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Stories of Tragedy and Triumph: HBO’s Greg Rhem Reveals The Network’s 3 Greatest Documentaries

HBO is known for having the best original content on television, and HBO Documentaries has a share of that lofty tradition. Greg Rhem is manager of documentary acquisitions at HBO Documentary Films, and shares the network’s enthusiasm for great content. “We try to be diversified, innovative, informative, exciting and entertaining as well,” he says. “It’s about locking into people’s minds, hearts and spirits and getting those churned up, and in the process, getting them to think about things.”

“I come from a fiction background and I’ve been in the business for over 25 years and here for 14-plus years,” Rhem continues. “The head of my department, Sheila Nevins, infuses the idea that there might be some great drama out in the real world. It’s been said many times before — there are some things you just can’t write. This is better than what you can write, this is stranger than fiction. From “The Sopranos” to “The Wire,” [there was] something that sparked that [story] in real life, and we want to find that.” todd williams

“Born Into Brothels”
These children who were stuck in the red-light district of Calcutta and the filmmakers were involved in the process of trying to get them out [through] photography. [It’s] a really wonderful film that we didn’t make directly, but I was involved in the process of finding it.

“Free Held”
A story out of New Jersey where a 25-year veteran of the police force was dying of cancer and trying to give her pension to her partner of five years, [despite] local politicians [saying] that was impossible unless they were a traditionally married couple.

“Murder On A Sunday Morning”
French filmmakers came to the United States looking for examples of the American justice system. They followed this public defender as he tried to clear the name of a young African American boy.