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Factual America examines America through the lens of documentary filmmaking. Guests include Academy Award, Emmy and Grammy-winning documentary filmmakers and producers, their subjects, as well as experts on the American experience. Find out more about the current and upcoming documentaries on Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Sky Documentaries and other platforms directly from the creators. Whether we discuss true crime, music, burning social and political topics, history, or arts, Factual America is your #1 documentary film podcast.

Factual America is produced by Alamo Pictures, a London- and Austin-based production company that makes documentaries about the US from a European perspective for international audiences.

Factual America Matthew Sherwood

    • テレビ番組/映画

Factual America examines America through the lens of documentary filmmaking. Guests include Academy Award, Emmy and Grammy-winning documentary filmmakers and producers, their subjects, as well as experts on the American experience. Find out more about the current and upcoming documentaries on Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Sky Documentaries and other platforms directly from the creators. Whether we discuss true crime, music, burning social and political topics, history, or arts, Factual America is your #1 documentary film podcast.

Factual America is produced by Alamo Pictures, a London- and Austin-based production company that makes documentaries about the US from a European perspective for international audiences.

    Echoes of the Invisible: Pushing the Limits of Human Experience

    Echoes of the Invisible: Pushing the Limits of Human Experience

    Award-winning documentary Echoes of the Invisible (2020) looks at timelessness, the origins of the universe, and what it means to be one of the almost 8 billion inhabitants of Planet Earth.
    The film follows the explorers who are pushing the human body and technology beyond known limits in the most extreme environments on Earth. One of them is Paul Salopek, a journalist walking across the world in the footsteps of the earliest human migrations. Others include scientists like Joe Incandela, building machines to look back nearly to the beginning of time.
    Joining us is the award-winning director, cinematographer, and editor Steve Elkins, and two other participants in this film – particle physicist Joe Incandela, and Julia Payne, who is the project manager for Paul Salopek at the Out of Eden project. 
    Echoes of the Invisible took almost 7 years to make, as Steve travelled the globe interviewing scientists, monks, and athletes. We discuss the journey of making this film, and the great wealth of human experiences on this marvellous planet.
    “I take a whole bunch of stories that absolutely deserve their own documentaries, but I try to see what sparks fly off when you collide these different stories together.” - Steve Elkins
    Time Stamps: 00:00 - Guest introductions and the trailer for Echoes of the Invisible.
    03:15 - When and where Echoes of the Invisible has been released.
    05:29 - What the film is about and the common themes connecting the stories it looks at.
    09:31 - What the Out of Eden Walk is, and the journey Paul Salopek has been on.
    13:22 - What the God Particle is, why it’s so important, and how they study it at CERN.
    18:35 - How long ago the Big Bang is considered to have happened. 
    19:01 - How Steve found the different stories to put together for this documentary.
    22:42 - Why Steve doesn’t pitch his films and how he’s able to still produce them.
    24:45 - The logistical difficulties involved in making the film.
    26:01 - How long it took to film the documentary.
    27:00 - The bureaucratic hardships you face when walking around the world.
    29:17 - How Paul has managed to afford walking around the world for so long.
    33:59 - What Joe’s response was when Steve approached him about being in the film.
    40:02 - The over-emphasis on profitability within Western culture.
    42:43 - How Paul reacted to the message of the film.
    46:38 - Steve’s different artistic interests and how art can help science connect to the public.
    50:00 - The relationship between artists and scientists, and announcing Higgs boson.
    53:58 - How long Paul estimates it will be until he finishes his journey.
    56:00 - The next scientific project Joe is working on.
    57:52 - What dark matter is and is it the answer to the fundamental questions of the universe.
    59:31 - The next projects Steve is working on.
    1:02:43 - The clock Jeff Bezos is building that will chime every 1,000 years.  
    Resources: Echoes of the Invisible (2021)
    Kanopy
    Out of Eden Walk
    Out of Eden Walk Nonprofit
    Innersound Audio 
    Alamo Pictures
    Connect with Steve Elkins:
    IMDb
    LinkedIn
    Connect with Joe Incandela:
    Website
    Connect with Julia Payne:
    LinkedIn
    Connect with Factual America:
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    Connect with Matthew Sherwood:
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    More From Factual America:
    A Life on Our Planet: Sir David Attenborough's Witness Statement
    Stewart Brand: America's Last Great Optimist

