TV's mad grab for high-brow documentary wages on, with Showtime the latest to add to its growing prestige roster.
The network has secured premiere rights to Risk, from acclaimed documentarian Laura Poitras. Her last, Edward Snowden-starrer CitizenFour, nabbed the 2015 Oscar for best documentary after a brief theatrical run and a wider release on HBO. Like CitizenFour, Risk focuses on the airing of dirty laundry in an era of tech and political tumult - turning the lens on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. A theatrical release, from young distributor NEON, will precede the summer bow on Showtime.
"It is an exciting time to be working with Showtime and Neon," said Poitras. "Both organizations are thinking outside the box about how to bring complex stories to a wide audience. I am thrilled to team up with them on Risk."
The film, which has been in production for six years, has unprecedented access to Assange and those around him. An early cut premiered during the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, but filming continued through the presidential election - one that saw headlines hijacked when Assange's WikiLeaks dumped countless emails from the Democratic National Committee.
Showtime has been lapping up documentaries over the last two years. The network has premiered Listen to Me Marlon, Weiner and Zero Days - as well as the upcoming Whitney: Can I Be Me. An Oscar nom has thus far eluded the network.
Good news for Showtime (and Poitras) is that the rollout for Risk won't make it a victim of Friday's Motion Picture Academy rule changes that will keep multipart TV documentaries - like 2017 Academy Award winner O.J. Simpson: Made in America - from being considered in future Oscars. (When Risk premiered at Cannes, it clocked in at just under 90 minutes.)