Lakehouse Films and Actual Films. Silver wrote and directed. Carolyn Hepburn and Minette Nelson produced, and Orlando Bagwell, Bonni Cohen, Julie Goldman and Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann executive produced. The deal was negotiated by HBO, Josh Braun at Submarine and Jeff Ivers at Participant Media.