    • 1 時間9分
    The Phantom: The Case of Carlos DeLuna 40 Years Later

    The Phantom: The Case of Carlos DeLuna 40 Years Later

    After covering The State of Texas vs. Melissa (2021), once again we are talking on Factual America about the death penalty in the state of Texas.
    The recently released documentary The Phantom (2021) shines a light on a capital murder case, but probably in ways that most of us have never experienced before. The film follows Carlos DeLuna, who was arrested in 1983 for the murder of a woman service station attendant, but protested his innocence until he was executed, stating another Carlos had committed the crime.
    Through interviews with eyewitnesses, Carlos DeLuna's family members, and legal experts, the film examines if the judicial system executed an innocent man, and whether or not there could be another Carlos that the prosecution called 'the phantom'. 
    We’re joined by award-winning director, Patrick Forbes, to discuss how he found out about the case of Carlos DeLuna and how he got involved with making the film. We also talk about the death penalty in Texas and the art of storytelling that Patrick deploys in this documentary. 
    “Humans are endlessly interesting and curious. You don’t do this job to get rich, you do this job because you like stories and you like people.” - Patrick Forbes
    Time Stamps: 00:00 - Introducing the guest, and the trailer for The Phantom.
    03:52 - The link Patrick’s film Brexit: A Very British Coup has with America.
    05:14 - A brief synopsis of The Phantom.
    06:39 - The untrustworthy character of Carlos and why his defense was so unbelievable.
    11:32 - The strength of the case against Carlos.
    13:14 - Why Patrick presents the events of the documentary in real time. 
    14:22 - The new aspects of the case Patrick discovered as he was filming.
    20:29 - The unreliable nature of eyewitness testimonies.
    24:51 - Clip: the tape of the victim's call to 911 just before she was murdered. 
    28:55 - Why Patrick thought this case deserved to be made into a film.
    32:50 - How he got in contact with everyone who was involved in the case.
    37:36 - How he brought a 40-year-old case to life.
    43:14 - The ‘no-go’ areas there were in some parts of Texas.
    47:35 - The challenges that come with being an English filmmaker working in America.
    50:04 - Why Patrick interviewed some subjects in Spanish, their mother tongue.
    54:14 - The dangerous area the victim had no option but to work in.
    57:58 - The importance of the composer and soundtrack of the film.
    1:00:30 - The next project Patrick is working on.  
    Resources: The Phantom (2021)
    Brexit: A Very British Coup (2016)
    Innersound Audio
    Alamo Pictures
    Connect with Patrick Forbes:
    IMDb
    Connect with Factual America:
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    Connect with Matthew Sherwood:
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    More From Factual America:
    The State of Texas vs. Melissa: The Death Penalty's Problems
    Murder Among the Mormons: The Mark Hofmann Story
    Capital Punishment: Life and Death Row

    • 1 時間4分
    Fernando Sulichin: Producer of JFK Revisited and Flag Day

    Fernando Sulichin: Producer of JFK Revisited and Flag Day

    Acclaimed producer Fernando Sulichin has built his career by working with film giants such as Spike Lee, David Lynch, Sean Penn, and Oliver Stone. Now Fernando has two films debuting at the Cannes Film Festival.
    Flag Day is directed by and stars Sean Penn, while JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass is the latest documentary from director Oliver Stone.
    JFK Revisited is the follow-up to Stone's political thriller JFK (1991) about the John F Kennedy assassination. Using recently declassified archives – part of a congressional review sparked by the 1991 film – JFK Revisited sheds new light onto this seminal event in American history. 
    Fernando talks about his partnership with Stone and how he has gained the trust of high-profile figures such as Fidel Castro, Nelson Mandela and Vladimir Putin. Fernando's strong passion for film comes through loud and clear and has him contemplating stepping behind the camera himself. 
    “It’s not about judgment, it’s about discovery.” - Fernando Sulichin
    Time Stamps:
    00:00 - Introducing our guest Fernando Sulichin.
    02:31 - What JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass is about.
    05:51 - The challenge of finding a buyer for the film.
    09:00 - What it’s like working with Oliver Stone.
    11:16 - The ways Stone has helped Fernando grow as a filmmaker.
    12:44 - The issues with how biased the media has become in recent years.
    15:47 - How Fernando gets access to people like Castro, Mandela and Putin.
    17:28 - How he decides what questions he wants to ask his subjects.
    24:06 - The traits most great directors have in common.
    27:37 - The upcoming doc A Bright Future directed by Stone.
    36:22 - The similarities between feature films and docs.
    38:34 - How Fernando decides whether he will work on a film.
    40:33 - The plans he has to get into directing in the future.
    41:42 - The importance of being passionate about the film you’re making.
    46:54 - The future humanitarian projects that he is working on.
    49:52 - How Fernando got his start on Spike Lee's Malcom X (1992).
    51:16 - How the film industry has changed in the last 50 years.
    Resources:
    Flag Day (2021)
    JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass (2021)
    JFK (1991)
    The Putin Interviews (2017)
    Innersound Audio
    Alamo Pictures
    Connect with Fernando Sulichin:
    IMDb
    Connect with Factual America:
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    Connect with Matthew Sherwood:
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    More From Factual America:
    MLK/FBI: America on a Collision Course
    Moment of Truth: The Murder of Michael Jordan's Father
    The Crime of the Century: Pharma and the US Opioid Crisis
    The State of Texas vs. Melissa: The Death Penalty's Problems

