Last year, National Geographic’s climate change documentary, “Before the Flood, executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and Fisher Stevens, became the network’s most watched film ever due to it being the most broadly distributed program it had ever released.
Now Variety reports, that in an effort to continue developing outstanding nonfiction work, National Geographic Networks has launched a new banner titled National Geographic Documentary Films, which focuses on producing feature-length documentaries.
“We abandoned the space for some reason, but now we are actively resuming our proper place,” the network’s CEO Courteney Monroe told the publication. “We want to be making timely, issue-oriented, very provocative films with the very best documentary filmmakers in the business. Given the success of ‘Before the Flood’ and ‘He Named Me Malala,’ these are the types of stories we want to be telling.”
The banner will focus on producing content on subject matters like climate change, water crisis, space exploration, race issues and ISIS. “Those are issues that are really organic to the National Geographic brand. Who better to tell these stories?” Monroe added. “When you’re paddling with the current, progress can come faster. We feel really excited about the fact that we can assume a mantle of leadership of telling these really important stories.”
National Geographic Documentary Films hopes to produce four films a year with the goal of getting critical acclaim, festival play, and hopefully awards. Additionally, four previously announced documentaries, “Water & Power: A California Heist,” from director Marina Zenovich and executive producer Alex Gibney; “Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS” from Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested; “LA 92” (working title)from directors Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin; and the untitled Jane Goodall project from executive producer, director and writer Brett Morgen, will now be produced under the new banner.
All new docs will get both theatrical and television releases, with a similar digital strategy as “Before the Flood’s.”
“These are films we believe should be seen by a lot of people so we’re not going to be overly precious,” she said. “We don’t have a set playbook.”