Disney+ Announces Slate of Non-Fiction Documentaries and Series Coming to the Streaming Service at Launch and Beyond

Today, the International Documentary Association invited Disney+ to give the documentary filmmaking community an inside look at the highly-anticipated streaming service’s nonfiction content strategy, including confirmation that Don Hahn’s Howard Ashman documentary Howard would debut on the platform.

What’s Happening:

  • The showcase featured Ricky Strauss, President of Content and Marketing for Disney+  as well as discussions with executive producers behind launch originals, including Kristen Bell (executive producer, Encore!), Jeff Goldblum (The World According to Jeff Goldblum), and Leslie Iwerks (director, The Imagineering Story). Marvel New Media’s VP of Development & Production Sarah Amos, Supper Club’s Jason Sterman and Gillian Jacobs (director, Marvel’s 616) presented Marvel’s initial plans for Disney+ nonfiction storytelling.
    • Howard, directed by Don Hahn (producer, Beauty and the Beast):
      • Disney+ has acquired the worldwide distribution rights for the critically acclaimed documentary Howard.  
      • Directed by Don Hahn, Howard is the untold story of Howard Ashman, the brilliant lyricist behind Disney classics like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and creator of musicals including Little Shop of Horrors.
      • The film will stream exclusively on Disney+ in 2020.

  • People & Places, which is produced by Supper Club’s Jason Sterman, Brian McGinn and David Gelb.
    • The show will re-launch Walt Disney’s Academy Award-winning series of documentary short films from the 1950s and 1960s.
    • Following in Walt’s footsteps, the series will focus on real-life stories of extraordinary people and places from around the globe that embody the Disney ethos — all told by a mix of up-and-coming and established filmmakers.
  • National Geographic’s Emmy Award-winning feature documentary Science Fair will stream exclusively on the service
    • Available when the service launches on November 12, The winner of audience awards at Sundance Film Festival and SXSW Film Festival, Science Fair follows nine high school students from around the globe as they navigate rivalries, setbacks and, of course, hormones, on their journey to compete at The International Science and Engineering Fair.

  • An “Untitled Mickey Mouse Documentary” from award-winning producer Morgan Neville (Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, 20 Feet From Stardom)
    • Directed by Jeff Malmberg (Marwencol, Shangri-La), the film will work to decode Mickey’s deeper significance, getting to the core of what his cultural impact says about each of us, and about our world. From Tremolo Productions and Lincoln Square Productions, the film will strive to be the definitive analysis of Mickey as a cultural icon.

  • Wolfgang, directed by Supper Club co-founder David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi).
    • An intimate portrait of the life and work of the original “celebrity chef,” Wolfgang Puck.
  • Additionally, actress/filmmaker Gillian Jacobs will direct an episode of the previously announced Marvel’s 616 series.
    • From the perspective of what it means to be a woman in what’s perceived to be a male-driven industry, “Higher, Further, Faster” will shine a light on the trailblazing women of Marvel Comics and explores how they found ways to tell stories of representation and inclusion.  
    • Jacobs will be joined by Paul Scheer, David Gelb, and Andrew Rossi, among others, to helm additional episodes of the series.  
    • The episodes will focus on a range of topics including an intimate look at the cosplay community, Marvel’s influence and relationship with hip-hop, illustrators who live and work internationally, and following a high school theater production of Marvel and Disney’s Spotlight program.
    • Marvel’s 616 will stream exclusively on Disney+ in 2020.
  • The series brings together former castmates of a high school musical, tasking them with re-creating their original performance in a high school reunion like no other.
  • Each episode follows a new cast of returning alumni as they attempt to pull off a standing-ovation-worthy performance of beloved musicals like The Sound of Music, Beauty and the Beast, Annie and more.
  • Encore! will stream exclusively on Disney+ November 12.
  • At the presentation, executive producer Kristen Bell shared the first extended look at her unscripted series Encore!.

  • Prolific documentarian and Academy Award and Emmy Award-nominated director and producer Leslie Iwerks (The Pixar Story, Citizen Hearst) gave a look inside the production process of her documentary series The Imagineering Story.
    • The six-hour saga chronicles the 67-year history of Walt Disney Imagineering, a place best described as equal parts artist studio, design center, think tank and innovation laboratory.
    • The Imagineering Story streams exclusively on Disney+ November 12.

  • Jeff Goldblum, who executive produces and stars in The World According to Jeff Goldblum from National Geographic, premiered the series’ “Tattoos” episode for the audience before giving a peek inside his curious mind.
    • Each episode of the series is centered around something we all love — like sneakers or ice cream — as Jeff pulls the thread on deceptively familiar objects and unravels a wonderful world of astonishing connections, fascinating science and history, amazing people, and a whole lot of surprising big ideas and insights.
    • The World According to Jeff Goldblum streams exclusively on Disney+ November 12.
  • The nonfiction Disney+ Originals will join the previously announced slate of scripted live-action and animated series and films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Lucasfilm, and more, in addition to Disney+ vast library of nearly 500 films and 7,500 television episodes. Disney+ is now available for pre-order in the U.S.

What They’re Saying:

  • Ricky Strauss, president, content & marketing, Disney+: “Disney has a rich history in nonfiction storytelling that dates back to the 1940s. The projects announced and showcased here today reflect Disney+’s commitment to building on Walt’s storytelling ethos and core values of creativity, innovation, and exploration.”