Current TV today announced an additional roster of talent to be featured in the new original series, “50 Documentaries To See Before You Die.” Hosted by renowned documentarian Morgan Spurlock, the five part hour-long weekly series, which kicks off Tuesday, August 2 at 9 p.m. ET counts down fifty of the modern documentary era’s most powerful, provocative and moving films. In each show, Spurlock hits the road and revisits several of the iconic figures from films ranging from “Paris is Burning” to “Hoop Dreams” to “Exit Through the Gift Shop.”
What are some of 50 Documentaries to see before you die?
Joining previously announced contributors to the series, Chris Hegedus (“STARTUP.COM”; “The War Room”), Errol Morris (“The Thin Blue Line”, “The Fog of War”) D.A. Pennebaker (“War Room”, “Don’t Look Back”) and Penelope Spheeris, (“The Decline of Western Civilization” parts I, II and III) is a veritable who’s who list of documentary filmmakers that includes: Michael Moore (“Bowling for Columbine”, “Fahrenheit 9/11”), Seth Gordon (“King of Kong: A Fist Full of Quarters”), Heidi Wing and Rachel Grady (“Jesus Camp”), Jennie Livingston (“Paris is Burning”), Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”), Jaimie D’Cruz (“Exit Through the Gift Shop”), and Academy Award winner Diablo Cody (“Juno”).
Additional contributors to the series are Academy Award winner Alex Gibney (“Taxi To The Dark Side”, “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”), former Vice President and Academy Award-Winner Al Gore, Academy Award winner Rob Epstein (“The Times of Harvey Milk”, “Common Threads: Stories From The Quilt”, “Paragraph 175”, “The Celluloid Closet”) and his producing partner Jeffrey Friedman (“Paragraph 175”, “The Celluloid Closet”), Academy Award winning director Luc Jacquet (“The March of the Penguins”), Andrew Jarecki (,“Capturing the Friedmans”), Stacy Peralta (“Dogtown and Z-Boys”), award-winning co-director/producer/editing duo Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger (“Brother’s Keeper”, “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster”). Other notables weighing in on the list are actor/musician, Jared Leto, “Entertainment Weekly” film critic Dave Karger, musician/actor Henry Rollins, Current TV Chairman, skateboard legend Tony Hawk and other pop culture pundits.
During the series, Spurlock heads to Florida where he meets Billy Mitchell, the legendary gamer and subject of Seth Gordon’s “King of Kong: A Fist Full of Quarters” (2007). Spurlock finds Mitchell at the Donkey Kong-themed arcade he opened in the main terminal of the Orlando airport, and challenges the flamboyant, controversial and mullet-sporting champion to an afternoon of classic gaming action. Spurlock also travels to rural Missouri to hear a sermon from the now-teenage Billy Graham in-training Levi O’Brien, one of the subjects from “Jesus Camp” (2007).
Additionally, Spurlock sets out in the streets of Hollywood to find out if Mr. Brainwash is who he says he is while discussing “Exit through the Gift Shop” (2010). Spurlock also explores the Pennsylvania countryside on a journey to the heart of the gay ball scene, so memorably captured in Jennie Livingston’s film “Paris Is Burning” (1990). Hooking up with flamboyant Jack Mizrahi, Spurlock enters a portal into a different realm: an exclusive world of Vogueing, posing, swearing and strutting; a hidden and complex subculture rarely caught on camera. Spurlock wraps up his adventures on a basketball court in Chicago with William James, Arthur Agee and director Steve James who reunite to talk about “Hoop Dreams” (1994).
The panel members who were involved in the selection of films include Brian Graden, former President of Programming MTV Networks and Executive Producer for Current TV’s “4th and Forever,” Betsy McLane, Project Director for the American Documentary Showcase and co-author of ‘A New History of Documentary Film,’ Michael Renov Associate Dean of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and author of ‘The Subject of Documentary,’ Eddie Schmidt President of the International Documentary Association, and Rahdi Taylor Associate Director of the Sundance Documentary Film Program.
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