Welcome to Ark Media

Historical, Cultural and Public Affairs documentaries.

The Company

Founded in 1996 by Barak Goodman and Rachel Dretzin, Ark was created to be a vehicle for the films they both felt privileged to make. Together with longtime collaborator, John Maggio, Goodman and Dretzin have grown Ark Media into a hub for large multi-part series and smaller, one-off films. Recognized as nurturer of young talent, Ark has grown to include dozens of accomplished and passionate filmmakers working together and separately. Ultimately, it’s about the work: projects with intellectual depth, strong narrative and the ability to challenge viewers to reach their own conclusions. While setting a standard for excellence, Ark thrives because of a dynamic, engaged, and passionate group of people assembled for a common purpose: to collaborate on meaningful projects.

 

 

Projects

FINDING YOUR ROOTS: SEASON 2 (2014)
FINDING YOUR ROOTS: SEASON 2 (2014)
FINDING YOUR ROOTS: SEASON 2 (2014)
Ark Media has begun work on Season 2 of Finding your Roots set to air in the Fall of 2014. With Senior Producer John Maggio at the helm, Season 2 will feature such guests as Anderson Cooper, Ben Affleck, Billie Jean King, Anthony Bourdain, Jessica Alba and many more. Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. will travel across America to trace the family histories of celebrity guests and tell the intertwined stories of race, class, place, and culture from across the globe that brought them here. In all, each episode is a journey through one branch of the American past leaving audiences all the more curious about their own past and eager to unearth their own family roots.   Film Website: Click here
CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES (2015)
CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES (2015)
CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES (2015)
Senior Producer: Rachel Dretzin Senior Story Producer: Leslie Asako Gladsjo Directors/Producers: Phil Bertelsen, Leslie Asako Gladsjo, Sabin Streeter and Jamila Wignot Co-Producers: Talleah Bridges McMahon, Hazel Gurland-Pooler and Leah R. Williams Edited by: Paula Heredia, Kim Miille, Nancy Novack, Howard Sharp and Bruce Shaw Original Music: Paul Brill
THE AFRICAN AMERICANS: MANY RIVERS TO CROSS (2013) is a six-part series scheduled for national, primetime broadcast on public television in the fall of 2013. It will be the first documentary film series to chronicle the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent over four centuries of remarkable historic events right up to today–when America has a black President, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race. Hosted by noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and drawing on some of America's top historians and heretofore untapped primary sources, the series will guide viewers on an engaging journey across four hundred years and two continents to shed new light on the experience of being an African American. Episodes include "The Black Atlantic" (1500-1800), "The Age of Slavery" (1800-1858), "Into the Fire" (1858-1896), "Making a Way Out of No Way" (1896-1940), "Rise!" (1940-1968), and "It's Nation Time" (1968-2013). The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross is a joint production of Kunhardt McGee Productions, WNET, and Inkwell Films in association with Ark Media. It premieres on Tuesday, October 22st on PBS at 8pm EST.    

Winner of a 2013 Peabody Award: More Info

Film Website: Click here
The Italian Americans (2014)
The Italian Americans (2014)
The Italian Americans (2014)

THE ITALIAN AMERICANS (2014)

Written and Directed by: John Maggio

Produced by: Muriel Soenens and Julia Marchesi

Edited by: George O'Donnell and Seth Bomse

Co-Producer: Josh Gleason

Associate Producer: Hannah Olson

Directors of Photography: Sam Russell and Stephen McCarthy

Original Music: Gary Lionelli

Narrated by: Stanley Tucci

THE ITALIAN AMERICANS (2014) is a four-hour documentary series, which chronicles four generations of Italian-American lives, from the massive late 19th century wave of immigration to the present day. This great sweep of history provides the backdrop for the stories of families, both ordinary and well-known: their departures and reunions, their struggles to stay connected to their homeland while making their way in America, their entry into labor, entertainment, politics, and war. The Italian Americans will tell stories of people both famous and ordinary. Their everyday struggles with family, work, identity, and belonging, mirror the experience of millions of immigrants, past and present.

The film, distributed by WETA in Washington DC and produced with Social Media Productions, is slated for prime-time national broadcast in 2014.
Far From the Tree (2014)
Far From the Tree (2014)
Far From the Tree (2014)
Ark Media is currently developing a new film based on the best-selling book by Andrew Solomon. Weaving together Solomon's beautiful prose with poignant interviews and verité scenes, Far from the Tree will profile families in which parents and their children have strikingly different identities. Featuring mothers and fathers who are learning to parent extraordinary children -- from those with dwarfism and Down Syndrome to those who are prodigies and transgendered -- the film will explore the tensions and questions universal to all families about identity, difference and the ways in which adversity unites us and enriches our love for one another.
THE AFRICAN AMERICANS: MANY RIVERS TO CROSS (2013)
THE AFRICAN AMERICANS: MANY RIVERS TO CROSS (2013)
THE AFRICAN AMERICANS: MANY RIVERS TO CROSS (2013)
Senior Producer: Rachel Dretzin Senior Story Producer: Leslie Asako Gladsjo Directors/Producers: Phil Bertelsen, Leslie Asako Gladsjo, Sabin Streeter and Jamila Wignot Co-Producers: Talleah Bridges McMahon, Hazel Gurland-Pooler and Leah R. Williams Edited by: Paula Heredia, Kim Miille, Nancy Novack, Howard Sharp and Bruce Shaw Original Music: Paul Brill
THE AFRICAN AMERICANS: MANY RIVERS TO CROSS (2013) is a six-part series scheduled for national, primetime broadcast on public television in the fall of 2013. It will be the first documentary film series to chronicle the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent over four centuries of remarkable historic events right up to today–when America has a black President, yet remains a nation deeply divided by race. Hosted by noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and drawing on some of America's top historians and heretofore untapped primary sources, the series will guide viewers on an engaging journey across four hundred years and two continents to shed new light on the experience of being an African American. Episodes include "The Black Atlantic" (1500-1800), "The Age of Slavery" (1800-1858), "Into the Fire" (1858-1896), "Making a Way Out of No Way" (1896-1940), "Rise!" (1940-1968), and "It's Nation Time" (1968-2013). The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross is a joint production of Kunhardt McGee Productions, WNET, and Inkwell Films in association with Ark Media. It premieres on Tuesday, October 22st on PBS at 8pm EST.    

Winner of a 2013 Peabody Award: More Info

Film Website: Click here
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Written and Directed by: John Maggio Co-Producer: Josh Gleason Edited by:Ilya Chaiken Narrated by:Michael Murphy
Long before Paul Newman and Robert Redford immortalized them on screen, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid captivated Americans from coast to coast. In the 1890s, their exploits robbing banks and trains in the West—and then seemingly vanishing into thin air—became national news and the basis of rumors and myth. But who were Robert Leroy Parker and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh? How did they come together to form the Wild Bunch gang? And how did they manage to pull off the longest string of successful holdups in history while eluding the Pinkertons, the nation's most feared detective force? Separating fact from fiction, the latest installment of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE's popular The Wild West series explores the last pair of outlaws to flee on horseback into a setting sun.
Makers: Women Who Make America (2013)
Makers: Women Who Make America (2013)
Makers: Women Who Make America (2013)

MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA (2013)

Hours 1 & 2 Written and Produced by: Barak Goodman

Hour 3 Written and Produced by: Pamela Mason Wagner

Co-Producer: Jamila Ephron

Edited by: Ilya Chaiken and Pamela Scott Arnold

Associate Producer: Jessie Beauchaine

Original Music: Joel Goodman

MAKERS: Women Who Make America tells the remarkable story of the most sweeping social revolution in American history, as women have asserted their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity, and personal autonomy. It's a revolution that has unfolded in public and private, in courts and Congress, in the boardroom and the bedroom, changing not only what the world expects from women, but what women expect from themselves. MAKERS brings this story to life with priceless archival treasures and poignant, often funny interviews with those who led the fight, those who opposed it, and those first generations to benefit from its success. Trailblazing women like Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey share their memories, as do countless women who challenged the status quo in industries from coal-mining to medicine. Makers captures with music, humor, and the voices of the women who lived through these turbulent times the dizzying joy, aching frustration and ultimate triumph of a movement that turned America upside-down.

