Starz announced Thursday that it has acquired the rights for nine documentary films, including Matt Tyrnauer’s “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood,” about closeted gay stars, spanning four decades.
The doc follows Scotty Bowers, a World War II Marine combat veteran who became a legendary bisexual male hustler and all-purpose date-arranger for Hollywood movie stars from the 1940s through the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Bowers first shared his experiences in his best-selling memoir, “Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars.”
The film premiered to strong reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival last September and was released theatrically this past April. It will premiere on Starz early next year.
The other eight docs that Starz will premiere later this year include Dan Rather’s “Fail State,” which looks at the dark side of American higher education, and the Gender bias film, “Half the Picture,” which debuted at Sundance this year and features interviews with Ava DuVernay, Lena Dunham, Catherine Hardwicke and Jill Soloway.
The first film Starz will air will be “Rebels on Pointe,” a cinéma vérité documentary film about Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo — the all-male, drag ballet company founded over 40 years ago on the heels of New York’s Stonewall riots. It will premiere on Aug. 20.
“In a continued effort to bring an immersive experience to our viewers, these groundbreaking documentaries cover a wide range of the human experience and will certainly entertain and enlighten our audience this fall,” said C. Brett Marottoli, Head of Program Acquisitions for Starz.
Check out full descriptions and air dates for all nine films below:
“Rebels on Pointe” – Aug. 20, 2018
“Rebels on Pointe” is the first-ever cinéma vérité documentary film celebrating Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo — the all-male, drag ballet company founded over 40 years ago on the heels of New York’s Stonewall riots. Highlighted by amazing performances shot around the world, “Rebels on Pointe” ultimately celebrates our shared humanity through universal themes of identity, dreams, family, love, loss, determination and resilience. It proves that a ballerina is not merely a woman dancing, but an act of revolution in a tutu.
“Land of the Free” – September 10, 2018
Set in South Central Los Angeles, “Land of the Free” follows the lives of three individuals who have been impacted by a prison system that focuses on punishment rather than prevention and rehabilitation. All three characters have been deeply damaged by their experiences and are now living in a state of isolation, attempting to start over again. The director’s compassionate observation of the human condition results in a moving and intimate portrait as three lives seemingly merge into one life story in a society where help is scarce and one has to rely on one’s own resources to get by.
“Getting Naked: A Burlesque Story” – Oct. 8, 2018
“Getting Naked: A Burlesque Story” peels back the curtain to reveal the sexy subculture of the neo-burlesque scene in New York City. This verité documentary intimately follows four performers, each of whom has discovered a new identity and a sense of belonging. However, they find that all that glitters is not necessarily gold because this liberating community does not insulate them from the harsh realities of sexism, illness and existential crisis. “Getting Naked” explores what it means to be an artist, an entertainer and a woman in the toughest city on Earth.
“Half the Picture” – Oct. 22, 2018
Gender inequality in Hollywood is the subject of this 2018 Sundance Film Festival World Premiere. Featuring interviews with high-profile women directors including Ava DuVernay (Selma), Lena Dunham (“Girls”), Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) and Jill Soloway (“Transparent”), the documentary explores the sacrifices women have made to get a seat at the table. ACLU’s Melissa Goodman, Sundance Institute’s Caroline Libresco, Vanity Fair’s Rebecca Keegan, USC’s Dr. Stacy Smith and San Diego State University’s Dr. Martha Lauzen establish the magnitude of this employment discrimination issue as women are shut out — across the board — of an industry that systemically denies them their expression and point of view.
“This Is Congo” – November 5, 2018
In this Venice Film Festival world premiere, Ivoirian actor Isaach De Bankolé lends his voice to a cinematic gem that provides an immersive and unfiltered look into Africa’s longest continuing conflict. By following four compelling characters — a whistleblower, a patriotic military commander, a mineral dealer and a displaced tailor — the film offers viewers a truly Congolese perspective on the problems that plague this lushly beautiful nation and those who are surviving within it.
“Ferrari: Race to Immortality” – Nov. 19, 2018
“Ferrari: Race to Immortality” tells the story of the loves, losses, triumphs and tragedies of Ferrari’s most decorated drivers in an era when it was la dolce vita during the week and a coin toss of whether they lived or died on the weekend. Italian racing driver Enzo Ferrari formed the team in the golden years of motor racing, pushing the young drivers to their very limit in order to achieve success.
“Always at The Carlyle” – December 3, 2018
While the walls at The Carlyle don’t talk, they definitely whisper. Matthew Miele’s “Always at The Carlyle” brings to life the untold stories of this legendary hotel as heard from the mouths of its own employees, as well as top clientele including George Clooney, Anjelica Huston, Tommy Lee Jones, Vera Wang, Anthony Bourdain, Roger Federer, Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, Jon Hamm, Lenny Kravitz, Naomi Campbell and Elaine Stritch.
“Fail State” – Dec. 17, 2018
Executive produced by news legend Dan Rather, “Fail State” investigates the dark side of American higher education, chronicling decades of policy decisions in Washington, DC that have given rise to a powerful and highly predatory for-profit college industry. With echoes of the subprime mortgage crisis, the film lays bare how for-profit colleges exploited millions of low-income and minority students, leaving them drowning in student loan debt with worthless degrees.