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Showtime Doc ‘American Jihad’ to Debut in March

Variety logo Variety 1/31/2017 Oriana Schwindt
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Showtime has set a date for its new doc on domestic Jihadists: “American Jihad” will premiere March 11 at 9/8c.

The doc uses the stories of former Jihadists and those deeply affected by its practices to shed light on how to stop homegrown terrorism. It also asks experts to weigh in on what actions those in power can take to help prevent the phenomenon of domestic Jihadism from occurring. The documentary also explores the impact of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen identified by the CIA as an al-Qaeda leader whose charismatic, highly personal recruitment tactics were responsible for influencing other Americans to the Jihadist cause. As the first American-born terrorist targeted and killed by a U.S. drone strike overseas, his death held worldwide political implications and invigorated the momentum of U.S. radicalism.

The name may sound familiar in a more recent sense: Al-Awlaki’s 8-year-old daughter was recently reported to have been killed in a military operation in Yemen, the first such operation ordered by new President Donald Trump.

Directed by Alison Ellwood and produced by Sarah Dowland, “American Jihad” was “inspired” by the Mark Wahlberg-Peter Berg joint “Patriots Day,” which followed a fictional police officer during the day of and investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing, perpetrated by the Tsarnaev brothers. After his apprehension, Dzokhar Tsarnaev claimed he and his older brother Tamerlan had been self-radicalized in part by watching lectures from al-Awlaki.

“American Jihadi” comes from CBS Films (also the studio behind “Patriots Day”), 60 Minutes, Film 45, and Jigsaw Productions. Executive producers are Alex Gibney and Stacey Offman of Jigsaw Productions, along with 60 Minutes’ Michael Radutzky and Jeff Fager, and Film 45’s Matt Goldberg, Brandon Carroll and John Logan Pierson. Richard Perello serves as co-executive producer. The film will also close out the Big Sky Film Festival in February.

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