HBO Documentary Films: New Films for Early 2013

Docs_HeaderWell, HBOWatchers right and left we have been reading news of what shows have a greenlight for another season in 2013 and even some that find their end. The comedies and dramas are lining up nicely but we have yet to see what is happening on the documentary front, until now. Below is a quick look at eight (8) documentaries that will get screen time in the next few months. I will look at them in chronological order though most of them do not have exact air dates.


Mea_maxima_CulpaHBOWatch has been keeping a track of this film since it made a theatrical release in September of 2012. It now makes its way to HBO on 02.04.13.

It is helmed by Alex Gibney (of HBO’s Oscar®-winning TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE) and it examines the abuse of power in the Catholic Church through the story of four courageous deaf men who set out to expose the priest who sexually abused them. These four young men have the camera trained on them as they share their stories of the inflicted abuses. Then the film spins from there as it follows a cover-up that stretches from the row houses of Milwaukee through the bare ruined choirs of Ireland’s churches, all the way to the highest office of the Vatican. It is a big, harrowing issue to tackle and we await its airing on HBO.



This documentary should hit home for many as America’s elder population gets larger. It appears on HBO in 03.13.

The film tells stories of five seniors in an American retirement resort (King’s Point) who struggle with love, loss and the changing nature of relationships after losing their spouses. This bittersweet study explores the tension between the desire for independence and the need for community, underscoring America’s ambivalence about growing old. KING’S POINT is directed by Sari Gilman. It is a subject that will touch everyone at some point. Experience it on HBO.


 American_Winter_docThis film should also resonant in the minds of the populace as it reflects on the lates Recession. It also is presented in 03.13.

This work shines a light on people struggling through the country’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, spotlighting families in Portland, Ore., as well as the 211 call centers that offered social service assistance during the financial crisis. It is produced and directed by Joe and Harry Gantz of HBO’s Emmy®-winning TAXICAB CONFESSIONS fame. Many didn’t think we would survive the dilemma we were in and now wonder if we are close to facing its likes again. This piece truly will hit close to home.


  •  50 children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. KrausKraus_50Children_doc

 This documentary is a history lesson that reaches a bit further into the past. It will be onscreen sometime in 04.13.

It is directed by Steven Pressman and narrated by Alan Alda and Mamie Gummer and tells the dramatic, previously untold story of Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus, who traveled to Nazi Germany in spring 1939 to save 50 Jewish children. Amid the impending horrors of the Holocaust, they brought what was to date the largest known group of children to the United States, despite the country’s rigid immigration laws at the time. The film, assembled with vintage photographs, replays the daring rescue.


 frontline_docAnyone who has watched the documentary series WITNESS: recognizes the name in this title. His story comes to the screen sometime in 04.13 on HBO.

It focuses on the famed war photographer and filmmaker. Through interviews with family and friends, the film paints an in-depth portrait of  Tim Hetherington, who was killed by mortar shells in Libya on April 20, 2011 while covering the Libyan civil war.  The documentary was directed by Sebastian Junger, who co-directed the Oscar®-nominated “Restrepo” with Hetherington.




Another war story but this subject matter has been getting quite a bit of coverage in books and movies as well. The facts are presented documentary style Manhunt_Docin 05.13 on HBO.

This film recounts the tumultuous decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden, culminating in the dramatic raid and assassination in April 2011. Through exclusive footage and dramatic first-person interviews with key figures in Washington, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East, director Greg Barker (HBO’s SERGIO and KORAN BY HEART) reveals previously hidden truths about the famed operation.


Organtrade_docIt is a big business practice no one wants to admit exists. HBO tells the inside story sometime in 05.13.

TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE investigates international organ trafficking and the role the internet plays in the black market exchange. The film explores life-and-death issues surrounding the high demand for organs through candid interviews with people seeking an organ on the black or “grey” market, the traffickers who buy and sell organs to them, and the individuals selling their organs.



Last on the list is new episodes of an ongoing documentary series that airs on the HBO FAMILY platform. A YOUNGARTS MASTERCLASS masterclassinstallments will air February through April on the kids-oriented channel.

It is an ongoing series of half-hour documentaries, follows some of the thousands of high-school students who participate in a program to be mentored by America’s greatest artists in an intimate, interactive classroom environment. Among the legends who serve as mentors on the show are Grammy-winning musician Bobby McFerrin, Tony-winning playwright John Guare and Tony-winning performer Patti LuPone.

HBOWatch will announce when actual debut dates are known and we hope you anticipate HBO’s non-fiction fare. We will surely review each documentary in the months ahead. Do any of these brief descriptions  intrigue you?


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