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New documentaries to watch on Netflix during April

New documentaries to watch on Netflix during April
Here’s a look at some of our best in class documentary films and series premiering on Netflix over April.


How To Fix A Drug Scandal (Limited Series, April 1)
In 2013, Massachusetts State Police arrested 35-year-old crime drug lab chemist Sonja Farak for tampering with evidence: and that was only the beginning. Over time, details emerged that Farak had been in fact using the drugs that she was tasked with testing. Did anyone know what had been going on? And when did they find out? The scope of Farak’s addiction—and the number of people convicted as a result of her drug testing—comes to light, despite repeated efforts to suppress evidence in the case. This riveting four-part docuseries directed by Erin Lee Carr (MOMMY DEAD AND DEAREST, DIRTY MONEY) examines an essential, but obscured, part of the criminal justice system. In addition to recreations of Farak’s compelling grand jury testimony, interviews with attorneys and experts, we also hear from Farak's family for the first time; delving deep into how the actions of one crime lab employee can impact tens of thousands of lives.

The Innocence Files (Limited Series, April 15)
THE INNOCENCE FILES shines a light on the untold personal stories behind eight cases of wrongful conviction that the nonprofit organization the Innocence Project and organizations within the Innocence Network have uncovered and worked tirelessly to overturn. The nine-episode series is composed of three compelling parts - The Evidence, The Witness and The Prosecution. These stories expose difficult truths about the state of America’s deeply flawed criminal justice system, while showing when the innocent are convicted, it is not just one life that is irreparably damaged forever: families, victims of crime and trust in the system are also broken in the process. THE INNOCENCE FILES is executive produced and directed by Academy Award® nominee Liz Garbus, Academy Award® winner Alex Gibney, Academy Award® winner Roger Ross Williams; with episodes also directed by Academy Award® nominee Jed Rothstein, Emmy Award® winner Andy Grieve and Sarah Dowland.

Circus of Books (Film, April 22)
For 35-plus years, the gay porn shop Circus of Books gave Los Angeles’ LGBT+ community a space to socialize and celebrate themselves without judgment. Unbeknownst to many customers, the store was cultivated by owners Karen and Barry Mason, a straight, mainstream couple with three children who went to religious school and were unaware of their parents’ business. The Masons long refused to disclose the nature of their business to friends or family. While maintaining the secret, they witnessed the dawn of the HIV/AIDS epidemic firsthand, losing a generation of treasured employees. Still, during that time, they never identified as activists — just everyday entrepreneurs catering to a market, until the Internet destroyed it. Executive produced by Ryan Murphy, CIRCUS OF BOOKS is the debut documentary from artist Rachel Mason, who finally asks the least radical people she knows — her parents — how they became America’s biggest distributors of gay porn, and why Karen reacted so negatively when her own son came out of the closet.

A Secret Love (Film, April 29)
A SECRET LOVE tells an incredible love story between Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel, whose relationship spans nearly seven decades. Terry played in the women’s professional baseball league, inspiring the hit movie A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. But the film did not tell the real-life story of the women who remained closeted for most of their lives. This documentary follows Terry and Pat back to when they met for the first time, through their professional lives in Chicago, coming out to their conservative families and grappling with whether or not to get married. Facing the hardships of aging and illness, their love proves resilient as they enter the home stretch. Directed by Chris Bolan and produced by Alexa L. Fogel, Brendan Mason and Ryan Murphy. 

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story (Film, April 29)
In 2004, 16-year-old Cyntoia Denise Brown was arrested in Nashville, Tennessee, for murdering a 43-year-old man who picked her up for sex. She was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison — Cyntoia’s fate seemed sealed. The film shows the complexity of a child who was the product of three generations of violence against women in her biological family. And how in 2019, after nearly 10 years of legal challenges, Governor Bill Haslam granted her request for clemency. He did so following a slow shift in the state for legislative change in juvenile sentencing laws and having seen evidence of her maturity, education, and good behavior as a prisoner. Directed and produced by Daniel H. Birman. Edited and produced by Megan E. Chao.

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