 

Film Website: Click here

Finding Your Roots (2012)
Finding Your Roots (2012)
Finding Your Roots (2012)

Senior Producer: Rachel Dretzin

Senior Story Producer: Leslie Asako Gladsjo

Producers: John Maggio, Julie Marchesi, Jesse Sweet, Caitlin McNally

Finding Your Roots focuses on the diversity of the American experience, uncovering the many ways in which our identities are forged by culture, race, and history. Presented by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., each hour of this 10 episode series features a different pair of celebrity guests, who are bound together by an intimate, sometimes hidden, link - whether it be as old friends, through long lost relatives, or a common past. Celebrity guests include Barbara Walters, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Bacon, Robert Downey, Jr., John Legend, Cory Booker, and Martha Stewart, among others. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and his production team work closely with the country's leading genealogists (including the New England Genealogical Historical Society and Johni Cerny) as well as a host of ancestry experts around the world, to uncover lost family stories from that the guests never knew existed. When the paper trail runs out, Gates and his research team turn to top geneticists and DNA companies such as 23 & Me to analyze each participant's DNA, digging deeper into their family trees -- sometimes even debunking family secrets. Gates shares his findings with each guest, and in many cases, travels with them behind the scenes as they process what they've learned, accompanying John Legend to a rock concert, talking to Samuel Jackson backstage at his Broadway play, joining Cory Booker as he reveals the results of his family history to his parents, and trailing Sanjay Gupta and Geoffrey Canada to memorable family reunions. Gates also reaches beyond these celebrity stories to seek out everyday individuals wrestling with similar questions of identity. He visits with barbers at his favorite barber shop in Cambridge and engages students in Harlem curious about their genetic makeup. In all, each episode is a journey through one branch of the American past leaving audiences all the more curious about their own past and eager to unearth their own family roots.

 

Film Website: Click here

Clinton (2012)
Clinton (2012)
Clinton (2012)

Written and Directed by: Barak Goodman

Produced by: Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance

Co-Producer: Jamila Ephron

Edited by: George O'Donnell and Nancy Novack

Director of Photography: Stephen McCarthy

Original Music: Joel Goodman

A biography of a president who rose from a broken childhood in Arkansas to become one of the most successful politicians in modern American history, and one of the most complex and conflicted characters to ever stride across the public stage. The biography of a president who rose from a broken childhood in Arkansas to become one of the most successful politicians in modern American history, and one of the most complex and conflicted characters to ever stride across the public stage. From draft dodging to the Dayton Accords, from Monica Lewinsky to a balanced budget, the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton veered between sordid scandal and grand achievement. Clinton had a career full of accomplishment and rife with scandal, a marriage that would make history and create controversy, and a presidency that would define the crucial and transformative period between the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9-11. The latest installment in the critically acclaimed and successful series of presidential biographies, Clinton follows the president across his two terms as he confronted some of the key forces that would shape the future, including partisan political warfare and domestic and international terrorism, and as he struggled with uneven success to define the role of American power in a post-Cold War world. Most memorably, it explores how Clinton's conflicted character made history, even as it enraged his enemies and confounded his friends.

 

Film Website: Click here

 
Billy The Kid (2012)
Billy The Kid (2012)
Billy The Kid (2012)

Written, Produced and Directed by: John Maggio

Associate Producer: Julia Marchesi

Edited by: George O'Donnell

Director of Photography: Stephen McCarthy

Original Music: Gary Lionelli

Billy The Kid is a fascinating look at the myth and the man behind it, who, in just a few short years transformed himself from a skinny orphan boy to the most feared man in the West and an enduring western icon. An outlaw with a deadly reputation, Billy the Kid was gunned down by an ambitious sheriff on July 14, 1881. The felling of one of the most notorious criminals of the age was instantly national news. First demonized by the lawman who killed him, the Kid was soon mythologized by a never-ending stream of dime store romances and big-screen dramas. A fascinating look at the boy behind the myth, Billy the Kid features interviews with a wide variety of Western historians and writers, and puts a human face on the legend who in just a few short years transformed himself from a skinny orphan boy to the most feared man in the West to an enduring icon.

 

Film Website: Click here

 

Film Trailer:Click here

Football High (2011)
Football High (2011)
Football High (2011)

FOOTBALL HIGH (2011)

Written and Directed by: Rachel Dretzin

Produced by: Rachel Dretzin and Caitlin McNally

Co-Produced and Edited by: Seth Bomse

Camera: Samuel Russell

Original Music: Gary Lionelli

Corporate sponsorships, nationally televised games, minute-by-minute coverage on sports websites -- for players, parents and coaches, high school football has never been bigger. But is enough being done to ensure players' safety as the intensity of the sport grows? In Football High, FRONTLINE investigates the new face of high school football. Football observers and sports journalists alike agree that on average, high school players' size, speed and strength have increased dramatically over the past five to 10 years. At Euless Trinity in Texas, which has been ranked the No. 1 high school team in the country, 18 of the 89 varsity players weigh over 250 pounds. "The ramping up of pressure on high school kids ... and the increase of media attention on high school football, my God, in the last 10 years, it's become like a little NFL," says Gregg Easterbrook, a writer and columnist for ESPN. "If you look at it position by position, you can only compare it to NFL teams," says trainer Kelvin Williams. "It's just crazy. They are huge." FRONTLINE centers its investigation in Arkansas, where two players collapsed from heatstroke last year while practicing during one of the hottest summers on record. The players were placed in the same intensive care unit in Little Rock, both having suffered extensive damage to their internal organs. One boy survived, but the other boy died in the hospital three months after his collapse. "There should never, ever be a person [dying] from exertional heatstroke, because it's 100 percent preventable," says Dr. Doug Casa, a leading expert on heatstroke. In the wake of the tragedy in Arkansas, FRONTLINE investigates the differences in the two boys' fates. Only one of the boys' teams had an athletic trainer on staff, which reflects the reality in most of Arkansas: Only 15 percent of the schools in the state have a certified medical professional at games and practices, slightly below the national average. The program also investigates the estimated 60,000 concussions suffered each year by high school football players. In 2010, researchers discovered a degenerative mental disease in the brain of 21-year-old Owen Thomas, a University of Pennsylvania football player who committed suicide last year -- and had never reported a concussion throughout his football career. Thomas' brain showed evidence of CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the same mental degenerative disease rampant in the brains of NFL players with serious mental problems. "It has totally changed what I thought about this game," says VA researcher Dr. Ann McKee. "Anybody who's playing the game, this could happen; this could be the result."

 

Film Website: Click here

 

Film Trailer:Click here

 
My Lai (2010)
My Lai (2010)
My Lai (2010)

