HBO’s PHOENIX RISING, a two-part documentary produced and directed by Amy Berg (HBO’s “The Case against Adnan Syed”), follows actress and activist Evan Rachel Wood as she takes her experience as a survivor of domestic violence to pursue justice, heal generational wounds, and reclaim her story. Almost a decade after escaping a dangerous relationship, Wood co-authors and successfully lobbies for passage of The Phoenix Act, legislation that extends the statute of limitations for domestic violence cases in California. Wood courageously uses her own experience to bring visibility to the issue; ultimately, in solidarity with fellow survivors.
PHOENIX RISING had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and will debut on HBO on back-to-back nights. Part 1, “Phoenix Rising: Don’t Fall,” debuts TUESDAY, MARCH 15 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT and Part 2, “Phoenix Rising: Stand Up” debuts WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16 at the same time. Both episodes will be available to stream on HBO Max beginning Tuesday, March 15.
PHOENIX RISING delves behind familiar headlines and explores the often-misunderstood aspects of domestic abuse, helping to shed light on the many factors that prevent survivors from coming forward with their stories as they deal with years of aftershocks and emotional trauma.
At age 18, Wood was pursued by then 37-year-old Brian Warner, known to the world as the rock icon Marilyn Manson. In sway to his status, image and persuasive personality, she began a relationship with him that spanned over four years. As the relationship progressed, Wood went from a teenager flattered by his attention, to a young woman terrified of the man who claimed to love her, and she experienced escalating emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Looking back, she recognized a pattern of grooming and control tactics similar to those experienced by other survivors who told their stories of harrowing experiences at the hands of Warner.
Connecting the dots between the progression of her relationship with Warner and phases of the clinical domestic violence cycle, Wood successfully lobbied for The Phoenix Act, which was signed into California State Law in 2019, extending the statute of limitations for domestic violence felonies from three years to five years.
Using archival footage, intimate home videos and candid testimony from Wood and other survivors, PHOENIX RISING charts Wood’s journey from silent victim to vocal survivor and her rise to a domestic violence advocate. Amid rising public controversy and an active law enforcement investigation, Wood stands in solidarity with other survivors. On February 1st, 2021, Wood publicly named Brian Warner, aka Marilyn Manson, as her abuser, free from the burden of silence, even as the promise of justice remains ambiguous. To date, no charges have been filed against Warner, who denies abusing Wood or any other person.
HBO is building a robust national impact campaign to amplify key issues that are central to the documentary. HBO is partnering with non-profit organizations, including RAINN, to help empower, educate, and provide resources and action opportunities for all audiences.
HBO Documentary Films’ presents A Disarming Films Production in association with Artemis Rising PHOENIX RISING. Produced and directed by Amy Berg; edited by Miranda Yousef and Veronica Pinkham; music composed by Aska Matsumiya; artwork by Nicoletta Ceccioli and Marc Bouwer; animation by Angelique Georges; produced by Grace Sin, Lesley Goldman, Katie Doering; executive producer Kirsten Sheridan. For HBO: senior producer, Tina Nguyen; executive producers, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.
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