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Dave Eggers’ ‘To Be Destroyed’, ‘XCLD: The Story of Cancel Culture’, ‘Admissions Granted’ & ‘Battleground Georgia’ Lead MSNBC Films Slate

EXCLUSIVE: MSNBC Films has unveiled its spring and summer slate including a Dave Eggers documentary about book-banning.

The news network is launching four feature and short documentaries in its Sunday night slot between April and July.

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This includes a number of films for its The Turning Point series, which kicked off in 2022 with a Trevor Noah-produced series.

Eggers’ To Be Destroyed, which will launch on July 21, follows the A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius author as he embarks on a journey to Rapid City, South Dakota in the aftermath of his book’s controversial ban by the local school board. As Eggers navigates this landscape of censorship and resistance, viewers will learn how these ideas resonate far beyond the borders of Rapid City.

The film is directed by Arthur Bradford and will be the ninth installment of The Turning Point documentary series.

The seventh installment of the series is XCLD: The Story of Cancel Culture, which premieres on April 7.

The film features comedians Marc Maron, Judy Gold, Nimesh Patel, and Hari Kondabolu, journalists Ari Melber, and Andrew Chow, and scholars whose work focuses on the intersection of race, media and power Meredith D. Clark and Loretta J. Ross.

It explores the notion of Cancel Culture, which grew out of a mostly progressive move to hold people accountable for bad behavior, especially racist or misogynistic language, has recently been co-opted by some conservatives who–in equal measure–criticize its “woke” goals, cast themselves as its victims, and attempt to use it themselves as a political powerplay, while seeking to deplatform opponents with similar strategies. But is Cancel Culture really new? Or really that powerful? Or really that bad? XCLD is a look at this provocative and controversial issue that explores the evolution of Cancel Culture, from its history in different forms, to its contemporary genesis on Black Twitter, to where it is today: another divisive issue for people to argue over, and one that creates some exceptionally odd bedfellows.

Directed by Ferne Pearlstein it is produced by Amy Hobby and Kiana Jackson with story by Noah. It is produced by MSNBC Films, Time Studios, Trevor Noah’s Day Zero Productions, Sugar23 and Mainstay.

The eighth installment is Battleground Georgia, which premieres on May 19.

The 2020 election cycle was an opportunity for grassroots organizers to show how voter registration efforts could empower those who historically chose to remain outside the political process. Georgia became emblematic of the power of this work when a coalition registered over two million new voters flipping a reliably red state, electing Joe Biden and the state’s first Black and the first Jewish senators. This shift in the national political landscape set off a wave of backlash utilizing the voter suppression playbook written by white supremacists over a century ago.

While state legislatures are introducing voter restriction bills that overwhelmingly target voters of color, Georgia’s changemakers are ramping up their efforts to fight these new laws heading into another high stakes Presidential election. In Battleground Georgia, the leaders of multiple voting rights groups and political figures from both parties discuss the challenges of protecting a representative government.

Directed by Daresha Kyi, it is produced by Natalie Jowett.

Elsewhere, Admissions Granted, which premieres on June 30, looks at the events that led up to, and the aftermath of, the 2023 landmark Supreme Court case that struck down affirmative action in higher education.

Edward Blum, a white conservative legal strategist behind the case, has previously brought six cases before the US Supreme Court in a decades-long effort to dismantle race conscious policies in American society. When his first challenge to the consideration of race in college admissions was defeated, Blum went on to found Students for Fair Admissions, recruiting Asian American students rejected by selective universities, filing a lawsuit alleging Harvard University discriminated against Asian Americans.

With exclusive access to Blum and activists on both sides, Admissions Granted follows the case’s journey from the District Court to the Supreme Court, looking at divisions within the Asian American community and the increasingly polarized nation on matters of race, equity, and inclusion.

It is co-directed by Hao Wu and Miao Wang.

“We are pleased to present four titles that are emblematic of the ethos of MSNBC Films and to support the work of filmmakers who have a strong perspective and unique spin on these issues, who engage in the hard conversations, and who are unafraid to explore narratives about injustice in America and democracy at risk,” says Amanda Spain, VP of Longform Acquisitions, MSNBC. “They are all incredibly timely topics we hope will foster dialog and debate in our increasingly polarized society.”

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