MTV Documentary Films Unveils Full Slate and Trailer for Ondi Timoners Last Flight Home (EXCLUSIVE)

MTV Documentary Films has boarded new projects about an all-girl Afghan robotics team, a #MeToo crime story, an imprisoned mural artist and a community of disabled children in Pakistan. The documentaries join a slate that includes Ondi Timoner’s Sundance title “Last Flight Home,” which will be screening at Telluride this week in a rare double festival act.

The fledgling division, which was Oscar-nominated for the film “Ascension” earlier this year, was set up in 2019 by legendary HBO Documentary Films boss Sheila Nevins, and ViacomCBS executives Liza Burnett Fefferman and Nina L. Diaz. Nevins was at HBO for 38 years and won 34 Emmys in that period. Her credits include “Citizenfour,” “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” and “Paradise Lost.”

The slate spans four feature-length documentaries and six short films (full details below), with Timoner’s “Last Flight Home” serving as a centrepiece.

The “Dig!” director’s acclaimed film follows her family’s journey saying goodbye to their ailing father, who chooses to end his life through assisted suicide. Timoner’s recent movies include opioid crisis doc “Chrysalis” (2020) and “Mapplethorpe,” about the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (2018).

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Elsewhere on the slate, David Greenwald’s “Afghan Dreamers” follows the members of an all-girl robotics team from Afghanistan who struggle to succeed in international competitions, while combating their male-dominated culture and the threat of Taliban rule. The group was famously evacuated last fall after the Taliban invaded Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, doc short “The Fire That Took Her” is produced by Oscar-nominated Julie Goldman and details the landmark case around Judy Malinowski, then 31, who was doused in petrol and set on fire by her crazed ex-boyfriend. She was one of the first people to testify “from beyond the grave,” at the trial for her own murder.

Other short films include “Art & Krimes by Krimes,” about artist Jesse Krimes who, while locked up for six years in federal prison, secretly creates monumental works of art including a 30-foot mural made with prison bed sheets, hair gel and newspaper; and “As Far As They Can Run,” a vérité portrait of disabled children in rural Pakistan who have been deemed “useless” by their communities.

In addition to “Last Flight Home,” MTV Documentary Films titles playing at Telluride include the shorts “Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices From a Plantation Prison,” “Anastasia” and “Favorite Daughter.”

Diaz and Burnett Fefferman, co-heads of MTV Documentary Films, said in a statement: “As we embark on year three of MTV Documentary Films, we’re elated to be working with such an extraordinary group of filmmakers whose projects are sublime, awe-inspiring and deeply moving.

“Never did we expect to have four films at Telluride and garner such a strong response to our growing slate from festivals across the world — we simply can’t wait to bring these titles to audiences everywhere both in theaters and on Paramount+,” they continued.

Check out the full slate details below:

Features

“Last Flight Home”
Director: Ondi Timoner
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins
Logline: On an unremarkable suburban street, we find Eli Timoner in his final days and discover an extraordinary life, one filled with wild achievements, tragic loss and, above all, enduring love. His daughter Ondi shares an unforgettable and stunning verité account of a family courageously, and joyously, facing both life and death.
Theatrical Release: Oct. 7 New York, Oct. 14 Los Angeles

“Afghan Dreamers”
Director: David Greenwald
Producers: David Cowan, Beth Murphy
Executive Producers: Sheila Nevins, Ellen Goosenberg
Logline: Members of an all-girl robotics team from Afghanistan struggle to succeed in international competitions, while combating their male-dominated culture and the threat of Taliban rule.
Theatrical Release: Oct. 28 Los Angeles

“Art & Krimes by Krimes”
Director: Alysa Nahmias
Producers: Amanda Spain, Benjamin Murray, Alysa Nahmias
Executive Producers: Sheila Nevins, Jenifer Westphal, Joe Plummer, Patty Quillin, Hallee Adelman, Ivy Herman
Logline: While locked up for six years in federal prison, artist Jesse Krimes secretly creates monumental works of art—including an astonishing 40-foot mural made with prison bed sheets, hair gel, and newspaper. He smuggles out each panel piece-by-piece with the help of fellow artists, only seeing the mural in totality upon coming home. As Jesse’s work captures the art world’s attention, he struggles to adjust to life outside, living with the threat that any misstep will trigger a life sentence.
Theatrical Release: Sept. 30 New York & Los Angeles

“The Fire That Took Her”
Director: Patricia E. Gillespie
Producers: Julie Goldman, Chris Clements, Carolyn Hepburn
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins
Logline: Mother-of-two Judy Malinowski, then 31, was doused in petrol and set on fire by her crazed ex-boyfriend – and was one of the first ever to testify from beyond the grave, at the trial for her own murder. A story that lives at the intersection of true crime and #MeToo, THE FIRE THAT TOOK HER goes deep inside a landmark case to ask a timely question: How much must women suffer in order to be believed?
Theatrical Release: Oct. 21 New York and Los Angeles

Shorts

“Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices From a Plantation Prison”
Director: Cinque Northern
Producer: Catherine Gund
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins
Logline: The story of playwright Liza Jessie Peterson’s shutdown 2020 performance of her acclaimed play “The Peculiar Patriot at Angola” at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, America’s largest prison-plantation. The documentary examines what led to the shutdown of the performance, the material that confronted a system, and how the impact of Peterson’s visit rippled through Angola long after the record of her visit was erased by prison authorities.

“Anastasia”
Director: Sarah McCarthy
Producers: Sasha Odynova & Sarah McCarthy
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins
Logline: Russian activist Anastasia Shevchenko was arrested and detained under house arrest for two years for speaking out against the government. During her imprisonment, she was separated from her young daughter who died alone. As Anastasia travels across Russia by train, she comes to grips with her loss and realizes that the only way she can continue fighting for freedom is to leave her homeland forever.

“Favorite Daughter”
Director: Dana Reilly
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins
Logline: A grandmother, mother, and daughter quarantine together in a Tribeca apartment as they laugh about life over wine.

“More Than I Want To Remember” (Animated)
Director: Amy Bench
Producers: Carolyn Merriman, Mugeni
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins
Logline: One night at her home in southeastern Congo, 14-year-old Mugeni awakes to the sounds of bombs. As her family scatters to the surrounding forests to save themselves, Mugeni finds herself completely alone. From there, she sets out on a remarkable solo journey across the globe, determined to reunite with her lost loved ones and lift up the Banyamulenge people. Despite unimaginable obstacles, Mugeni’s story is ultimately a portrait of hope, love, and family bonds.

“As Far As They Can Run”
Director: Tanaz Eshaghian
Producer: Tanaz Eshaghian & Christoph Jörg
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins
Logline: An intimate, unflinching look at disabled children in rural Pakistan who have been deemed “useless” by their communities, As Far As They Can Run is a searing verité portrait of three young teenagers who manage to find acceptance and a place in society through sports.

“Thank You Ms. Maravel from Rosie’s Theater Kids”
Director: Steven Cantor
Producer: Sheila Nevins, Jamie Schutz
Logline: Ten years ago, inspired by the teacher who inspired her, actor-comedian Rosie O’Donnell established a school, giving public school kids access to dance, music, and drama. This film follows five kids as they pursue their stage and screen goals, learning to believe in themselves!

Check out the official poster for “Last Flight Home” below:


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