    • 56分
    The State of Texas vs. Melissa: The Death Penalty's Problems

    The State of Texas vs. Melissa: The Death Penalty's Problems

    Melissa Lucio is the only Hispanic woman to ever be sentenced to death in the state of Texas. She is currently facing her last appeal, having spent 13 years on death row. 
    Her case, as well as the problems with the American justice system and the death penalty, are captured in the documentary The State of Texas vs. Melissa (2020). 
    Having made its festival debut, the film has received great reviews and won multiple audience choice awards. Joining us is French-American journalist and filmmaker Sabrina Van Tassel, who directed, wrote and produced the film.
    This is also a joint episode with Factual America's sister podcast, The Lone Star Plate, hosted by Patrick Scott Armstrong, who interviews famous Texans and explores compelling Texas stories. 
    “I believe Melissa would already have been executed if I hadn’t made this film.” - Sabrina Van Tassel
    Time Stamps: 00:00 - Introducing the guest, and the trailer for The State of Texas vs. Melissa.
    04:04 - Where you can watch this documentary.
    05:16 - What the film is about and who Melissa is.
    07:37 - How Sabrina got involved with this case.
    12:00 - What it was like meeting Melissa for the first time.
    15:13 - The biases people have towards certain ethnic groups.
    22:36 - The trust in God there is within the Roman Catholic community.
    24:40 - Melissa’s first lawyer and the chances of winning a case against the DA office.
    28:27 - The appeal Melissa won and then overturned a short time later.
    32:19 - Why Sabrina believes Maria died from falling down the stairs.
    37:48 - How Sabrina got access to Melissa and her defence attorney.
    44:14 - How Melissa’s family responded to the film.
    45:56 - The chances of Melissa being released and Sabrina doing a follow-up film.
    50:26 - How quickly an execution is carried out after an inmate’s appeals run out.
    51:55 - Why Sabrina wants to bring awareness to the justice system's failures.
    55:55 - The problems with the death penalty and death row.
    59:48 - The positive effects making this film has had.
    1:01:58 - What people can do to help put an end to the death penalty.
    1:06:48 - The next projects Sabrina is working on.
    1:07:59 - How being French gives Sabrina a different perspective on American culture.
    1:10:58 - Advice for other filmmakers who want to make documentaries.
    1:14:56 - Sabrina’s director of photography and the film's unique soundtrack.  
    Resources: Melissa Lucio is the only Hispanic woman to ever be sentenced to death in the state of Texas. She is currently facing her last appeal, having spent 13 years on death row. 
    Her case, as well as the problems with the American justice system and the death penalty, are captured in the documentary The State of Texas vs. Melissa (2020). 
    Having made its festival debut, the film has received great reviews and won multiple audience choice awards. Joining us is French-American journalist and filmmaker Sabrina Van Tassel, who directed, wrote and produced the film.
    This is also a joint episode with Factual America's sister podcast, The Lone Star Plate, hosted by Patrick Scott Armstrong, who interviews famous Texans and explores compelling Texas stories. 
    “I believe Melissa would already have been executed if I hadn’t made this film.” - Sabrina Van Tassel
    Time Stamps: 00:00 - Introducing the guest, and the trailer for The State of Texas vs. Melissa.
    04:04 - Where you can watch this documentary.
    05:16 - What the film is about and who Melissa is.
    07:37 - How Sabrina got involved with this case.
    12:00 - What it was like meeting Melissa for the first time.
    15:13 - The biases people have towards certain ethnic groups.
    22:36 - The trust in God there is within the Roman Catholic community.
    24:40 - Melissa’s first lawyer and the chances of winning a case against the DA office.
    28:27 - The appeal Melissa won and then overturned a short time later.
    32:19 - W

    • 1 時間25分
    Mary J Blige: The Unheard Story of the Album 'My Life' on Amazon Prime

