Tonight, and This Fall, on FRONTLINE
Our new season begins tonight, and I’m proud to say that we’ll be bringing you one of our most robust fall lineups ever.
The FRONTLINE documentaries you’ll see in the coming weeks have been months — in some cases years — in the making. Our reporters and producers have traveled the country and globe, chasing down leads and asking tough questions.
For example, while making tonight’s season premiere, The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith managed to get into the royal box at an event outside Riyadh, where Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke for the first time about his role in the murder of Washington Postcolumnist Jamal Khashoggi. Smith pressed both the crown prince and high-level Saudi officials about how the murder could have been, as they insist, “a rogue operation.”
On the eve of the one-year anniversary of Khashoggi’s killing, The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is a powerful and richly detailed investigation of Prince Mohammed’s ties to the murder, the young ruler’s rise to power, his handling of dissent, and his relationship with the Trump administration.
This season, we’ll also be training our focus on the border, with three films examining different aspects of the crisis over immigration. On Oct. 22, in Zero Tolerance, Michael Kirk and his team tell the story of how President Trump turned immigration into a powerful political weapon that fueled division and violence. The following Tuesday, in Targeting El Paso, Marcela Gaviria and Martin Smith report from the epicenter of the border crisis on how El Paso became Trump’s immigration testing ground — and then the target of a white supremacist. Then, on Nov. 12, Daffodil Altan and Andrés Cediel partner with The Associated Press to continue our joint reporting on how Trump’s immigration policies have impacted Kids Caught in the Crackdown.
That’s not all. This fall, we’ll bring you the U.S. broadcast premieres of two remarkable and cinematic films that have made waves on the festival circuit. For Sama, an intimate yet epic journey into one woman’s experience of love, motherhood and survival during the Syrian conflict, has been one of the most decorated theatrical documentaries of the year — earning the Best Documentary Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for directors Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts. It comes to FRONTLINE Nov. 19. And On the President’s Orders, a film from Olivier Sarbil and James Jones that has its FRONTLINE premiere Oct. 8, has sparked international conversation for its unflinching depiction of President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly war on drugs in the Philippines.
Much more is on deck, too — including a two-hour documentary on the promise and perils of artificial intelligence, In the Age of AI, on Nov. 5 from David Fanning and Neil Docherty. And of course, as our season progresses and we enter 2020, we’ll continue to chronicle our country’s politics — and the divisions that are playing out in Washington and beyond. Here’s a sneak peek.
Thank you for watching, and stay tuned.
– Raney Aronson-Rath
FRONTLINE Executive Producer