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Hey, y’all. As the days grow longer and the summer heat intensifies, there’s no better refuge than the cool embrace of air conditioning and the captivating world of true crime documentaries. This June, there’s no shortage of macabre murder stories waiting to capture your attention. The list is extensive this month, with no fewer than 22 new releases (including one drama series) that promise to shock, intrigue, and, dare I say, even entertain. So buckle up, true crime fanatics – we’re diving deep into a summer of suspense and dark intrigue that’s as relentless as the summer sun.
A limited docuseries exposing the truth beneath the wholesome Americana surface of reality tv’s favorite mega-family, The Duggars, and the radical organization behind them: The Institute in Basic Life Principles. As details of the family and their scandals unfold, we realize they’re part of an insidious, much larger threat already in motion, with democracy itself in peril.
Investigative journalist Grace Kahng explores human trafficking in Polk County, Florida, embedding with undercover decoys as they sting men, women and pimps engaged in the dangerous game of sex for sale.
The Nuremberg Einsatzgruppen trial of 1947/1948 is considered the largest murder trial in history against members of four death squads from the security police and SD (the security service of the SS). During World War II, six million Jews were murdered. Four million died in the extermination camps, but two million people were killed in systematic mass shootings. A fact that is hardly known today. The perpetrators came face to face with their victims. They shot at men, women, children – day after day, obediently and assiduously, as if it were normal work. Tens of thousands of Germans belonged to the mobile commandos of the task forces and police battalions. Who were these men, how could they commit such murders? What did the few survivors tell, how were they able to escape the mass extinction and live on with the horrific experience? Based on written traditions, original documents, film footage and photos as well as expert statements, the documentary traces the path of one of these murder battalions.
Police catch a woman literally red-handed after spray-painting a neighbor’s garage; an Indiana mayor tries to avoid arrest after drinking and driving; a man puts on a bizarre show for the camera inside his jail cell.
When 15-year-old Jennifer Pandos went missing in 1987, her parents told everyone she ran away. Decades later, her brother Stephen begins a relentless odyssey in search of the truth. His investigation into the case threatens to destroy his family as he becomes strongly convinced that his parents are both implicated in the crime. As time passes, more threads unravel and new evidence comes to light, Stephen starts to question everything he has come to believe.
The town of Malden, Massachusetts, erupts with outrage after a child attending a family-run daycare makes sexual abuse claims. However, as the allegations build with more and more children coming forward, people start wondering what’s really happening.
When nine-year-old Maya Kowalski was admitted to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in 2016, nothing could have prepared her or her family for what they were about to go through. As the medical team tried to understand her rare illness, they began to question the basic truths that bound the Kowalskis together. Suddenly, Maya was in state custody – despite two parents who were desperate to bring their daughter home. The story of the Kowalski family – as told in their own words – will change the way you look at children’s healthcare forever.
This is the definitive history of New York City’s Meatpacking District, told by the transgender women of color who created its history. The now corporate, flush façade of the neighborhood was plastered over the world of transgender sex workers who lived, worked, loved, and died there. “The Stroll” was where trans women of color, shunned out of the workforce, turned to for a means of survival. Their perspective and insights constitute a rigorous archive of how heavy policing, violence both threatened and realized, and mass gentrification combined to create Manhattan’s built environment today.
Women of the Stroll past and present are brought together by co-director Kristen Lovell (for whom this is a stunning directorial debut), who worked alongside them for a decade, and Zackary Drucker (Transparent producer and TheLady and the Dale director). The directors’ proximity to the story and its tellers brings to the screen a camaraderie and care presented with crystalline clarity and undeniable force. Their ability to illuminate such challenging history is tempered by their kind directorial hands and shared joy in remembering this hallowed ground.
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