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HBO Summer Documentary Series Very Women-Centric

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by Kerensa Cadenas
May 8, 2013 2:00 PM
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Love, Marilyn directed by Liz Garbus

Last week, HBO announced their summer documentary series and it is very women-centric from the content to the majority of women directors of these films. Some of the women-centric docs include Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer about the infamous Russian punk group who were arrested last year after performing a "punk prayer" in Russia's main cathedral. There's also Miss You Can Do It, which is about Abby Curran, the first woman with a disability to compete in the Miss USA pageant who starts a pageant for girls with disabilities.

Here are descriptions and air times for the women-directed documentaries airing on HBO. All descriptions are from the press release.

LOVE, MARILYN (June 17), coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death, presents remarkable footage and audiotapes along with her recently discovered handwritten letters, diaries, notes, poems, journals and notebooks, which set the icon's private life against the backdrop of her very public life and loves. The film includes readings and appearances by an all-star cast, including F. Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Banks, Adrien Brody, Ellen Burstyn, Glenn Close, Hope Davis, Viola Davis, Jennifer Ehle, Ben Foster, Paul Giamatti, Jack Huston, Stephen Lang, Lindsey Lohan, Janet McTeer, Jeremy Piven, Oliver Platt, David Strathairn, Lili Taylor, Uma Thurman, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. Interviews and rare archival footage feature Arthur Miller, Joe DiMaggio, Amy Greene, Molly Haskell, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer and Elia Kazan, among others. Directed by Oscar(R) nominee Liz Garbus.

GIDEON'S ARMY (July 1), an official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where it received an editing award, follows idealistic young public defenders in the deep south who face particularly difficult challenges due to high bonds, mandatory minimum sentencing and a culture that is traditionally "tough on crime." Despite low pay, long hours and staggering caseloads, these young professionals, with the help of the Southern Public Defender Training Center (SPDTC), take on the job in the name of public service. Directed by Dawn Porter.

THE CRASH REEL (July 15), directed by two-time Academy Award(R) nominee Lucy Walker, is an exhilarating ride through the life of Kevin Pearce, the American snowboarding champion who suffered a traumatic brain injury while preparing for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. In addition to interviews with Pearce's close-knit family and friends, the powerful documentary includes footage from hundreds of sources, recorded over two decades, that captures the soul of the sport, and questions the price people pay for their passions. An official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

THE CHESHIRE MURDERS (July 22) explores the triple rape-arson-homicide that rocked the quiet town of Cheshire, Ct. in July 2007, culminating in a politically charged death-penalty trial. Debuting in conjunction with the sixth anniversary of the murders, the documentary draws on exclusive interviews spanning half a decade, uncovering the shocking, previously untold drama behind the story and revealing a family and community changed forever. Directed by Emmy(R) winner Kate Davis and David Heilbronner.

FIRST COMES LOVE (July 29) follows director Nina Davenport's quest to have a baby on her own, ranging from hormone injections to post-natal chaos while highlighting her conventional family's reaction to her unconventional decision. Unsparingly honest, occasionally hilarious and ultimately moving, the documentary offers a fresh take on parenthood.

AMERICANS IN BED (Aug. 12) features candid interviews with ten American couples - captured in the comfort of their own beds - as they openly discuss sex, infidelity and love. From young New Yorkers who have split up 26 times, to spouses in their 90s who have been married 71 years, this touching, funny and often surprising film offers intimate insights into what makes or breaks a relationship. Directed by Phillipa Robinson.

HBO Documentary Films Presents All-New Original Specials Monday Nights This Summer, June 10 Through Aug. 12 (The Futon Critic)

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