By James Hibberd
August 20, 2019 at 10:04 AM EDT
Saeed Adyani/Netflix

A Bill Gates documentary series is coming to Netflix from an acclaimed director.

Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates is from Academy Award-winner Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, He Named Me Malala) and chart the Microsoft founder’s post-CEO life tackling philanthropic endeavors as he tries to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges.

The three-part series chronicles the tech visionary “as he pursues unique solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems with the same level of optimism, curiosity, and fervor that inspired his original vision for Microsoft.”

“Davis had the idea of making a documentary that looked at the big projects I take on that are risky and might not happen otherwise, and that was interesting to me,” said Bill Gates. “It may seem counterintuitive to make this documentary while we’re still in the middle of solving these really hard problems, but I’m hopeful that maybe more people will get engaged in some of these issues and help solve them. I hope this documentary leaves people optimistic that big problems can be tackled.”

Added Guggenheim: “Sometimes my documentaries are seen as films about issues, but to me, they’re about people who fascinate me. Bill Gates has always been a compelling figure, but what makes him such an interesting person to think about right now is the way in which his optimism and pragmatism drives his approach to problem-solving. When I thought about topics to cover, I knew I didn’t want to make a promotional piece about his work. Instead, I opted to focus on the tougher, more complex problems that nobody wants to think about, like sanitation and nuclear energy. Bill chose to take these issues on, even knowing that he might fail, and I had an instinct that seeing him wrestle with these intractable and frustrating problems would reveal something interesting about him as a person.”

After stepping down as Microsoft CEO in 2000, Gates and his wife launched the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Since then, the foundation has reportedly spent more than $36 billion to fund work in global health, emergency relief, education and poverty. In particular, the Foundation has been on a quest to eliminate malaria, Ebola and polio in developing countries, as well as improve access to vaccines.  Gates also created the Giving Pledge along with investment king Warren Buffet, which challenges billionaires to commit to giving the majority of their money to charity.

Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates launches Friday, Sept. 20 on Netflix.

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