Written, Produced and Directed by: Barak Goodman

Edited by: Nancy Novack

Associate Producer: Jamila Ephron

Camera: Stephen McCarthy

Original Music: Joel Goodman

What drove a company of American soldiers--ordinary young men from around the country--to dehumanize and murder more than 300 unarmed civilians? Were they "just following orders," as some later declared? Or did they break under the pressure of vicious war in which the line between enemy soldier and civilian had been intentionally blurred? Today, as the United States once again finds itself questioning the morality of actions taken in the name of war, Barak Goodman focuses his lens on the 1968 My Lai massacre, its subsequent cover-up, and the heroic efforts of the soldiers who broke rank to halt the atrocities. My Lai draws upon the eyewitness accounts of Vietnamese survivors and the men of Charlie Company and recently discovered audio recordings from the Peers Inquiry to recount one of the Vietnam War's darkest chapters. On the morning of March 16, 1968, a company of American soldiers entered the village of My Lai, located in Quang Ngai Province in central Vietnam. Frustrated by their inability to directly engage the enemy and emotionally devastated by the ongoing casualties their unit had sustained, the men had been told that this was their chance to finally meet the Viet Cong head on. By the end of the day, they had shot and killed between 300 and 507 unarmed and unresisting men, women and children, none of them apparently members of the enemy forces. Most of the survivors hid under the dead bodies of their families and neighbors. The incident, subsequently known as the My Lai Massacre, would only come to light more than a year later, when shocking photos of the atrocities were splashed across the pages of national newsmagazines and the evening newscasts, further eroding public support for the war in Vietnam. The U.S. Army commissioned an investigation, eventually charging over 20 men of wrongdoing. The commission concluded that there had been widespread failures of leadership, discipline and morale. On March 29, 1971, Lieutenant William Calley was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison, causing a firestorm of public outcry. Anti-war Americans saw Calley as a scapegoat for a corrupt military; those in favor saw him as a dedicated soldier who had only been carrying out orders. Public sentiment overwhelmed the White House, and President Nixon ordered Calley released and confined to his quarters pending a review of his conviction. In total, he ended up serving four and a half months in a military prison. Captain Medina was acquitted, having denied that he gave any orders for the massacre. None of the other military men initially charged were ever convicted. My Lai had a lasting impact on a war-weary American public. Demands for withdrawal from Vietnam continued to grow, while others questioned the idea of blind loyalty to military leadership, the effectiveness of a military draft for finding suitable recruits, and the wisdom of a war whose success was measured on the nightly news by body counts. Today, the My Lai Massacre is still considered the worst case of an American war atrocity.

 

Film Website: Click here

 

Film Trailer:Click here

Faces of America (2010)
Faces of America (2010)
Faces of America (2010)

Produced and Directed by: John Maggio, Leslie Asako Gladsjo, Sue Williams, Stephen Ives and Amanda Pollak

Senior Producers: Barak Goodman and Sue Williams

Editors: Ed Barteski, Jr, Joanna Kiernan, Merril Stern, and George O'Donnell

Co-Producer (Episode 1): Julia Marchesi

Coordinating Producer: Stephen Altobello

Associate Producers: Konstantinos Kambouroglou, Titi Yu and Lindsey Megrue

Camera: Stephen McCarthy and Sam Shinn

Original Music: Michael Bacon

What made America? What makes us? These two questions are at the heart of the PBS series Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Building on the success of his series African American Lives (called by The New York Times "the most exciting and stirring documentary on any subject to appear on television in a long time,") and African American Lives 2, Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. again turns to the latest tools of genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of twelve renowned Americans. Our American Stories - Episode One explores the dynamic and shifting relationship America had with her new immigrants in the 20th century. World war tore apart families; and sundered the fabric of many lives; but America beckoned and millions came. Yet, America was an ambivalent host. At its best, a place of refuge and salvation, as for film director Mike Nichols whose entire family escaped Nazi Germany. At its worst, a country that would imprison two generations of Japanese Americans, like the ancestors of Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi. Along the way, we'll discover the buoyant American optimism that shaped chance - as in a single encounter that changed cellist Yo-Yo Ma's life forever - to pave the road to success. Becoming American - Episode Two explores the many journeys to becoming American that defined the "Century of Immigration" (1820s - 1924) and transformed the United States from a sleepy agrarian country into a booming industrial power. Stephen Colbert's Irish great-great-grandfather escaped poverty and religious oppression in Limerick and never looked back, whereas Mario Batali's great-grandfather, who left the place where his family had lived for centuries, struggled to survive in the quartz mines of Montana. Her Majesty Queen Noor's Syrian great-grandfather quickly found his footing in New York's first Arab American community, while Kristi Yamaguchi's grandfather faced exclusionary laws and racially-defined barriers to citizenship for decades. The obstacles, short-cuts, tragedies and successes encountered or created by the guests' ancestors from around the world reveal the complexity of our shared history and identity as Americans. Making America - Episode Three tells the story of the peopling of the New World, of how land came to define the settling and identity of America, and of how the guests' ancestors were part of this history. We discover descriptions of Meryl Streep's eighth great-grandfather who fought in Metacom's War; records of a land dispute in Spain that pushed Eva Longoria's ancestors to leave for the New World; a treaty that Louise Erdrich's Native American ancestor was forced to sign; and Yo-Yo Ma's family genealogy in China, which gives insights into his identity he has longed for his whole life. Know Thyself - Episode Four takes up the search for the guests' ancestries where the historical record leaves off and links their distinctive family histories to the broader history of "the family of man." Combining the documented stories of some of the guests' last known ancestors with DNA evidence, the series travel backward through time to reveal both distant relatives and surprising shared ancestral connections. Elizabeth Alexander learns that she is a direct descendent of Charlemagne, and that her paternal roots are not only European, but Jewish. Meryl Streep and Mike Nichols discover that they are distant cousins, as do Yo-Yo Ma and Eva Longoria. Interwoven with these stories and others is the journey of the host, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as he and his father and brother undertake an historic project to have their entire genomes mapped, and thereby to learn everything they possibly can about their own family. This episode offers a compelling and thought-provoking meditation on the importance of ancestry, the meaning of family and the role of both in creating identity.

 

Film Website: Click here

Digital Nation (2010)
Digital Nation (2010)
Digital Nation (2010)

Produced and Directed by: Rachel Dretzin

Written by: Douglas Rushkoff and Rachel Dretzin

Correspondents: Douglas Rushkoff and Rachel Dretzin

Edited by: R.A. Fedde

Co-Producer: Caitlin McNally

Associate Producer: Jeffrey Irvine

Directors of Photography: Sam Shinn and Stephen McCarthy

Camera: Samuel Z. Russell

Original Music: Joel Goodman

Digital Nation is a new, open source PBS project that explores what it means to be human in an entirely new world -- a digital world. It consists of a Web site as well as a 90-minute FRONTLINE documentary. Our production team posted rough cuts and raw footage on the web for a year leading up to the broadcast, gathering input, feedback and stories from users along the way. Within a single generation, digital media and the World Wide Web have transformed virtually every aspect of modern culture, from the way we learn and work to the ways in which we socialize and even conduct war. But is the technology moving faster than we can adapt to it? And is our 24/7 wired world causing us to lose as much as we've gained? In Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier, FRONTLINE presents an in-depth exploration of what it means to be human in a 21st-century digital world. Continuing a line of investigation she began with the 2008 FRONTLINE report Growing Up Online, award-winning producer Rachel Dretzin embarks on a journey to understand the implications of living in a world consumed by technology and the impact that this constant connectivity may have on future generations. "I'm amazed at the things my kids are able to do online, but I'm also a little bit panicked when I realize that no one seems to know where all this technology is taking us, or its long-term effects," says Dretzin. Joining Dretzin on this journey is commentator Douglas Rushkoff, a leading thinker and writer on the digital revolution -- and one-time evangelist for technology's positive impact. "In the early days of the Internet, it was easy for me to reassure people about what it would mean to bring digital technology into their lives," says Rushkoff, who has authored 10 books on media, technology and culture. "Now I want to know whether or not we are tinkering with something more essential than we realize."

 

Film Website: Click here

Looking for Lincoln (2009)
Looking for Lincoln (2009)
Looking for Lincoln (2009)

LOOKING FOR LINCOLN (2009)

Produced and Directed by: John Maggio and Muriel Soenens

Senior Producer: Barak Goodman

Edited by: R.A. Fedde

Associate Producers: Konstantinos Kambouroglou and Ben Robbins

Camera: Stephen McCarthy

Original Music: Joel Goodman

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. travels the country in search of the "real" Abraham Lincoln in this ground breaking two hour television special. The film shows how the Lincoln legend grew out of controversy, greed, love, clashing political perspectives, power struggles, and considerable disagreement over how our 16th president should be remembered. Gates' quest to piece together Lincoln's complex life takes him from Illinois to Gettysburg to Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles and beyond and face-to-face with people who live with Lincoln every day – relic hunters, re-enactors, and other surprising guests for whom the study of Lincoln is a passion. Public media provider WNET.ORG is playing a major role in the nationwide Lincoln Bicentennial celebration in 2009 with LOOKING FOR LINCOLN, an unprecedented two-hour broadcast, online, and outreach project that explores the life and legacy of the man widely considered one of our best and most enigmatic presidents. The documentary, presented and written by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.(African American Lives, Oprah's Roots), addresses many of the controversies surrounding Lincoln – race, equality, religion, politics, and depression – by carefully interpreting evidence from those who knew him and those who study him today. Among those weighing in: Pulitzer Prize winners Doris Kearns Goodwin and Tony Kushner; presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush; and Lincoln scholars including Harold Holzer, vice chair of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission; Harvard University's president Drew Faust and history professor David Hebert Donald; Yale University history professor David Blight; and Allen Guelzo of Gettysburg College. Former Ebony magazine editor Lerone Bennett challenges Lincoln's record on race; writer Joshua Shenk talks about Lincoln's depression; and New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik illuminates how Lincoln's words changed the course of history.

