Six-part series from Oscar winning-pair will investigate 'human capacity for hatred'
Two of the entertainment industry's leading figures are joining forces for a documentary series on a troubling subject: the human tendency to indulge in hatred.
Academy Award winners Steven Spielberg and Alex Gibney will executive produce the Discovery series tentatively titled Why We Hate, which is set to debut on the cable channel in 2019. Geeta Gandbhir (I Am Evidence) and Sam Pollard (The Talk: Race in America) will direct.
"Drawing on research in psychology, neuroscience, sociology, and history, this series traces the evolutionary basis of hate and uses stories from both past and present to reveal the nature of this primal and universal emotion," Discovery said in a statement obtained by Nonfictionfilm.com. "At the heart of this timely series is a question: If we can figure out why we hate, where hate originates, and how it is amplified, can we find a way to prevent it?"
Getting to the root of the human condition is something I find not only fascinating, but absolutely necessary in understanding who we are.
“With the team in place, we delve into historical and modern-day stories of hate, traveling around the globe to uncover its mystery in others and in ourselves," Spielberg noted in a statement. "If we understand why we act the way we do, we can change the way we act. That is what we are uniquely capable of as human beings.”
Spielberg's Amblin Television and Gibney's Jigsaw Productions are producing, in association with Escape Artists. Frank Marshall and Steve Tisch are among the other executive producers on the project.
"This is not a series that simply documents something that’s happening, it’s an inquiry – an attempt to understand why we hate, through the science, and through a sense of common humanity," said Gibney. "Hate is in our DNA. If we begin to understand this, that’s how we begin to get to a point of being able to hope that we can overcome hate.”
David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery, Inc., pointed out, "Why We Hate has been a four-year discussion with Steven and Alex on how to best capture the domestic and global trends that are growing around the world and bring those facts and stories to a worldwide audience... The Discovery team and I are 'all in' on this project. It is Discovery’s commitment and a critical part of our heritage and mission. I really look forward to collaborating on such an important topic and bringing it to over 1 billion people across our domestic and global platforms in over 220 countries.”
For her part, Nancy Daniels, chief brand officer of Discovery and Factual, stated, “To say we are excited to work with Steven, Alex, Geeta, and Sam is an understatement. Understanding the why behind our actions can help us change those actions. That leads to a hopeful future for us and generations to come.”
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.