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Documentaries & Non-Fiction Series

HBO Documentary Preview: Witness: Rio [VIDEO AND PHOTOS] 

HBO Documentary Preview: Witness: Rio [VIDEO AND PHOTOS]

All November long, HBO has been airing a series of documentaries from Michael Mann [HBO’s Luck, The Insider, Ali, Heat] and David Frankham that follow the current generation of war photojournalists as they capture some of the most dangerous hot spots on Earth — places where drug trafficking, poverty, corruption and ethnic warfare exist on a high level. Witness lets us do just that — we get to witness what’s going on in conflict zones in Mexico, Libya, Brazil and South Sudan, through the eyes of these individuals and their cameras.

Synopsis: In the four-part series, war photographers carry us into the heart of the human drama of the people in the action on the ground. We see what compels the photojournalist and experience why, when everyone else seeks cover, the photojournalist stands and moves closer.  Witness is not a historical summary or analysis. It does not present the sides of an issue from an objective perspective. Witness is the exact opposite. It is personal experience. It is an immersion into the human drama on the ground of people caught in the thick of it. Witness dives into the anomalies, the humor, the tragedy, the chaos, the exultation. It struggles to capture – as does the photographer – a small piece of the truth in a moment.

Witness: Rio — The fourth and final part of this gripping documentary airs tomorrow night.

  • Though Rio de Janeiro will host the Summer Olympics in 2016, the city currently remains crippled by a war raging between police and powerful drug gangs. Over 2,000 Brazilian military have taken to the streets in a largest offensive in decades. They are taking on the Red Command and Amigos de Amigos, two powerful gangs, in an attempt to regain control of the city’s hilltop favelas before the world’s eyes focus on Brazil as it hosts the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. The powerful drug gangs have fought back with a series of urban terror attacks on cars, buses and police stations. Several journalists have been murdered. Photographer Eros Hoagland is one of only a few willing to venture into the dangerous favelas like Mangueira, which overlooks the Olympic stadium. Mysteries are revealed: In some areas of “pacification,” Red Command have been warned in advance and have already left for more remote parts. Rio’s murder rate is said to be falling, yet missing persons cases are dramatically on the rise. “Is this ‘social cleansing’?,” Hoagland asks. “Where are the bodies?” As he journeys deeper into the dangerous streets he finds some of the answers – disturbing images of bodies in alleys, buried in wells or burned beyond recognition.

Witness: Rio premieres Monday night at 9/8c on HBO. And here are some repeat dates as well:

  •   Nov.  30 (11:00 a.m.), and Dec. 1 (1:00 p.m.), 6 (12:30 p.m., 2:15 a.m.), 9 (9:30 a.m.) and 11 (5:00 p.m., 12:30 a.m.)

Witness: Rio Trailer

Photos from Witness: Rio [Courtesy of HBO]

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