 

Film Website: Click here

 
The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (2009)
The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (2009)
The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (2009)

THE ASSASSINATION OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN (2009)

Produced, Directed and Written by: Barak Goodman

Written, Produced and Directed by: Barak Goodman

Narrated by: Chris Cooper

Edited by: Sari Gilman

Coordinating Producer: Kristina Cafarella

Associate Producer: Jamila Ephron

Camera: Stephen McCarthy

Original Music: Joel Goodman

As the nation celebrated the end of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Joy turned to panic as authorities launched the largest manhunt in American history. Unraveling what school children are taught year after year, The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln re-examines the two figures who define the extremes of character: Lincoln, who had the strength to transform suffering into infinite compassion, and Booth, who allowed hatred to curdle into destruction. On April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC. Over the next twelve days, as a fractured nation mourned, the largest manhunt ever attempted closed in on his assassin, the twenty-six-year-old renowned actor, John Wilkes Booth. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE presents The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, from Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Barak Goodman (The Lobotomist, Boy in the Bubble, Kinsey). The 90-minute film features actor Will Patton (Numb3rs, A Mighty Heart) as the voice of the assassin, and is narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Chris Cooper (Seabiscuit, Adaptation). Interviews with the nation's foremost Lincoln scholars recount a great American drama: two tumultuous months when the joy of peace was shattered by the heartache of Lincoln's death. "It was with the assassination that the myth of Abraham Lincoln was born. Lincoln was not universally liked or beloved during his presidency. Millions of people hated him. Once he was assassinated, everything changed," adds James L. Swanson, author of Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer and a young adult version of the story, Chasing Lincoln's Killer.

 

Film Website: Click here

 
Growing Up Online (2008)
Growing Up Online (2008)
Growing Up Online (2008)

Produced and Directed by: Rachel Dretzin and John Maggio

Written by: Rachel Dretzin

Edited by: R.A. Fedde

Associate Producer: Caitlin McNally

Camera: Tom Hurwitz

Original Music: Frank Ferucci

Additional editing: John Maggio

A generation with a radically different notion of privacy and personal space, today's adolescents are grappling with issues their parents never had to deal with: from cyber bullying to instant "Internet fame," to the specter of online sexual predators. FRONTLINE investigates the risks, realities, and misconceptions of teenage self-expression on the World Wide Web. Description: Jessica Hunter was a shy and awkward girl who struggled to make friends at school. Then, at age 14, she reinvented herself online as Autumn Edows, a goth artist and model. She posted provocative photos of herself on the Web and fast developed a cult following. "I just became this whole different person," Autumn tells FRONTLINE. "I didn't feel like myself, but I liked the fact that I didn't feel like myself. I felt like someone completely different. I felt like I was famous." News of Jessica's growing fame as Autumn Edows reached her parents only by accident. "I got a phone call, and the principal says one of the parents had seen disturbing photographs and material of Jessica," her father tells FRONTLINE. "I had no idea what she was doing on the Internet. That was a big surprise." In Growing Up Online, FRONTLINE takes viewers inside the very public private worlds that kids are creating online, raising important questions about how the Internet is transforming childhood. "The Internet and the digital world was something that belonged to adults, and now it's something that really is the province of teenagers, " says C.J. Pascoe, a postdoctoral scholar with the University of California, Berkeley's Digital Youth Research project.

 

Film Website: Click here

The Lobotomist (2008)
The Lobotomist (2008)
The Lobotomist (2008)

THE LOBOTOMIST (2008)

Produced and Directed by: Barak Goodman and John Maggio

Written by: Barak Goodman

Edited by: R.A. Fedde

Associate Producer: Kate Walker

Camera: Stephen McCarthy

Original Music: Edward Bilous

Additional editing: John Maggio

Now considered one the most infamous medical mistakes in American history, lobotomy began as an idealistic remedy for mental illness. The story of how one man's energy and conviction could lead medicine down a blind alley, The Lobotomist is as scarily relevant today as it was 50 years ago. Description: In the early decades of the 20th century, before the development of psychiatric medications, there were few effective treatments for mental illness. For most patients, the last stop in their anguished journey was an overcrowded state asylum. While Freudian psychoanalysis and "talk" therapy was gaining prominence as a potential cure, an ambitious young neurologist named Walter Freeman advocated a more radical approach -- brain surgery to reduce the severity of psychotic symptoms. The brilliant scion of one of America's most distinguished medical families, Freeman spent years searching for the biological abnormality that lay at the roots of madness. In 1936, he learned of a Portuguese neurologist who was using a thin steel instrument to operate on the frontal lobes of mentally ill patients. Freeman set about perfecting the procedure he later named lobotomy and began performing it in the United States. Despite mixed results, by the early 1940s, some fifty state asylums were performing lobotomies on their patients. The procedure was hailed as a miracle cure, Freeman himself a visionary who brought hope to the most desolate human beings. Yet only a decade later, the story would come full-circle again. Freeman would be decried as a moral monster, the lobotomy as one of the most barbaric mistakes ever perpetrated by mainstream medicine. Through interviews with medical historians, psychiatrists who worked with Freeman, and the desperate families who sought his help, this American Experience episode tells a gripping tale of medical intervention gone awry.

 

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Naked (2008)
Naked (2008)
Naked (2008)

Produced and Directed by: Rachel Dretzin

Edited by: R.A. Fedde

Associate Producer: Caitlin McNally

In this short film for The New York Times website, baby boomers in New York City share how their feelings about intimacy have changed as they grow older.

A Hidden Life (2006)
A Hidden Life (2006)
A Hidden Life (2006)

Produced by: Rachel Dretzin and Muriel Soenens

Directed by: Rachel Dretzin and Barak Goodman

Written by: Barak Goodman

Edited by: George O'Donnell and R.A. Fedde

Associate Producer: Caitlin McNally

Camera: Jon Shenk

Original Music: Gary Lionelli

In A Hidden Life, Ark Media and FRONTLINE explore how a front-page scandal exposed some of the most deeply buried issues surrounding homosexuality in America. With unfettered access to all the key players, the one-hour documentary sheds new light on questions of sexual identity, journalistic ethics, and the experience of homosexuals living far from the front lines of America's culture wars. In May 2005, the city of Spokane, Washington, awoke to startling headlines. Jim West, Spokane's popular, socially conservative Republican mayor, had been exposed as a homosexual by the city's newspaper, The Spokesman-Review. The paper told a sordid story of a man leading two lives: the public life of a conservative politician and a private life spent trawling for young men on the Internet. The scandal was easy fodder for late night comedians and combatants in the national culture wars. But behind the screaming headlines lay a more complex story. Had the newspaper overstepped journalistic boundaries when it invented a teenage boy to meet the mayor in an online chatroom? Were key details of the story exaggerated, or even distorted? Had the Spokesman-Review exposed a predator or 'outed' a private man? In A Hidden Life, Ark Media and FRONTLINE explore how a front-page scandal exposed some of the most deeply buried issues surrounding homosexuality in America. With unfettered access to all the key players, the one-hour documentary sheds new light on questions of sexual identity, journalistic ethics, and the experience of homosexuals living far from the front lines of America's culture wars.

