July 31st, 2013

CNN FILMS Rounds Out 2013 Slate as Network Bows ‘OUR NIXON,’ Acquires ‘SOLE SURVIVOR’

CNN FILMS will debut five documentaries on CNN through the end of 2013, beginning with its broadcast of OUR NIXON on Thursday, August 1, at 9:00pm ET/PT on CNN/U.S., it was confirmed today.

“Since establishing CNN Films in October 2012, we have acquired or commissioned more than a dozen hours of thought-provoking, original, and incisive documentaries,” said Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide.  “We are bringing films to CNN’s broad audience that inspire conversations around the important issues these exceptional films raise,” he said.

The fall schedule will include (all times Eastern):

OUR NIXON (Thursday, August 1 at 9:00pm)

Throughout Richard Nixon’s presidency, three top White House aides earnestly documented their experiences with Super 8 cameras. This unique and personal visual record, created by H.R. Halde­man, John Ehrlichman, and Dwight Chapin, was seized by the FBI during the Watergate investigations, then filed away and forgotten for almost 40 years.  Co-produced by Penny Lane and Brian Frye, OUR NIXON is an all-archival documentary presenting those home movies for the first time – along with other found footage and secretly recorded audiotapes – creating an intimate and com­plex portrait of the Nixon presidency as never seen before.

THE FLAG (Thursday, September 5 at 9:00pm)

Co-directed by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein, THE FLAG examines one of the great untold stories of the September 11th attacks: what happened to the flag raised on the site of the World Trade Center by three firemen, immortalized in one of the most iconic photographs of that day?  The filmmakers unravel the mystery of the whereabouts of the flag and, along the way, trace its history and explore the meaning of this flag’s image in the aftermath of that horrible event.  THE FLAG commemorates American resilience during a moment seared into the American consciousness.

BLACKFISH (Thursday, October 24 at 9:00pm)

BLACKFISH traces the 39-year history of killer whales in captivity leading up to a 2010 incident in which an experienced Sea World trainer was killed by the 12,000-pound orca, Tilikum.  Tilikum had previously been associated with the deaths of two other trainers.  Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite chillingly demonstrates that this incident of violence is hardly isolated, while exploring the extraordinary nature of orcas, thought to be one of the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom.  The film is a story about the consequences of captivity for these animals that have thrilled millions in performances, but lead a much darker existence when the show is over.

PANDORA’S PROMISE (Thursday, November 7 at 9:00pm)

The atomic bomb and accidents at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima bring to mind apocalyptic disasters, but the science and experience since suggest that long-held fears about nuclear power may be wrong.  Academy Award®-nominated director Robert Stone tells the intensely personal stories of environmentalists and energy experts who have undergone profound conversions from being passionately against, to strongly favoring, nuclear energy – putting their careers and reputations on the line in the process.  Through the voices of well-respected environmental thinkers, Stone reveals a rift within the movement as they describe their individual journeys of “defection,” which may ultimately change the terms of the debate over how to manage climate change and the world’s growing energy needs.

AN UNREAL DREAM: THE MICHAEL MORTON STORY (Thursday, December 5 at 9:00pm)

Directed by Al Reinert, AN UNREAL DREAM portrays the harrowing true tale of Michael Morton.  Wrongly convicted of the brutal murder of his young wife, Morton spends a quarter century in the Texas prison system, cut off from his only child, who believed him to be guilty of destroying their family.  In collaboration with his pro bono counsel and the Innocence Project, Morton proves his innocence through the use of DNA testing and in the process brings to bear the plight of unjust imprisonments in the United States.

CNN Films announced its latest acquisition SOLE SURVIVOR, a documentary on how lone survivors of airplane crashes cope with survivor’s guilt, in advance of Michigan’s Traverse City Film Festival last week.  Written and directed by Ky Dickens, it will premiere on CNN/U.S. in early 2014, following its theatrical debut.  Earlier this year, CNN Films presented ESCAPE FIRE and GIRL RISING.

About CNN Films

CNN Films brings documentaries beyond the small screen by developing strategic partnerships to leverage distribution opportunities at film festivals and in theaters.  Amy Entelis, senior vice president of talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, and Vinnie Malhotra, senior vice president of development and acquisitions for CNN Worldwide, oversee the acquisition strategy of documentaries for CNN Films.  Malhotra manages the day-to-day operations of CNN Films, and works directly with filmmakers to develop original projects.

About CNN

CNN Worldwide is a portfolio of two dozen news and information services across cable, satellite, radio, wireless devices and the Internet in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Domestically, CNN reaches more individuals on television, the web and mobile devices than any other cable TV news organization in the United States; internationally, CNN is the most widely distributed news channel reaching more than 271 million households abroad; and CNN Digital is a top network for online news, mobile news and social media.  Additionally, CNN Newsource is the world’s most extensively utilized news service partnering with hundreds of local and international news organizations around the world. CNN is division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company.