A ship, wrecked: HBO’s The Last Cruise chronicles COVID-19’s infamous cruise ship

The trailer for HBO’s The Last Cruise.

Filmmaker Hannah Olson might be the only person to ever have two world premieres at South by Southwest while never having her work shown on a single screen in town. Back in 2020, Olson was ready to bring Baby God, her HBO documentary on the fallout from revelations about disgraced fertility doctor Quincy Fortier. But then March 6, 2020 happened—the city of Austin declared a disaster and effectively cancelled SXSW for the first time in the event’s 30-plus-year history.

“The pandemic became very real for me very quickly because my premiere was canceled on March 6, 2020,” Olson tells Ars. “So at that point, I felt very strongly I wanted to pivot… and I started looking closer at these people stuck on a cruise ship out in Japan.”

Just like that, Olson had unexpectedly started on her second feature documentary before her first had even debuted.

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