HBO flags down 'Taxi,' sets pre-election airdate
Discovery retains basic-cable rightsHBO has acquired Alex Gibney's Oscar-nominated documentary "Taxi to the Dark Side."
The move comes two weeks after Gibney accused Discovery Communications, which bought the TV rights to the film in June, of dropping its plans to air it because it was deemed "too controversial" by the cable network's management team.
"Taxi," which probes the homicide of an innocent taxi driver at the Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan at the hands of U.S. interrogators, will premiere uncut on HBO in September. Discovery will retain the basic-cable rights and said Thursday that it plans to air it.
"We are proud that 'Taxi to the Dark Side' will make its basic-cable debut in 2009 on Investigation Discovery," the network said.
HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins said she is a longtime fan of Gibney, whose credits also include the Oscar-nominated docu "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room."
" 'Taxi to the Dark Side' is one of the year's best documentaries," she said. "It was available, we could afford it, and we went and got it."
Gibney said he "feels great" about the prospect of airing the documentary during the final stage of the presidential campaign.
"This is a vital issue for the campaign," he said. "Retaining the national character while we fight the war on terror is an issue every true candidate has to wrestle with."
Gibney took on the project upon urging by his ailing father, a former Navy interrogator who was infuriated by the horrific stories of torture practices employed by the U.S. military.
"Taxi," which ThinkFilm released theatrically in January, has earned numerous awards including best documentary at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival and best documentary screenplay at the WGA Awards this month.
Gibney wrote, directed and narrated the film. He produced it with Eva Orner and Susannah Shipman.