    Mary J Blige: The Unheard Story of the Album 'My Life' on Amazon Prime

    Mary J Blige is a multi-platinum R&B and Hip Hop recording artist, a 9-time Grammy award-winner, and celebrated actress.
    She is also the subject of a new Amazon Studios documentary that releases on June 25th, Mary J Blige’s My Life, that marked the 25th anniversary of the artist's acclaimed 1994 album, propelling her to international stardom.
    Joining us to talk about Mary J Blige and the making of this documentary is the Academy Award-winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth, best known for her short documentary Freeheld (2007) and Netflix series Daughters of Destiny (2017).
    She tells us about how Mary’s life inspired and influenced the My Life album and her music career, about the challenges of making music documentaries, as well as what it was like working with Amazon Studios. 
    “Once you’re given the opportunity, you need to do the work.” - Vanessa Roth
    Time Stamps:
    00:00 - The trailer for Mary J Blige’s My Life.
    03:43 - The period of Mary’s life that inspired her My Life album and the film.
    06:49 - The unique sound of Mary’s voice and the nature of her lyrics.
    08:10 - What Mary's fans will find in the film that they haven't seen or heard before.
    10:50 - How Vanessa structured the film.
    13:28 - How the film got started and whose idea it was to make it.
    17:50 - How familiar Vanessa was with Mary's music before making the film.
    22:07 - The role Mary’s family played in her life.
    24:43 - Mary’s spiritual side and her belief in providence.
    26:19 - Why Vanessa used animation in the film.
    32:46 - What it was like working with Amazon Studios.
    35:40 - The unique challenges there are in making a music documentary.
    38:31 - Mary’s thoughts on the final cut of the film.
    40:01 - Vanessa's connection to Forrest Gump and why she didn’t pursue an acting career.
    45:07 - The secret to Vanessa's success.
    47:10 - The series Vanessa has made on Nat Geo about women impacting societies.
    Resources:
    Mary J Blige’s My Life (2021)
    Mighty Oak
    Impact with Gal Gadot (2021)
    Innersound Studios
    Alamo Pictures
    Connect with Vanessa Roth:
    IMDb
    Connect with Factual America:
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    Connect with Matthew Sherwood:
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    More From Factual America:
    HBO's Revolution Rent: Broadway in Cuba
    Guy Clark: Texas Music Legend
    Moby Doc: A Life in Reprise
    The Notorious B.I.G. Has Got a Hip Hop Story to Tell

    • 51分
    HBO's Revolution Rent: Broadway in Cuba

    HBO's Revolution Rent: Broadway in Cuba

    The Tony and Pulitzer-Prize winning musical Rent celebrates the 25th anniversary of its Broadway premiere on June 15th.
    The musical's message still resonates today, as captured by the HBO documentary Revolution Rent about the first commercial American production staged in Havana, Cuba in over 50 years.
    Stage director and filmmaker Andy Señor, Jr played Angel in the Broadway play, directed the Havana production, and co-directed Revolution Rent with Victor Patrick Alvarez.
    Both join us to recall the experience of staging Rent in Cuba in 2014. They also discuss the intentions behind making Revolution Rent and the challenges they faced bringing the film to a worldwide audience.
    Revolution Rent is debuting on HBO and HBO Max on June 15th.
    "I've always told Andy that this is a sacred experience. As someone who's known a lot about the culture in Cuba, I could have went there and stirred the pot, but that's not why I was there. It was Broadway, it was Rent, it was Jonathan Larson's play, Andy was there, it was America and Cuba working together." - Victor Patrick Alvarez
    Time Stamps: 00:00 - Introducing the guests, and Revolution Rent trailer.
    03:40 - What Revolution Rent is about.
    05:26 - What it was like working in Cuba in 2014.
    08:00 - Victor’s experience and difficulties making the documentary.
    09:17 - What resonates with Matthew in Revolution Rent.
    12:05 - Discussing the emotional scene with Andy’s mom.
    15:00 - How Cuba has been changing since 2014 and normalising relations with the US.
    17:50 - How Andy started filming the documentary at his home.
    20:00 - How staging the production in Cuba changed the lives of the team.
    25:03 - What life lessons we can learn from Cubans.
    26:32 - Clip: Rehearsal scene from Revolution Rent.
    27:44 - What restrictions there were for filming in Cuba.
    30:50 - The intentions Andy and Victor had with filming the documentary.
    36:59 - What documentary project Victor is working on next.
    Resources: Revolution Rent (2019)
    Innersound Audio
    Alamo Pictures
    Connect with Andy Señor Jr: 
    Instagram
    Twitter
    Connect with Victor Patrick Alvarez:
    LinkedIn
    Connect with Factual America:
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    Connect with Matthew Sherwood:
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    More From Factual America:
    Moby Doc: A Life in Reprise
    Linda Ronstadt: An Hommage to Mexican Americans
    Uprooted: American History Through Jazz Dance

    • 42分

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