IFC pumps original slate with docus

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IFC is expanding its original nonfiction programming slate with a trio of documentaries on topics ranging from fantasy role-playing gamers to a punk band to the execution of an innocent man.

In addition, Janeane Garofalo has signed on to offer editorials in four episodes of the network's "The Henry Rollins Show," which will have its second-season premiere April 13. A one-hour special, "Henry Rollins: Uncut From Tel Aviv," documenting Rollins' two-night performance in the Israeli city, will kick off the new season.

Meanwhile, the three feature-length docus are:

  "Darkon," premiering in fall 2007, follows the real-life adventures of an unusual group of weekend "warrior knights," fantasy role-playing gamers whose live-action "battleground" is modern-day Baltimore reimagined as a make-believe medieval world called Darkon. "Darkon," winner of the South by Southwest Film Festival Audience Award, is directed by Andrew Neel and Luke Meyer of SeeThink Prods and produced by Ovie Entertainment.

  "Heavy Load," airing in spring 2008, centers on the punk band of the same name comprising musicians with and without learning disabilities. The docu is directed and produced by Jerry Rothwell and produced by Al Morrow and Jonny Persey of APT Films.

  "At the Death House Door," also debuting in spring 2008, centers on the wrongful execution of Carlos DeLuna and the Death House Chaplain, Pastor Carroll Pickett, who spent the last day of DeLuna's life with him. Pickett believed DeLuna was innocent, and the film will track the investigative efforts of a team of Chicago Tribune reporters who have turned up evidence that strongly suggests he was. The docu, in production, is directed and produced by Steve James and Peter Gilbert and executive produced by Gordon Quinn. It's a Kartemquin Films production in association with the Chicago Tribune.

IFC executive vp and general manager Evan Shapiro said the docus fit perfectly with IFC's brand, which this year became more focused on making original programming "front and center."

"In 2007, original programming will become the heart and soul of the IFC brand, and these three documentaries represent an important step in the evolution of the brand," he said. "These docus speak to where we're taking nonfiction -- giving a voice to the voiceless and a platform to those who don't necessarily get heard. They're irreverent and unique."

Other documentaries making their way to IFC next year include "The Bridge," "Indie Sex," "Does Your Soul Have a Cold?" and IFC's first theatrical release, "This Film Is Not Yet Rated," debuting on the network March 31. Shapiro added that IFC will be making an announcement about its fiction programming slate in the new year.

Meanwhile, Shapiro noted that Garofalo, a friend of Rollins, will offer a "completely new point of view" in her editorials on Rollins' late-night talk show. The editorials -- about topics ranging from the state of the union to pop culture to whatever's on her mind -- will be shot on location at her New York apartment. "Rollins" is from Swift River Prods., which is producing the special with Richard Bishop.
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