 

Film Website: Click here

Einstein’s Letter (2006)
Einstein’s Letter (2006)
Einstein’s Letter (2006)

Produced and Directed by: John Maggio and Barak Goodman

Written by: John Maggio

Edited by: Nancy Kennedy

Camera: Stephen McCarthy

Original Music: Gary Lionelli

Part of the groundbreaking Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed America series, "Einstein's Letter" writes a new page in the history of the Atomic Bomb. 10 Days that Saved America: Einstein's Letter documents the remarkable evolution of the atom bomb from its perceived idea, to the physics behind a self-sustained nuclear chain reaction to its development in the Manhattan project. The development of the bomb, by Leo Szilard, Enrico Fermi and indirectly Albert Einstein, is arguably the most decisive scientific development of the 20th century and maybe single most important scientific undertaking the United States has ever accomplished. The aggressive project, developed by foreigners on American soil, was enacted under supreme secrecy, but The History Channel brings a new and innovative chronological analysis to light. Utilizing reenactments, primary sources, expert historians, Einstein's actual letters, recordings from FDR, and authentic video clips from the earlier half of the 20th century, the program thoroughly explains Einstein and Szilard's dilemma as well as the bureaucratic hurdles that the two faced in their quest to defend America and free the world from widespread fear of the Nazi regime.

The Boy in the Bubble (2005)
The Boy in the Bubble (2005)
The Boy in the Bubble (2005)

Produced and Directed by: Barak Goodman and John Maggio

Written by: Barak Goodman

Edited by: George O'Donnell

Associate Producer: Kate Walker

Camera: Stephen McCarthy

Original Music: Gary Lionelli

Narrated by: Campbell Scott

In his own time, many regarded David's 12-year odyssey inside his bubble as a triumph of technology. To others, it was a bizarre experiment that exemplified medical hubris. The Boy in the Bubble is a story of medical perseverance and personal tragedy. When David Vetter died at the age of 12, he was already world famous: the boy in the plastic bubble. Mythologized as the plucky, handsome child who had defied the odds, his life story is in fact even more dramatic. It is a tragic tale that pits ambitious doctors against a bewildered, frightened young couple; it is a story of unendingly committed caregivers and resourceful scientists on the cutting edge of medical research. This American Experience raises some of the most difficult ethical questions of our age. Did doctors, in a rush to save a child, condemn the boy to a life not worth living? Did they, in the end, effectively decide how to kill him?

 

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Precinct Hollywood (2005)
Precinct Hollywood (2005)
Precinct Hollywood (2005)

Produced and Directed by: Muriel Soenens and Rachel Dretzin

Written by: Rachel Dretzin

Edited by: Pamela Scott Arnold

Original Music: Gary Lionelli

Since the earliest days of movies, Hollywood has been obsessed by cops and robbers. In this fast-paced and exciting documentary, Ark Media covers more than three decades of cop movies from Serpico to Narc. Talking intimately with filmmakers such as William Friedkin, Martin Bregman, Antoine Fuqua, James Mangold, Joe Carnahan and actors such as Ray Liotta and Roy Scheider, Precinct Hollywood explores the evolution of the Hollywood "cop film" from the gritty realism of the 70's to the romanticized versions of the men in blue and shows how the genre has closely tracked the cultural and political milieus in which they were made.

Kinsey (2005)
Kinsey (2005)
Kinsey (2005)

Produced and Directed by: Barak Goodman and John Maggio

Written by: Barak Goodman

Edited by: George O'Donnell

Associate Producer: Caroline Harting

Camera: Stephen McCarthy

Narrated by: Campbell Scott

Original Music: Gary Lionelli

Additional editing: John Maggio

Alfred Kinsey was a little-known biologist at Indiana University when, in the 1940s, he began compiling exhaustive data from tens of thousands of interviews about the sexual practices of men and women. The results of that research were the explosive, best-selling Kinsey Reports. Alfred Kinsey was a little-known biologist at Indiana University when, in the 1940s, he began compiling exhaustive data from tens of thousands of interviews about the sexual practices of men and women. The results of that research were the explosive, best-selling Kinsey Reports. Implicit in the revolutionary studies was a plea for greater tolerance. "Such terms as abnormal, unnatural, oversexed, and undersexed," wrote Harper's Magazine, "have little validity in the light of Professor Kinsey's revelations." The man behind the inflammatory reports seemed at first glance an unlikely "revolutionary." Publicly, he was an erudite, tweedy academic, but in private Kinsey was far more complex. As his interest in sex research deepened so did his wide-ranging sexual experimentation. Though his work was groundbreaking and up-ended established ideas about sexual practices in America, his own sexual orientation and personal beliefs almost certainly shaped and biased his findings. Through interviews with his research assistants, his children, people who took his sex questionnaire, his biographers, and intellectual historians, this probing documentary assesses Kinsey's remarkable achievements, while examining how his personal life shaped his career.

 

Film Website: Click here

The Fight (2004)
The Fight (2004)
The Fight (2004)

Produced, Directed and Written by: Barak Goodman

Co-produced by: John Maggio

Narrated by: Courtney B. Vance

Edited by: Lewis Erskine

Associate Producer: Justin Vogt

Original Music: Edward Bilous

The rematch between the African American heavyweight Joe Louis and his German opponent Max Schmeling was riveting. But for most spectators the fight was much more than a boxing match; it was an historic event freighted with symbolic significance, both a harbinger of the civil rights movement and a prelude to World War II. On June 22, 1938, 70,000 fans crammed into Yankee Stadium to watch what some observers have since called "the most important sporting event in history." Millions more tuned in to hear a blow-by-blow description on the radio. The rematch between the African American heavyweight Joe Louis and his German opponent Max Schmeling was riveting -- "one hundred and twenty-four seconds of murder," as one newspaper put it. But for most spectators the fight was much more than a boxing match; it was an historic event freighted with symbolic significance, both a harbinger of the civil rights movement and a prelude to World War II. In this first feature-length documentary about the momentous encounter, American Experience captures the anticipation the bout generated, the swirl of events leading up to it, the impact Louis's victory had on black America and its significance for Jews on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

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The Persuaders (2004)
The Persuaders (2004)
The Persuaders (2004)

Produced and Directed by: Barak Goodman and Rachel Dretzin

Produced by: Muriel Soenens

Written by: Barak Goodman and Douglas Rushkoff

Correspondent: Douglas Rushkoff

Edited by: Pamela Scott Arnold

Associate Producer: Justin Vogt

Camera: Stephen McCarthy

Original Music: Gary Lionelli

In The Persuaders, FRONTLINE explores how the cultures of marketing and advertising have come to influence not only what Americans buy, but also how they view themselves and the world around them. The 90-minute documentary draws on a range of experts and observers of the advertising/marketing world, to examine how, in the words of one on-camera commentator, "the principal of democracy yields to the practice of demography," as highly customized messages are delivered to a smaller segment of the market. Americans are swimming in a sea of messages. Each year, legions of ad people, copywriters, market researchers, pollsters, consultants, and even linguists-most of whom work for one of six giant companies-spend billions of dollars and millions of man-hours trying to determine how to persuade consumers what to buy, whom to trust, and what to think. Increasingly, these techniques are migrating to the high-stakes arena of politics, shaping policy and influencing how Americans choose their leaders.

