Filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Alex Gibney have teamed to produce a docu-series for Discovery Channel examining the origins and dangers of hate.
The two Oscar winners will executive produce the six-part series tentatively titled “Why We Hate.”
Spielberg’s Amblin Television partnered with Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions on the project, which began production earlier this year and will air on Discovery in 2019. Geeta Gandbhir (“Love the Sinner”) and Sam Pollard (“Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me”) are co-directing the project.
The series will investigate the human capacity for hatred and how we can overcome it. The subject is a topic Spielberg has been longing to explore.
“Getting to the root of the human condition is something I find not only fascinating, but absolutely necessary in understanding who we are,” Spielberg told Variety. “With the team in place, we delve into historical and modern-day stories of hate, traveling around the globe to uncover its mystery in others and in ourselves. If we understand why we act the way we do, we can change the way we act. That is what we are uniquely capable of as human beings.”
Drawing on research in psychology, neuroscience, sociology, and history, “Why We Hate” traces the evolutionary basis of hate and uses stories from past and present to reveal the nature of the primal and universal emotion.
“This is not a series that simply documents something that’s happening, it’s an inquiry — an attempt to understand why we hate, through the science, and through a sense of common humanity,” Gibney told Variety. “Hate is in our DNA. If we begin to understand this, that’s how we begin to get to a point of being able to hope that we can overcome hate.”
The series will also reveal contemporary links to ancient behavior and explores how science is a basis for explaining the nature of hatred and the human mind. “Why We Hate” will attempt to answer three core questions: the why behind hatred; where the emotion originates; and how, if amplified, can we find a way to prevent it?
“Understanding the why behind our actions can help us change those actions,” said Nancy Daniels, chief brand officer, Discovery and Factual. “That leads to a hopeful future for us and generations to come.”
Discovery Inc. CEO David Zaslav called the series “exactly the kind of story Discovery should be telling.” The project has been in the works for four years, Zaslav added.
“Our aspiration is to be working with great storytellers like Steven and Alex all over the world on the most important and consequential stories and issues,” Zaslav said. ” ‘Why We Hate’ is even more relevant today, and the Discovery team and I are ‘all in’ on this project. It is Discovery’s commitment and a critical part of our heritage and mission.”
Gandbhir and Pollard are long-time editing collaborators. Their prior projects include Emmy-winning HBO docs “By the People: The Election of Barack Obama” and “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.”
“Why We Hate” is an Amblin Television and Jigsaw Productions in association with Escape Artists for Discovery Channel. Executive producers are Spielberg, Gibney, Frank Marshall, Stacey Offman, Richard Perello, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Yael Melamede, Erica Sashin and Steve Tisch. Exec producers for Discovery are Jon Bardin and David McKillop.
(Pictured: Steven Spielberg)