Chelsea Manning Doc Lands at Showtime

Chelsea Manning 2017
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The network's latest Laura Poitras-produced feature will debut later this year, while the cabler has also firmed up a rollout for Liz Garbus' New York Times series.

Showtime has bought the rights to XY Chelsea, a Laura Poitras-produced documentary about whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

The project, which was first courted to buyers last year at Cannes, will get a U.S. theatrical window (for potential Oscar consideration) and a subsequent debut on the cabler's many platforms later this year.

Poitras, who won an Academy Award for Citizenfour and debuted her Julian Assange documentary Risk on Showtime in 2017, produced the Manning doc alongside filmmaker Tim Travers Hawkins. The latter, the film's director, shot interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of Manning over two years. XY Chelsea picks up on the day the transgender Army vet was released from an all-male maximum-security prison, after President Barack Obama commuted Manning's sentence for her role in disclosing classified materials to WikiLeaks as one of his final acts in office.

Tackling both matters of national security and transgender rights and visibility, XY Chelsea was produced by Pulse Films.

Showtime continues to invest heavily in the documentary space. The network also used its session Saturday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour to finally confirm Liz Garbus' long-in-the-works documentary series about The New York Times' aggressive year covering the start of the Donald Trump administration. The Fourth Estate is set to premiere May 27.

The Times is an odd and confounding muse for the current president," Garbus said in a statement. "Trump craves the positive coverage of his hometown paper while simultaneously denigrating the ‘failing New York Times' on what seems to be a daily basis. We’ve been given unprecedented access to capture the challenges, triumphs and pitfalls of covering a president who has declared war on the free press, from the point of view of those on the front line — the White House correspondents, investigative journalists and editors at The New York Times. It’s the story of a lifetime, but what kind of story is it? Is it the story of a new era of the American presidency, or is it a reality show debacle? This series explores these questions as we take a front-row seat to those writing the first draft of this moment in history.”