Variety and Rolling Stone are pleased to announce programming for the inaugural Truth Seekers virtual summit on August 26th, presented by Showtime Documentary Films. Keynote speakers will include Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris (The Fog of War), with panels from documentarians behind Allen v. Farrow, Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer, and more.
Stanley Nelson will receive the Truth Seeker Award. A MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, Peabody Award recipient, and Emmy Award winner, Nelson is one of the most decorated documentary filmmakers in the industry, whose riveting, research-driven narratives re-examine familiar and forgotten portraits of American history. His upcoming feature-length film Attica, from Showtime Documentary Films, will follow the 1971 prison rebellion in Attica, New York, which remains the country’s deadliest prison uprising. Attica will premiere on Showtime later this fall.
Panels will include “The Vocabulary of Verité: How to Construct the Language of Documentaries,” featuring filmmakers R.J. Cutler (Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, Belushi), Sacha Jenkins (Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men, Bitchin: The Sound and Fury of Rick James), Sam Pollard (MLK/FBI, Why We Hate), Liz Garbus (I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, What Happened, Miss Simone?), and Dawn Porter (Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer).
The “True Crime as an Agent of Change” panel will go behind the scenes with writers, producers, and directors as they conceive a true-crime project and how the documentary becomes part of the overall narrative of the story. Panelists include Joe Berlinger (Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel), Amy Ziering (Allen v. Farrow), Donald Albright (Up and Vanished), and Zachary Drucker (The Lady and the Dale).
“Variety is thrilled to partner with Showtime Documentary Films and Rolling Stone for the inaugural Truth Seekers Summit, spotlighting storytellers whose critical work examines the most pressing issues of our time,” says Michelle Sobrino-Stearns, president and group publisher of Variety.
“Rolling Stone is proud to stand alongside Variety and Showtime Documentary Films to present this first-of-its-kind summit honoring the power of storytelling and the pursuit of truth,” says Gus Wenner, Rolling Stone‘s president and chief operating officer.
“As nonfiction and documentary content continues to boom, what better time to take a moment to both celebrate and explore the future of the most powerful form of storytelling,” Vinnie Malhotra, executive vice president of nonfiction programming for Showtime Networks Inc., says. “In partnering with Variety and Rolling Stone on this summit, Showtime Documentary Films remains committed to not only stand shoulder to shoulder with our industry’s truth seekers but to create a pathway for new voices and perspectives.”
Additional keynote speakers and panelists to be announced. The virtual experience is free to attend with registration but availability is limited. To secure your spot to attend, register here.
Corresponding with the Truth Seekers Summit, Variety and Rolling Stone will partner to create a special print issue that expands on the Truth Seekers theme with stories — both original and archival — that demonstrate the brands’ decades-long dedication to the truth. The special issue will be sent to a select list of Variety and Rolling Stone subscribers on August 25th.
On July 1st, the iconic brands also created new website verticals devoted to documentary and investigative storytelling. Variety’s new section, accessible from the navigation bar and titled “Docs,” features documentary reviews, reporting about classic documentaries (culled from the Variety archives), and documentary coverage from the world’s leading film festivals.
Rolling Stone’s new section, titled “Rolling Stone Reports,” includes new Rolling Stone investigative reporting; original photography; classic Rolling Stone articles from Rolling Stone greats like Hunter S. Thompson, Kurt Loder, Tom Wolfe, Matt Taibbi, and more; and coverage from political and cultural events, as they unfold.