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  • Documentary Lineup at Amazon, Netflix & Nat Geo Reveals Minimum-Risk Approach
  • Release time:2016/8/16 11:01:39
  • Digital media outlets Amazon, Netflix and National Geographic have recently published press releases promoting their slate of upcoming documentaries, among which are titles like Amanda Knox, Into the Inferno, The Ivory Game, American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story and a variety of other acclaimed documentaries.

    Peter Hamilton, Film Consultant
    and Founder of

    In a recent article on, Film Consultant Peter Hamilton analyzes the latest (as well as planned) additions to the documentary programming slates of major digital media outlets Amazon, Netflix and Nat Geo. The titles recently promoted by the aforementioned digital media bluechips are:

    AMAZON: American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story (13 part documentary series)

    NETFLIX: Amanda Knox | Into the Inferno | The Ivory Game | The 13th | Audrie & Daisy | Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang

    NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: Two doc projects are planned touching on issues related to "Gender Revolution" and "Climate Change", bolstered by record breaking quotas of Morgan Freeman’s The Story of God

    In a brief but thorough analysis, Hamilton takes a closer look at what these titles have in common and why they were most likely considered to be included in the outlets programming schemes. Out of all these productions, five titles focus on big names (eg. Hefner) and/or involve A-Listers in the production team (eg. Leo Dicaprio). Contentwise, four of them involve crime, violence and injustice whereas sexuality is the theme or context of two projects. Hamilton further notes that archival usage is prevalent in four of the titles. With a view on the impact of festivals, we learn that Netflix’s “Audrie & Daisy” and “Sky Ladder” are Sundance acquisitions. In summing up the various findings and correlations, many factors point to a trend to celebrity-packaged, signature documentaries currently being the titles of choice.

    Given the formal qualities of these titles (eg. related names, reputations, awards etc.), Hamilton concludes: "There’s little-to-no room here for newbie and mid-scale doc creatives, unless the film breaks through at a major festival."

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