HBO’s documentary series includes Ganja Queen and Hard Times at Douglas High
All summer long, HBO is debuting a new documentary film every Monday. This Monday, for example, HBO debuted Ganja Queen, the story of Schapelle Corby, an Australian woman who’s in a prison in Indonesia until 2024 for marijuana found in her luggage that she says doesn’t belong to her. The film was directed by Janine Hosking, and it airs throughout this month. (Its trailer—which is compelling by itself—is below.)
Last Monday’s debut was noteworthy for its subject matter, and because it was directed by Alan and Susan Raymond, the people essentially responsible for the world’s first reality TV show. They produced An American Family in the early 1970s, a narrative, episodic documentary that directly inspired The Real World 20 years later, and that gave way to Survivor, and so forth.
The Raymonds’ new film is called Hard Times at Douglas High, and like their Oscar-winning 1993 film I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School, it follows students and teachers at a school, in this case, Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High over one year. HBO says the new documentary “provides a context for the national debate over the controversial No Child Left Behind Act, focusing on the brutal inequalities of American minority education.”
Here are the trailers for the two films: