FRONTLINE Announces Fall Slate of Documentaries on Major Challenges Facing America, from North Korea, to the War on the EPA, to the Fight Against ISIS, to Russia
New Fall Shows Will Culminate With a Two-Part Documentary on Vladimir Putin From the Team Behind “The Choice 2016,” “Divided States of America” and “Bannon’s War”
This fall, PBS’s flagship investigative documentary series, FRONTLINE, will bring viewers new, in-depth documentaries exploring some of the most pressing topics facing the country — including the mounting tensions with North Korea, the fight against ISIS, climate change and the EPA, and Vladimir Putin’s interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.
“At FRONTLINE, we are about serious journalism for serious times,” says FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney-Aronson Rath. “Our fall lineup reflects that commitment — taking a deep and crucial look at the stories and issues that are shaping the moment we live in.”
FRONTLINE’s new fall documentaries will premiere Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST/9 p.m. CST on PBS stations and online at pbs.org/frontline:
– October 4: North Korea’s Deadly Dictator | It’s the stuff of a spy novel: Earlier this year, Kim Jong-un’s half brother Kim Jong-nam was ambushed in a Malaysian airport by two women bearing a lethal chemical weapon 10 times more powerful than sarin. He died en route to the hospital. Who planned the murder of Kim Jong-un’s half brother, and what does it reveal about the leader and his regime?
As nuclear tensions between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un escalate, producer Jane McMullen examines claims the North Korean leader and his intelligence services ordered the assassination on Kim Jong Nam, and sheds light on his broader intentions — and nuclear capabilities.
Drawing on interviews with a leading North Korean defector, diplomats, experts, Kim Jong-nam’s school friends and even a former North Korean secret agent, the documentary is a rare glimpse inside the secretive country — and an eye-opening look at both how King Jong-un thinks, and how he’s trying to ensure his regime’s survival and perpetuate his own power.
– October 11: War on the EPA | How did Scott Pruitt go from fighting the EPA to running the agency and rolling back years of policy? In this gripping documentary from James Jacoby and Anya Bourg, FRONTLINE investigates the conservative political forces and causes, like climate change skepticism, that propelled Pruitt’s takeover of the EPA.
With access to key players on all sides of the issue, the film traces how the fossil fuel industry fought back against Obama-era regulations with the help of a “strike force” of industry-funded state attorneys general, led by Pruitt. It also explores how Pruitt — a former state senator and minor league baseball team owner—came to political prominence first in Oklahoma and then in Washington, D.C. by pledging to fight federal environmental regulations, and defend the oil and gas industries.
With Pruitt now leading the federal agency he sued 14 times as Oklahoma’s attorney general, War on the EPA is an inside look at the triumphant ascent of the anti-regulatory movement in America.
– October 18: Mosul | Described by some military commanders as the deadliest urban combat since World War II, the battle to drive ISIS out of Mosul as the terror group held civilians captive there was brutal and grueling. Award-winning French director Olivier Sarbil was on the ground and filming as it unfolded.
Shot over the course of the entire nine-month fight, this vivid documentary follows the experiences of four young soldiers in a team of Iraqi Special Forces tasked with leading the fight: Anmar, a college graduate seeking revenge after his father was victim of a suicide attack; Hussein, a deadly sniper and aspiring soccer player; Jamal, a wise-cracking sergeant; and Amjad, a young recruit whose wife is pregnant.
Visceral footage of the fighting is interwoven with intimate and searching interviews with the young soldiers. Full of hope at the beginning of the campaign, the reality of fighting an elusive and vicious enemy in a city full of trapped civilians ultimately takes its toll: By the end of filming, one of the four soldiers is dead. And for the surviving soldiers, haunted by what they have seen and done, the war goes on.
Mosul is a stunning look at the high cost of the Iraqi Army’s victory over ISIS in the city, large parts of which have been destroyed, with hundreds of thousands of civilians still displaced.
Also this hour, FRONTLINE presents Inside Yemen –a rare, up-close look at the country that’s home to what the United Nations recently called the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. From Martin Smith, one of few Western journalists to report from Yemen in 2017, this short film reveals the consequences of two-plus years of airstrikes on the country by a Saudi-Arabia led and U.S.-backed coalition.
– October 25 and November 1: Putin’s Revenge | For months, reports of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election have dominated the headlines. Now, FRONTLINE tells the story of how Vladimir Putin came to see the United States as an enemy — and why he decided to target an American election.
In a special, two-part documentary with in-depth reporting from Moscow and Washington, DC, FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk and the team behind The Choice 2016, Divided States of America and Bannon’s War examine Putin’s rise, rule and motivations.
Against the backdrop of investigations by the FBI and Congress into the role Russia played in the election, this epic documentary draws on more than 60 interviews with diplomats, intelligence officials, political leaders, journalists, and primary sources to trace how Putin went from low-ranking KGB agent to long-serving president of a newly assertive Russia with the ability to wage cyber-war in the U.S. and across the globe.
Unfolding over two nights, Putin’s Revenge is a riveting investigation of how the U.S. struggled to confront Vladimir Putin over Russian involvement in the 2016 election, how revenge may have motivated Putin to target American democracy, and the U.S. responses under Presidents Obama and Trump.
Visit pbs.org/frontline to watch trailers for each film in FRONTLINE’s packed fall lineup.
North Korea’s Deadly Dictator is a BBC Current Affairs production for WGBH/FRONTLINE and BBC. The producer is Jane McMullen. The senior producer is Dan Edge. The executive producers for BBC are Sarah Waldron & Sam Bagnell. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.
Mosul is a FRONTLINE Production with Mongoose Pictures in association with Channel 4. The producers are James Jones and Dan Edge. The writers are James Jones and Dan Edge. The director is Olivier Sarbil. The co-director is James Jones. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.
Inside Yemen is a FRONTLINE Production with Rain Media. The producers are Sara and Michelle Mizner. The director of photography is Scott Anger. The correspondent is Martin Smith. The director of digital video is Carla Borras. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.
War on the EPA is a FRONTLINE production with Left/Right Docs. The producers are James Jacoby and Anya Bourg. The writer and director is James Jacoby. The senior producer is Frank Koughan. The executive producers for Left/Right Docs are Ken Druckerman and Banks Tarver. The executive producer for FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson Rath.
Putin’s Revenge is a FRONTLINE production with the Kirk Documentary Group. The director is Michael Kirk. The producers are Michael Kirk, Mike Wiser, Philip Bennett and Jim Gilmore. The writers are Michael Kirk and Mike Wiser. The reporters are Jim Gilmore and David E. Hoffman. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.
FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 82 Emmy Awards and 20 Peabody Awards. Visit pbs.org/frontline and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Google+ to learn more. Founded in 1983, FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Ford Foundation, the Park Foundation, The John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, the Heising-Simons Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.