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[01/14/10 - 02:35 PM]
HBO Sets Documentary Lineup for the First Half of 2010
AFGHAN STAR, REPORTER, GOOGLE BABY, SERGIO and A MOTHER'S COURAGE are among the featured titles.

[via press release from HBO]

HBO SETS DOCUMENTARY LINEUP FOR THE FIRST HALF OF 2010

Presentations Include A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY: A ROSIE O'DONNELL CELEBRATION, Sundance Winners SERGIO And AFGHAN STAR, And REPORTER, Executive Produced By Ben Affleck; HBO Documentary Films Summer Series Begins In June

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 14, 2010 � HBO Documentary Films reaffirms its commitment to thought-provoking and timely films with an exciting lineup of specials set to debut on HBO in the first half of 2010. From AFGHAN STAR, which looks at a popular "American Idol"-style Afghan show and the danger its contestants brave, to an African journey with celebrated New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof as he searches for a story to capture the hearts of his readers in REPORTER, to a look at a dashing career diplomat whose final mission for the UN was his most dangerous in SERGIO, HBO once again takes subscribers to worlds others rarely see.

Upcoming HBO documentaries include (in chronological order):

A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY: A ROSIE O'DONNELL CELEBRATION (debuting Jan. 31) challenges traditional stereotypes, creating a portrait of the modern American family with all its remarkable diversity. What is a family? Sometimes it's a mom and dad and their kids. Or it might be kids who have only one mom or dad. Other times, it could be kids who have more than one mom or dad. Through their own clear and cheerful voices, children speak from the hearts about parents, siblings, marriage and love in this moving documentary. Executive producers, Rosie O'Donnell and Sheila Nevins.

THE BLACK LIST: VOL. 3 (Feb. 8) presents dramatic portraits of some of today's most fascinating and influential African-Americans, who share their stories and insights into the struggles, triumphs and joys of black life in the U.S. This is the third collaboration between celebrated portrait photographer and filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, who directs, and award-winning journalist Elvis Mitchell, who interviews such notables as actress Whoopi Goldberg, Dr. Michael Lomax, president of the United Negro College Fund, actor Hill Harper, musician John Legend and supermodel Beverly Johnson.

REPORTER (Feb. 18) follows Nicholas Kristof, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times, whose thought-provoking columns have helped focus the international media spotlight on humanitarian crises around the world. The film offers insights into how the celebrated writer connects with readers by searching for individuals whose intimate stories capture their country's desperate crisis, thereby mobilizing audiences worldwide. Keenly aware that broad statistics numb his readers' interest and compassion, Kristof and two young travelers journey to the Congo to find that one transcendent story that will connect with hearts and minds around the world. Executive produced by Ben Affleck; directed by Eric Daniel Metzger.

AFGHAN STAR (March), winner of the Directing and Audience Awards in Sundance's 2009 World Documentary competition, is a window into a country's tenuous, ongoing struggle for modernity. Since 2005, millions have been tuning into Tolo TV's wildly popular "American Idol"-style series "Afghan Star." Observing the Afghani people's relationship to its pop culture, this film tells the dramatic stories of four young finalists � two men and two very brave women � who hazard everything to become Afghanistan's favorite performer. Debuting after the debut of AFGHAN STAR, STAR STRUCK: SETARA ACT II (working title) follows up the story of one of the featured female characters, spotlighting the attention Setara drew to the show and to herself with a controversial performance, and reveals what her life is like today. Both films are directed by Havana Marking.

GOOGLE BABY (April), directed by first-time filmmaker Zippi Brand Frank, shines a light on the relatively new practice of outsourcing birth. The film follows Doron, an Israeli entrepreneur with a high-tech background, who proposes a new service with embryos fertilized in the U.S. and babies implanted in the wombs of surrogates in India, and Dr. Nayna Patel, whose clinic in Gujarat, India, recruits surrogate mothers, houses them for the duration of their pregnancies, removes the babies by caesarean section, and hands over the infants to paying clients. Exploring nuances and grey areas of this complex issue, the documentary weaves together stories of people involved at every step of surrogacy.

A MOTHER'S COURAGE: TALKING BACK TO AUTISM (April), narrated by Oscar(R) winner Kate Winslet, tells the story of Margr�t, who has done everything in her power to help her son Keli, a severely autistic 11-year-old. Though she holds no unrealistic aspirations for Keli, Margr�t has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge about this mysterious and complex condition. Throughout her quest, she meets other families and hears their unique stories of being touched by autism. Directed by Fri�rik ��r Fri�riksson.

SERGIO (May), based on Pulitzer Prize-winner Samantha Power's biography "Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World," is the story of the charismatic, charming and complex man who was the UN's go-to guy. Vieira de Mello could descend into the most dangerous places, charm the worst war criminals and somehow protect the lives of the ordinary people to whom he'd devoted his life. This documentary tells the gripping, inspiring story of his most treacherous mission, to Iraq in 2003, when his own life hangs in the balance. Directed by Greg Barker.

I KNEW IT WAS YOU (May) is a portrait of actor John Cazale, whose big-screen career encompassed just five movies � five of the greatest films of his generation � before his death from cancer at age 42 in 1978. Each earned a Best Picture Oscar(R) nomination and teamed him with some of the leading actors and directors of the 20th century. Interspersed with clips from "The Godfather," "The Godfather: Part II," "The Conversation," "Dog Day Afternoon" and "The Deer Hunter" are rarely seen photos and home video, as well as candid interviews with a pantheon of Hollywood royalty, including Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Robert De Niro, Richard Dreyfuss, Meryl Streep and Sidney Lumet. Directed by Richard Shepard; produced by Brett Ratner, Stacey Reiss and Richard Shepard.

HBO Documentary Films' 2010 summer series runs June 7 through Aug. 9, featuring a new special every Monday at 9:00 pm (ET/PT). Presentations include documentaries by BAFTA winner Kim Longinotto and Sundance and Oscar(R) nominees Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello.





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