Inmigración 411: A Timely Spanish-language Public Television Series On Immigration Law

In 2008, I was retained to develop programming strategy for HITN-TV, a Spanish-language public television network located in Brooklyn’s historic Navy Yard. The recommendation:  Create low-cost, primetime series that respond to the urgent information needs of around 50 million U.S. Latinos. Immigration was the no-brainer as topic #1. With super-scarce resources, we went on to …

The Rightwing Documentary Producers Who Are Shaping Trump’s America

By Gregory Crofton, publisher and editor of ChannelNonfiction.com. President-elect Donald J. Trump’s new right-hand men David Bossie and Steve Bannon are committed producers of hard Right documentaries. We spoke to Bossie last year about the film studio he led as president and chairman of Citizens United (CU), a conservative political advocacy group. CU has produced …

The Fidel Archive Case Study: Inside a PBS / NGC International Coproduction

(Originally published, September 21, 2014). The PBS/NGCI documentary The Fidel Castro Tapes caught our attention with its compelling and unseen footage of the Cuban revolution and the Cold War drama that followed. We wondered about the challenges of creating an archive-based film about an 88-year old Spanish-speaking personality who can be dangerously controversial, and who …

Choppertown: A Model Facebook Network with 2.0 Million Friends. (Part 1 of 3)

The message of Choppertown is that documentaries can make money from Facebook. It is the story about how a deficit-funded, observational documentary evolved into a ground-breaking Facebook “channel.” Thanks to Zack Coffman for sharing the ups, downs, and ups again of the Facebook marketing engine Choppertown. Here is Part 1 of my Case Study on documentary strategies for …

YouTube RED: A New SVOD Pipeline for Documentary & Unscripted Commissions

YouTube Red is the new SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) service that targets the booming market pioneered by Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. RED announced its first original documentary special and reality series at Sundance last month. That’s just the first step by the corporate Goliath which recently reported $21.4 Bn revenues for 4Q 2015. I …

In Ebola’s Wake: Case Study of a High-risk, Fast Turnaround Documentary

In Fall 2014, producer Antje Boehmert was in post-production with Berlin-based director Carl Gierstorfer on Rise of the Killer Virus, a medical detective story on the pre-history of HIV. The team closely followed the breaking news on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Carl began to look for opportunities to cover the story. His research went into …