Documentary Plus Debuts, Featuring Films from Spike Jonze, Werner Herzog

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

Documentary Plus Debuts, Featuring Films from Spike Jonze, Werner Herzog
Photo by Sam Blake/ dot.LA

A new billboard sloganeering "stranger than fiction" appeared on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake this week, one of several across Los Angeles advertising Documentary Plus (styled Documentary+), a new free streaming service that launched Thursday.

With already-released films from directors Spike Jonze, Kathryn Bigelow and Werner Herzog, Documentary Plus offers exactly what it sounds like, in both long- and short-form.


The new service is a joint venture between XTR, a Silver Lake-based non-fiction film studio, and the late Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos. Hsieh invested $17.5 million in October, a month before his untimely death.

And while there's no exclusive programming now, XTR founder Bryn Mooser, a two-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and entrepreneur, has big plans to compete in a market dominated by Netflix, Disney Plus and other heavy hitters.

Mooser wants XTR to be to documentaries what A24 is to indie film and Pixar is to animation. And it has some heavy hitters behind it, backed by Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia, television writer Norman Lear and former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.

"I set out to build the best documentary studio in the world," he said. This year, XTR is sending eight films to the Sundance Film Festival – comprising 60% of the documentaries accepted into the U.S. competition.

He said XTR will be on the lookout for potential acquisitions for Documentary Plus at Sundance, which begins as a digital event on Thursday.

"Docs are driving cultural conversation," said Mooser, a fifth-generation Angeleno who previously founded RYOT, a Venice-based media company at the nexus of documentary film, VR and AR. "People are talking about 'The Last Dance' or 'Tiger King' or 'Heaven's Gate' or 'The Vow' more than they're talking about 'CSI: Miami.'"

The streaming service will be ad-supported and available on all streaming platforms, the web and mobile devices.

Mooser said he's enthused by the growing crop of documentary-makers empowered by the 4K and 8K smartphone super-cameras in their pockets.

"Technology has enabled a new generation of artists to become filmmakers," Mooser said.

Documentary Plus' initial library will also include features about icons including Michael Jordan, Janis Joplin and Neil Armstrong; and fare from lesser-knowns and of a more experimental variety.

Streaming is a crowded market. Beneath the big players waging the streaming war — such as Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max and Peacock — numerous niche services are fighting for their patch. Mooser sees an opportunity in being the go-to destination for viewers in the mood for a doc.

"To me this is about building a culture," Mooser said. "It's about building a community and it's about really starting to build a brand around Documentary Plus that people love and want to be a part of."

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Greater Good Health Raises $10 Million To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Greater Good Health Raises $10 Million To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage
Courtesy of Greater Good Health

The pandemic highlighted what’s been a growing trend for years: Medical students are prioritizing high-paying specialty fields over primary care, leading to a shortage of primary care doctors who take care of a patient’s day-to-day health concerns. These physicians are a cornerstone of preventative health care, which when addressed can lower health care costs for patients, insurers and the government. But there’s a massive shortage of doctors all over the country, and the pipeline for primary care physicians is even weaker.

One local startup is offering a possible answer to this supply squeeze: nurse practitioners.

On Wednesday, Manhattan Beach-based Greater Good Health unveiled a $10 million Series A funding round led by LRVHealth, which adds to the startup’s $3 million seed round last year. The company employs nurse practitioners and pairs them with doctor’s offices and medical clinics; this allows nurse practitioners to take on patients who would otherwise have to wait weeks, or even months, to see a doctor.

Read more Show less

Plus Capital Partner Amanda Groves on Celebrity Equity Investments

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
PLUS Capital​’s Amanda Groves.
Courtesy of Amanda Groves.

On this episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, Amanda Groves talks about how PLUS Capital advises celebrity investors and why more high-profile individuals are choosing to invest instead of endorse.

As a partner at PLUS, Groves works with over 70 artists and athletes, helping to guide their investment strategies. PLUS advises their talent roster to combine their financial capital with their social capital and focus on five investment areas: the future of work, future of education, health and wellness, the conscious consumer and sustainability.

Read more Show less

Rivian Stock Roller Coaster Continues as Amazon Van Delivery Faces Delays

David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

Rivian Stock Roller Coaster Continues as Amazon Van Delivery Faces Delays
Courtesy of Rivian.

Rivian’s stock lost 7% yesterday on the back of news that the company could face delays in fulfilling Amazon’s order for a fleet of electric delivery vans due to legal issues with a supplier. The electric vehicle maker is suing Commercial Vehicle Group (CVG) over a pricing dispute related to the seats that the supplier promised, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Read more Show less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending