Documentary Development Slate: Mapplethorpe, Kramer and More

Doc_HeaderIt is pretty quite on the Documentary front after the heavy onslaught we have witnessed with THE JINX, CITIZENFOUR and GOING CLEAR, but some new documentaries are on the horizon. We take a moment to learn of some of them.

  • Controversial Artist Robert Mapplethorpe Gets Documentary

His artistic contributions are not mainstream, but that doesn’t stop HBO. Artist Robert Mapplethorpe will be the subject of a new documentary put into motion by HBO’s Sheila Nevins. Many documentarPeople_RobertMapplethorpe-300x300ies are already works in progress that HBO obtains the rights to; some have already been seen at film festivals and even theatrical release, but the Mapplethorpe is a commissioned work to be made from scratch for HBO.

Robert Mapplethorpe (pictured) was an artist who worked in highly stylized black & white photography which included capturing statuary, flowers and portraits, but was more recognized for his showcasing of nudes and imagery of S&M and gay culture. The documentary will surely showcase his works that have been exhibited around the world and we will learn more of the artist and his process who died of AIDS in 1989. Look for it in 2016.

(Source: PageSix)


  • Israel Documentary Coming To HBO

HBO in cooperation with Jewish writer Ari Shavit are turning Shavit’s book, “My Promised Land” into a documentary for the channel. Both Shavit and HBO’s Richard Plepler were at an event in Israel to announce the project.MyPromisedLand_book-200x300

The source material, “My Promised Land: the Triumph and Tragedy of Israel,” is a narrative history that utilizes interviews, historical documents, photos and quotes to tell the story of modern Israel. It sounds like it could easily be converted to a HBO documentary. The author is quoted as saying “The great hope is that the HBO documentary ‘My Promised Land’ will be able to open people’s minds and hearts to realize once again that, with all its flaws and problems, Israel is a man-made miracle and an astonishing human endeavor.” HBO’s chief officer stated “[the book] captured both the objective truth and the emotional truth, the psychological truth of how I love Israel and ponder its challenges, and wrestle with its obvious mistakes and foibles. And I thought, my goodness, what a privilege, to capture the essential truths of this book and to make a film that could reach millions of people not only in Israel and the U.S., but all over the world.” We will let you know when it appears on the schedule.

(Sources: JTA and Deadline)


  • HBO Acquires SXSW Documentary MAVIS!

People_MavisStaples-300x300HBO has the rights to air MAVIS! a documentary about Mavis Staples (pictured). She is a blues/gospel singer and civil activist and going strong at age 75. The documentary, by film maker Jessica Edwards just had its wolrd premiere at the SXSW Film Festival. About the documentary Staples said, “I’ve been touring since 1954, and I’ve been to all kinds of festivals, but I don’t think I was at a film festival until my movie screened in Austin. That was something else — to sit in the audience and see on that big screen the results of me and Jessica talking, all the old pictures and family performances, to hear these music giants say such nice things about me. I cried all my mascara off. “I am so grateful, knowing all these young people — whole new generations — they want to hear my songs and my family’s story and what I have to say… I’m really blessed.”

HBO Documentary fans will be blessed too when the well received film comes to the network. The film will highlight her family, her life and career, and her influences and collaborators in the fields of music and social activism. Since it is an existing film and since we need a video in this post here is the trailer for MAVIS!

(Source: Billboard)

  • The Promised Larry Kramer Documentary Forthcoming

People_LarryKramerIt was reported a while back that a documentary was being made about Larry Kramer the playwright responsible for writing the award winning play “The Normal Heart.” Of course it was adapted to the HBO Films presentation THE NORMAL HEART.

Little over a year later from that movie debut HBO will air LARRY KRAMER IN LOVE & ANGER. It will air in June to herald Kramer’s 80th birthday.  The documentary is said to be “an intimate look at the inspiring and sometimes devastating measures taken by one man to ultimately save the lives of millions affected by HIV and AIDS.”

Not only did Kramer write about the 1980’s AIDS scare from his perspective he also became a advocate of gay rights and health reform as well. HBO will offer the appreciation in June.

(Source: Playbill)


  • Other Documentaries Coming Soon

Over the next few months the following documentaries will air and will be reviewed by HBOWatch: KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK; SOUTHERN RITES; THE LION”S MOUTH OPENS; THOUGHT CRIMES and more. We previously announced that 3 ½ MINUTES and HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO with debut this Fall. Here at HBowatch we enjoy our non-fiction as well as our fiction. Join us for more fine documentary films coming to HBO. We leave with the trailer for the highly anticipated Kurt Cobain biography.

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