Could Oprah Winfrey do for documentaries what she does for favorite novels? I wish it were so, but her new monthly documentary film club won't exactly be the equivalent of her book club. The difference is that most of the two-hour docs showcased by the club will be produced by her own OWN network and will air on the channel, as well. And on top of this, they'll also have additional celebrity names attached, including Julia Roberts and Goldie Hawn. According to indieWIRE, the former is presenting a film about mothers titled Extraordinary Moms while the latter's entry is an examination of the pursuit of happiness, which she'll narrate, called Searching for Happiness.

The other three docs currently planned are as follows: Gabriel Byrne is co-producing Tent City, about homelessness in Nashville; Mariel Hemingway presents and stars in Seven Suicides, which involves the death of her grandfather, Ernest Hemingway, and other family members; and Forest Whitaker will produce and narrate One Last Shot, about Angola prison. The subject of that last film should be familiar to hardcore doc fans, having been the focus of the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning The Farm: Angola, USA and very recently the Samuel L. Jackson-narrated In the Land of the Free. But with Oprah's name attached to One Last Shot, this could likely garner a larger audience than either of those.
There are some docs not produced by the network being presented through this club, such as The Family Affair, which OWN picked up at Sundance, the Mormon teens doc Sons of Perdition, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and the Second Life doc Life 2.0, which we reviewed at SXSW this year. I'd love to see them pick up some more deserving docs and give them some theatrical distribution, too. Doesn't she have the power to get butts in seats for non-fiction films?