 

Film Website: Click here

Failure to Protect (2003)
Failure to Protect (2003)
Failure to Protect (2003)

Produced and Directed by: Barak Goodman and Rachel Dretzin

Written by: Barak Goodman

Edited by: Pamela Scott Arnold

Field Producer: Muriel Soenens

Associate Producers: Rachel Dawson and Justin Vogt

Camera: Jim Helling

Original Music: Ed Bilous

When should a parent lose the right to raise a child? FRONTLINE goes behind the scenes of one state's child welfare system in a two-part series to probe one of the most drastic and unchecked governmental powers. What is the proper balance between saving a child and destroying a family? In a two-part series, "Failure to Protect," FRONTLINE probes the complexities and difficulties in trying to answer that question through a remarkable behind-the-scenes look at Maine's child protective services. Part One, "The Taking of Logan Marr," tells the tragic story of a young girl who was killed while in state custody. On Jan. 31, 2001, 5-year-old Logan Marr was found dead in her foster mother's home in Chelsea, Maine. The foster mother, Sally Schofield, was a highly respected former caseworker for Maine's Department of Human Services (DHS). She would later be convicted of manslaughter after police determined that Logan had died from asphyxiation in Sally's basement, where she had been bound with duct tape and strapped into a high chair. The death of Logan Marr prompted public outrage. Why did the state remove Logan from her mother, Christy Marr, when there was no evidence of physical or sexual abuse? Did the DHS move too quickly to terminate Christy's parental rights? And did it fail to heed warning signs that Logan was in danger? Through extensive interviews with the parties involved -- including an exclusive interview with Sally Schofield -- the one-hour documentary investigates the events that led to Logan's death. It also tells the story of the two women locked in a battle over Logan: Christy, who fought to prove to DHS that she should have her daughter back, and Sally, who remained determined to adopt Logan, even as she struggled to control the troubled child. Through their stories, "The Taking of Logan Marr" casts light on a system that is almost always cloaked in secrecy: state child protective services. "The termination of a parent's rights to their child is one of the most drastic decisions the state is called upon to make -- yet it does so with little or no public scrutiny," says Barak Goodman, who co-produced the documentary with his wife, Rachel Dretzin, and Muriel Soenens. "The system is almost always shrouded by confidentiality agreements and privacy laws." While senior DHS officials in Maine declined to be interviewed about the Logan Marr case, they did make an unprecedented offer -- they would allow FRONTLINE's producers to film their normally confidential child protective system from the inside for more than four months. The result is Part Two of the "Failure to Protect" series: a one-hour documentary called "The Caseworker Files." "The Caseworker Files" follows a small set of caseworkers as they interact with families and each other and have to confront some excruciating dilemmas and choices: Who decides when a child should be removed from her parents? When should parents lose the right to raise their own child? And how much damage might we do to children in the name of helping them? "We found a system where caseworkers, many of whom are relatively inexperienced, struggle under heavy caseloads as an ever-increasing number of children are placed in foster care," says Goodman. "We also found angry and resentful parents who feel that their children are being taken away from them before they've been given a fair chance to improve things." "The Caseworker Files" reveals a child welfare system that in recent years has undergone a major philosophical shift. Whereas once the emphasis was placed on trying to eventually reunite children with their biological parents -- a policy that often left children languishing in foster care for years -- state and federal guidelines now favor fast-tracking adoption of children in foster care, a move that requires the state to terminate the biological parents' rights.

 

Film Website: Click here

Rollover: The Hidden History of the SUV (2002)
Rollover: The Hidden History of the SUV (2002)
Rollover: The Hidden History of the SUV (2002)

Produced and Directed by: Barak Goodman and Marc Shaffer

Written by: Barak Goodman and Marc Shaffer

Edited by: Andrew Gersh

Associate Producer: Jason Cohn

Camera: Jim Helling

Original Music: Edward Bilous

In Rollover: The Hidden History of the SUV, FRONTLINE examines whether America's most popular vehicle may also be one of its most dangerous, and investigates why automakers and government regulators failed to do more to protect and inform American consumers. One in every four new vehicles sold in America today is an SUV. Indeed, SUVs are the most popular vehicles on the road -- and the most profitable. Some manufacturers make up to $15,000 in profits on every SUV that rolls off the assembly line. The sport utility vehicle is one of Detroit's greatest success stories, credited with saving the U.S. auto industry. But the SUV has a serious safety problem: its tendency to roll over. There will be an estimated 70,000 SUV rollovers in 2002, in which some 2000 people will die. The dangers of SUVs were spotlighted in the fall of 2000, when the sensational Ford-Firestone scandal prompted Congress to launch a series of hearings focusing on deaths and injuries related to faulty Firestone tires mounted on Ford Explorers. But, during the same 10-year period in which Ford-Firestone rollover crashes caused some 300 deaths, more than 12,000 people -- 40 times as many -- died in SUV rollovers unrelated to tire failure. In "Rollover: The Hidden History of the SUV," FRONTLINE examines whether America's most popular vehicle may also be one of its most dangerous, and investigates why automakers and government regulators failed to do more to protect and inform American consumers.

 

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Scottsboro: An American Tragedy (2001)
Scottsboro: An American Tragedy (2001)
Scottsboro: An American Tragedy (2001)

Produced, Directed and Written by: Barak Goodman

Produced and Co-Directed by: Daniel Anker

Edited by: Jean Tsien

Associate Producer: Trina Quagliaroli

Camera: Buddy Squires

Original Music: Edward Bilous

In 1931, two white women stepped from a box car in Paint Rock, Alabama to make a shocking accusation: they had been raped by nine black teenagers on the train. So began one of the most significant legal fights of the twentieth century. In March 1931, a freight train crowded with homeless and jobless hoboes left Chattanooga, Tennessee, bound for points west. A short time after it crossed into Alabama, a fight erupted between two groups of hoboes-one black and one white. The train was stopped by an armed posse in the tiny town of Paint Rock, Alabama. Before anyone knew what had happened, two white women stepped from the shadows of a boxcar to make a shocking accusation: they had been raped by nine black teenagers aboard the train. So began one of the most significant legal fights of the twentieth century. Before it was over, the Scottsboro affair-so-named for the little Alabama town where the nine were put on trial for their lives-would divide Americans along racial, political, and geographic lines. It would draw North and South into their sharpest conflict since the Civil War, yield two momentous Supreme Court decisions, and give birth to the Civil Rights Movement. But for all its historical significance, the Scottsboro story is at its core a riveting drama about the struggles of nine innocent young men for their lives-and a cautionary tale about using human beings as fodder for political causes. Scottsboro: An American Tragedy tells this extraordinary lost story for the first time on film-from the points of view of both North and South. Viewers travel from the jails of Alabama to the salons of New York and meet a fascinating gallery of characters: the lead defendant-a defiant black man who refuses to lay down before the power of Alabama; the defense lawyer-who comes to see in the case echoes of the discrimination he has felt himself; the accuser-a poor white woman who finds in her lie a route to respectability; and the Southern judge-who risks the scorn of his beloved state to deliver justice. The filmmakers spent five years making Scottsboro: An American Tragedy-weaving together interviews of the last surviving witnesses to the trials, and never-before-seen archival footage and photos from as far away as Russia, with letters, diaries, newspaper editorials, and trial transcripts. The voices of Andre Braugher, Frances McDormand, Stanley Tucci, and Harris Yulin and others, help bring the film to life.

 

Film Website: Click here

Merchants of Cool (2001)
Merchants of Cool (2001)
Merchants of Cool (2001)

Produced and Directed by: Barak Goodman and Rachel Dretzin

Written by: Barak Goodman

Correspondent and Consulting Producer: Douglas Rushkoff

Edited by: Ann Collins

Associate Producer: Lisel Banker

Camera: Buddy Squires

Original Music: Paul Mertens and Susan Voelz

FRONTLINE correspondent Douglas Rushkoff examines the tactics, techniques, and cultural ramifications of these marketing moguls in The Merchants of Cool. The program talks with top marketers, media executives and cultural/media critics, and explores the symbiotic relationship between the media and today's teens, as each looks to the other for their identity. They spend their days sifting through reams of market research data. They conduct endless surveys and focus groups. They comb the streets, the schools, and the malls, hot on the trail of the "next big thing" that will snare the attention of their prey--a market segment worth an estimated $150 billion a year. They are the merchants of cool: creators and sellers of popular culture who have made teenagers the hottest consumer demographic in America. But are they simply reflecting teen desires or have they begun to manufacture those desires in a bid to secure this lucrative market? And have they gone too far in their attempts to reach the hearts--and wallets--of America's youth? FRONTLINE correspondent Douglas Rushkoff examines the tactics, techniques, and cultural ramifications of these marketing moguls in "The Merchants of Cool." The program talks with top marketers, media executives and cultural/media critics, and explores the symbiotic relationship between the media and today's teens, as each looks to the other for their identity.

