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Fiscal Crisis Doc ‘Hank’ Coming to Netflix

9 Sep, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Bloomberg-produced documentary outlines former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s efforts to prevent the collapse of the U.S. economy during the global financial meltdown, which occurred five years ago next month.

Netflix and Bloomberg Sept. 9 announced that new documentary Hank: Five Years From the Brink will launch exclusively on Netflix in North America on Sept. 16.

The film, directed by Joe Berliner and co-produced by Bloomberg Businessweek Films and RadicalMedia, features former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and is timed for the fifth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and the start of the global financial crisis.

Paulson recounts how he, during a three-week period in September 2008, persuaded banks, Congress and presidential candidates to sign off on nearly $1 trillion in bailouts — even though he found the behavior (abject greed) that led to the crisis, and the bailouts themselves, morally reprehensible. Paulson also details here why another fiscal crisis is inevitable.

Despite being the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, Paulson wasn't quite the pinstriped banker he appeared to be. In interviews, Paulson tells of his childhood on a farm in the Midwest, aspiring to be a forest ranger. Paulson was a family man — married to his wife, Wendy, for 40 years — and a devout Christian Scientist with left-leaning politics.

After working on his first bailout as a junior staffer in the Pentagon and then in the Nixon White House, Paulson returned with his family to his native Chicago to forge a career at Goldman Sachs. Paulson had refused two previous offers to be Secretary of the Treasury before finally accepting in 2006, not willing to let his fear of failure or his family's distaste of the Bush administration — which Wendy readily admits in separate interviews — stop him from serving his country.

"We love bringing thought-provoking documentaries to our members and so to be the premiere home for Hank: Five Years From the Brink is a thrill for us," Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos said in a statement.

"We're honored to have Hank seen on such an innovative platform as Netflix, and incredibly fortunate to have been able to partner with the great Joe Berlinger on this documentary," said Bloomberg Businessweek editor and producer, Josh Tyrangiel, who is leading the Bloomberg Businessweek Films initiative.

The remaining Netflix territories will have access to the doc on Nov. 1. Virgil Films and Entertainment will distribute the film in other formats.

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