 

Film Website: Click here

The Lost Children of Rockdale County (1999)
The Lost Children of Rockdale County (1999)
The Lost Children of Rockdale County (1999)

Produced and Directed by: Rachel Dretzin and Barak Goodman

Written by: Rachel Dretzin and Barak Goodman

Associate Producer: Stephanie Ault

Edited by: Steve Audette, Juliet Weber, and Amanda Zinoman

Narrated by: Will Lyman

Original Music: Paul Mertens and Susan Voelz

The Lost Children of Rockdale County explores how a 1996 syphilis outbreak in a well-off Atlanta suburb affected over 200 teenagers and revealed their lives unknown to parents: group sex, binge drinking, drugs and violence. Some were as young as twelve and thirteen years old. The Lost Children of Rockdale County explores how a 1996 syphilis outbreak in a well-off Atlanta suburb affected over 200 teenagers and revealed their lives unknown to parents: group sex, binge drinking, drugs and violence. Some were as young as twelve and thirteen years old. Although the program begins with an enquiry into how and why the syphilis outbreak happened, it becomes in the end a wider, deeper examination of the world of teenagers and their relationships with each other and with their parents. The report interweaves frank conversations with the parents of teens, as well as interviews with community leaders and educators and with the medical professionals who investigated the syphilis outbreak. The program sketches a portrait of Rockdale County and its only town, Conyers. In interviews with a cross-section of Rockdale's teenagers, the teens are brutally honest in talking about their world. They describe sexual promiscuity, the new rules of dating and sex, their yearning to fit in and have friends, and their desire for attention--even discipline--from parents who confess they don't know how to--or are just too busy or too tired, to discipline, monitor or talk to their children about the important issues. The Lost Children of Rockdale County ends with mention of the shooting at Rockdale's Heritage High in the spring of 1999 which captured national headlines. The Heritage shooting came a month after the Columbine High shootings in suburban Denver. The producers of this FRONTLINE report see a link between the Heritage High shooting and the syphilis outbreak three years earlier: they both are a metaphor for a deeper malady afflicting so many adolescents today, not just in Rockdale County.

 

Film Website: Click here

The High Price of Health (1998)
The High Price of Health (1998)
The High Price of Health (1998)

Produced, Directed, and Written by: Rachel Dretzin

This documentary explores the changing world of American medicine and the controversial money and medical issues surrounding the rise of HMOs. The new market approach to health care has halted skyrocketing health costs - but what's been the impact on doctors, nurses and patients? FRONTLINE goes inside one of the biggest and most aggressive HMOs, Foundation Health Systems, to see the philosophy of for-profit managed care at work. CEO Malik Hasan is an outspoken champion of managed care's principles and argues that managers with their eyes on the bottom line are improving patient care. At two hospitals profiled in this report, however, there are strong critics of the new system. Doctors at the medical center of the University of California, San Diego once were comfortably supported by virtually open-ended insurance reimbursement. Now they have to monitor expenses. One doctor has had to turn to cosmetic surgery to compensate for lower-paying fees he receives for surgery performed on children with birth defects. At Beverly Hospital near Boston, the CEO has redesigned hospital systems to cut costs and believes it hasn't harmed quality of care. His nurses disagree, saying they are overburdened and the use of unlicensed personnel is jeopardizing patient care. Despite the many critics of managed care, this report points out that the rise of the HMOs must be viewed in perspective. Before their emergence, health costs were out of control; doctors and hospitals were accustomed to having carte blanche in patient treatment. Has the pendulum swung too far? Experts say the outlook for managed care is linked to a larger issue: what is the appropriate level of medical spending for the U.S.? Managed care's future will likely be shaped by the outcome of that debate.

 

Film Website: Click here

Richard J. Daley: The Last Boss
Richard J. Daley: The Last Boss
Richard J. Daley: The Last Boss

Produced and Directed by: Barak Goodman

Written by: Barak Goodman and Geoffrey Ward

The story of the last great urban political machine and the titanic figure at its helm: Richard J. Daley. Chronicles Daley's rise from his Irish immigrant roots to the helm of the Chicago political machine and his epic battles with Martin Luther King and the protestors at the Democratic National Convention in 1968. : In 1902, Richard J. Daley was born on a street he would never leave and christened in the small church in which he would one day be buried. For an Irish Catholic boy like Daley, politics was one of the few tickets to power. Industrious and ambitious, he began a slow and methodical climb up the political ladder from ward organizer to state representative, where he earned a reputation for integrity and for his mastery of complex legislation. By 1953, he had seized control of the Cook County Democratic machine and from there it was a short step to the job he had so long coveted. As mayor, Richard Daley built a political machine that would never again be duplicated. He delivered Illinois for John F. Kennedy in the 1960 Presidential election, and although charges of fraud would haunt him for years, the victory thrust him into the national arena. His downfall came when he refused to integrate the city and refused to intervene with the police in the 1968 Democratic Convention.

Hilary’s Class (1994)
Hilary’s Class (1994)
Hilary’s Class (1994)

Produced, Written and Directed by: Rachel Dretzin and Jane West

In 1969, Hillary Rodham Clinton and four hundred other smart, privileged, young women graduated from Wellesley College into a world that for the first time was opening its doors to women. But what about her classmates who left college believing they could do anything? In 1969, Hillary Rodham Clinton and four hundred other smart, privileged, young women graduated from Wellesley College into a world that for the first time was opening its doors to women.

Who We Are

Barak Goodman
Barak Goodman
Executive Producer, Producer/Director, Writer
Barak Goodman is co-founder of Ark Media and a principal producer, director, and writer with the company. His films for Ark Media have been nominated for an Academy Award and won multiple Emmys and Writers Guild Awards, the DuPont-Columbia, and Peabody Awards, the RFK Journalism Prize, and twice been official selections at the Sundance Film Festival. Currently, he is the series director and producer of the six-part PBS series The Story of Cancer: The Emperor of all Maladies, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Siddhartha Mukherjee, airing in the Spring of 2015. Other recent projects Barak has directed, produced, and written include Makers, the first complete history of the modern women's movement; Clinton, a four-hour biography of Bill Clinton for American Experience; and My Lai, the story of America's most notorious war crime, also for American Experience.
Rachel Dretzin
Rachel Dretzin
Executive Producer, Producer/Director, Writer
Rachel Dretzin is co-founder of Ark Media and a principal producer, director, and writer with the company. She was senior producer on the six-part PBS Series Many Rivers to Cross, a history of African Americans hosted by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. She previously senior produced the first season of Finding Your Roots, also hosted by Dr. Gates, which premiered in the spring of 2012. Among the many films she has produced and directed for PBS' FRONTLINE are: Football High, Digital Nation, Growing Up Online, Failure to Protect, The Persuaders, Merchants of Cool, The Lost Children of Rockdale County, and Hillary's Class. Rachel's films have won the Peabody Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Grand Prize for Journalism, the Columbia DuPont Award, and been nominated for the Emmy Award. She has also produced for WNET New York, MSNBC's Edgewise, and NPR's "All Things Considered," as well as the NY Times Magazine on the Web.
John Maggio
John Maggio
Executive Producer, Producer/Director, Writer
Filmmaker John Maggio's work appears regularly on both of PBS's premier series: FRONTLINE and American Experience, including KinseyBilly the KidCollege Inc. and The Private Life of Bradley Manning. Maggio's films have been honored with the National Emmy Award, Writers Guild Award, an Independent Spirit Award nomination, as well as multiple News and Documentary Emmy Award nominations. His work has premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has screened at festivals around the world. He recently completed the four-part PBS series The Italian Americans to air in 2015. He is currently writing and directing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for American Experience coming in February 2014 and Senior Producing the second season of Finding your Roots with host Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Stef Gordon
Stef Gordon
Business Manager / Line Producer
Stef Gordon has handled the finances and other business miscellany as Ark Media Business Manager since 2008 and has worked on every production since. Prior to joining Ark, Stef handled the production accounting for dozens of films for the PBS series Frontline. Also serving as Line Producer, she is trusted with managing the cash flow, budgets, and financial reporting for all Ark productions as well as helping to manage a solid organization that has supported Ark's incredible growth. Despite the never ending ribbing she receives about receipts, which certain colleagues always seem to find hilarious, Stef mostly loves her job and takes great pride in her work. She lives in the Lower East Side with Steve the boyfriend and Georgia the cat.
Stephen Altobello
Stephen Altobello
Post Production Supervisor
Stephen Altobello has been working in NYC film and TV for almost 20 years, beginning as a sound editor in the glory years of independent cinema (such as The CruiseJudy Berlin and Wet Hot American Summer). At the turn of the century, he produced documentaries, most visibly the Making of… content for the DVDs of nine Martin Scorsese films. Then it was back to Post Production, working for Ark (Finding Your Roots), doing reality TV (Making News), and even animal shows (Too Cute). His favorite production is the one he created with his wife, Debbie. His name is Harry, and the three of them live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Chris Durrance
Chris Durrance
Producer/Director, Writer
Chris Durrance is a documentary filmmaker, who has worked on more than a dozen films for PBS FRONTLINE, including College Inc. about for-profit education, The Madoff Affair and Return of the Taliban. He has worked all over the world, including Europe, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and China and is the winner of a Peabody, two Emmys, a duPont-Columbia silver baton and an Overseas Press Club award. He worked with Barak Goodman on Clinton, the four-hour presidential biography for PBS American Experience, which aired in February 2012. More recently, Chris wrote the treatment for MAKERS: The Women who Make America and is currently a Producer/Director for The Story of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. Chris lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children.
Sabin Streeter
Sabin Streeter
Producer/Director
Sabin Streeter is an independent writer and filmmaker, specializing in documentary television. His recent projects include the first two episodes of Many Rivers to Cross (PBS 2013), the concluding episode of America Revealed (PBS, 2012), Fabric of the Cosmos: Space (PBS, 2012), Gloria: In Her Own Words (HBO, 2011), and the six-hour NOVA special This Emotional Life (PBS, 2010). Streeter is also the editor of GIG (Random House), an oral history of the contemporary workplace and a contributing editor of US: Americans Talk About Love (Faber & Faber), an oral history of romance. He has contributed to The New Yorker, Harpers, Open City, and other publications. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.
Jamila Wignot
Jamila Wignot
Producer/Director
Jamila Wignot is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. Her body of work includes, Town Hall, a feature-length co-production with ITVS, about the Tea Party movement (Seattle International Film Festival '13); and for the PBS history series, American Experience, the Peabody Award-winningTriangle Fire; and the Emmy-nominated Walt Whitman. Wignot also produced The Rehnquist Revolution, the fourth episode of WNET's series The Supreme Court, which won a 2007 Cine Golden Eagle Award. She is currently directing two-hours of the PBS history series, Many Rivers to Cross, hosted by Henry Louis Gates and slated for national broadcast in October 2013. In the fall, she will begin directing one hour of the six-part women's series, Makers.
Josh Gleason
Josh Gleason
Co-Producer

Josh Gleason entered the documentary world after a number of years producing stories for various NPR programs, including This American LifeAll Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Since arriving at Ark he's been an Associate Producer on Finding Your Roots, and a Co-Producer on The Italian Americans and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
Jamila Ephron
Jamila Ephron
Producer
Jamila Ephron has been an essential part of Ark Media since 2007. Her work at Ark includes the Emmy and Peabody award winning My Lai,The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln and Clinton, each for the American Experience series on PBS. She is currently developing and producing the film adaptation of Andrew Solomon's best-selling book Far from the Tree. Most recently, Jamila co-produced the three-hour documentary Makers: Women who Make America for WETA and the upcoming The Story of Cancer, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies. Prior to joining Ark, Jamila worked on the American Experience and FRONTLINE co-production The Mormons. Jamila loves pretty much everything about her work, but never dreamed a life in film would involve so many spreadsheets. A Seattle native and Sarah Lawrence College graduate, Jamila lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
Hazel Gurland-Pooler
Hazel Gurland-Pooler
Co-Producer
Hazel Gurland-Pooler is currently co-producing two hours of the upcoming six-hour series for PBS, The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross. Hazel joined Ark Media in 2011 for Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. She has contributed to documentary television and film production for over ten years, working on American Experience programs Robert E. LeeEarth Days, and Oswald's Ghost, two of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, enjoyed a national theatrical release, and one of which was nominated for an Emmy Award. Hazel was the Coordinating Producer on the international PBS documentary Brazil In Black & White, which was nominated for IDA Award. She was an Associate Producer for News Wars for Frontline and Hollywood Vietnam for AMC, which won a Silver Angel Award. Hazel has worked on documentaries for ABC NEWS, The History Channel, A&E, the National Geographic Channel, the Travel Channel, and the Sundance Channel. She began her career at HBO. Hazel received her Masters from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 2001.
Emily Chapman
Emily Chapman
Associate Producer
Emily Chapman has been a part of Ark Media's team for several films, working on ClintonFinding Your Roots, and now The Story of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. Her additional work for PBS includes Panama Canal for American Experience, ConstitutionUSA andSuperheroes. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Emily studied film at the University of San Francisco and Universidad Complutense in Madrid. She was a producer and contributing filmmaker on A Trip Down Market Street, a film celebration held by the Exploratorium and featured at the SFMOMA, and producer/director of Above Kingston, filmed in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. She lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Hannah Olson
Hannah Olson
Associate Producer
A Minnesota native, Hannah Olson has been at Ark since 2011. She has worked on The Italian AmericansFinding Your Roots with Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., and is currently an Associate Producer on the second season of Finding Your Roots. In 2012 Hannah worked on a short film in Haiti on sustainable waste water treatment. She has produced pieces for radio on farming in Mexico, Arab-American literature after 9/11, and the police force in Rio de Janeiro. Prior to joining Ark, Hannah lived in Vietnam, where she did anthropological research on the nation's HIV/AIDS epidemic. Hannah graduated from Brown University, where she studied Spanish and Portuguese Literature and Economic Development.
Bonnie Foster
Bonnie Foster
Production Assistant

Bonnie joined Ark Media to work on Makers: Women Who Make America after six years as a theatrical writer/director/puppeteer. Documentary film has challenged her to think about storytelling in refreshing new ways, especially working on the very real subject of The Story of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. She is honored to have the opportunity to work on this groundbreaking project. Bonnie is a native of the Pacific Northwest, an alumna of Sarah Lawrence College, and continues to write and direct narrative film.

 
Brittany Clemons
Brittany Clemons
Researcher
Brittany Clemons joined Ark Media in 2012 for Many Rivers to Cross, a six-hour series hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Brittany previously worked in Washington, D.C. as an Associate Producer on the PBS documentary series 180 Days: A Year inside an American High School. After Brittany graduated from Howard University in 2010, she worked as a Public Media Corps Fellow for the National Black Programming Consortium. During her fellowship, she assisted with the implementation of various digital engagement models and developed a Digital Media Arts program offering digital production and literacy training at two under-performing District of Columbia high schools. She looks forward to her next journey with Ark Media on the second season of Finding Your Roots.
Brittany Kaplan
Brittany Kaplan
Assistant Editor
Brittany Kaplan started at Ark Media in 2009 and worked on FRONTLINE: Digital Nation, after graduating from Vassar College. She was an Assistant Editor on Faces of America, Finding Your Roots, and Many Rivers to Cross. Before Ark, Brittany PA'd on the Academy Award winning documentary, Inside Job. Between projects at Ark, she has worked as a Promo Editor for Showtime and TruTV, an Assistant Editor on the Emmy nominated documentary, The Longoria Affair, as well as commercials, music videos, documentary features, and TV documentaries. She is thrilled to be part of the current Ark team working on The Story of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. For fun, Brittany casually plays the violin, and competitively plays ultimate frisbee on a nationally-ranked NYC women's club team. She is often seen in the office icing her latest injury.
Ben Meadors
Ben Meadors
IT Manager
Ben has been with Ark Media as the IT Manager since July 2013. He is a transplant from the Midwest and is very happy to be living in Brooklyn. Ben also works as a freelance photographer throughout the country specializing in press and publicity imagery for the theater and performing arts industries. His current project is The New Face of Vinyl: Youth's Digital Devolution, in collaboration with writer Owen McCafferty exploring the resurgence of vinyl records in youth culture. A book is scheduled to be published in Fall 2013. Ben can also be seen playing bass around the city with a variety of ensembles. http://www.benmeadors.com

Contact

  • For information on our projects, job opportunities or internships, please send an email to: info@ark-media.net