Far From The Tree

Ark Media is producing a feature length documentary adaptation of Andrew Solomon's book, 'Far From the Tree." 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.

Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis

A decade after the 2008 financial crisis brought the global financial system to the edge of collapse, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emanuel, Josh Bolten, Jamie Dimon, and others speak as they never have before about the frantic, bipartisan effort to keep America out of another great depression. Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis offers a first-of-its-kind account of the crisis. With exclusive interviews and testimony from the major players in politics and economics, the special provides the definitive look inside the most successful—and most loathed—taxpayer-funded bailout in history. Directed by, John Maggio and co-produced by Ark-Media.

Korea: The Never-Ending War

"Korea: The Never-Ending War" is a two-hour PBS special, produced in cooperation with the BBC and ARTE, that traces the history of the Korean War and its continuing impact on our world.  

As negotiations over the fate of the Korean Peninsula continue to dominate headlines worldwide, this film will examine the legacy of an often-forgotten conflict that has shaped the world we live in today--the place where the Cold War first turned hot and where a fragile peace led to a nuclear standoff that continues to the present day. 

"Korea" aired nationally and worldwide in the Spring of 2019. 

Going To War

GOING TO WAR is a rumination on combat – the terror, exhilaration, and camaraderie. Featuring a diverse, intergenerational cast of veterans, led by war correspondent/filmmaker Sebastian Junger and best-selling author/Vietnam vet Karl Marlantes, Going to War is an examination of how we fight – and how warriors resume their lives, once war is over. With dazzling archival that illustrates each story, the film revisits the brutal realities of war as it is truly fought – and experienced. 

GOING TO WAR is a one-hour special for Twin Cities PBS, produced and directed by Michael Epstein, airing nationally on May 28, 2018. 

NOVA: Are We Alone

Are We Alone seeks to answer the age-old question that scientists and philosophers have wondered for millennia:

Are we humans the only intelligent beings in this immense universe?

Guided by expert-hosts, this film explores how the most brilliant minds on the planet are looking for life – and intelligence – elsewhere in the universe. Are We Alone? features scientists whose provocative research challenges our notions of intelligent life beyond Earth, in galaxies far, far away.

The film also examines how breakthrough scientific technologies are providing unprecedented insights to this search. In addition to reviewing the remarkable discoveries of exoplanets by the Kepler Space Telescope mission, the film explores the promise of future telescope missions such as the James Webb and Giant Magellan telescopes. It ponders the possibility of finding microbial life on one of Jupiter’s icy moons, Europa. Driven by cutting-edge technology and research, the search for life in our universe is the paramount example of human civilization's urge to explore new frontiers.

Hope & Fury: MLK, The Movement and the Media

A Two-Hour Documentary Special for MSNBC

Produced, Written & Directed by Phil Bertelsen and Rachel Dretzin

Marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King in Memphis, HOPE & FURY: MLK, THE MOVEMENT AND THE MEDIA is a gripping account of American history told like never before by an all-star lineup of civil rights leaders, pioneering African-American reporters who chronicled the movement, journalists from across generations, as well as present-day activists who have adopted the tactics of their forbearers to shine a light on inequality in the modern era. The film offers a fresh look at the historic civil rights movement and combines first-hand personal recollections with rare, archival footage and photographs – some of which will be broadcast on network television for the first time.

Into The Amazon

John Maggio’s film Into the Amazon chronicles former president Theodore Roosevelt's epic 1914 journey deep into the unforgiving Brazilian jungle. In a flotilla of makeshift canoes, Roosevelt and his team were unprepared for the perilous conditions that greeted them on the treacherous muddy river that snaked through a thousand miles of dense Amazonian rainforest. Crippled by disease, unrelenting downpours and impassable rapids, it was Roosevelt’s last great expedition that saw one man swept to his death, another murdered and nearly cost him his own life. Coming in January 2018 to American Experience.

Gerald R. Ford: A Test of Character

Aired on National Geographic in May 2016

Although President Ford is often overlooked in the pantheon of U.S. presidents, his story illuminates a vital and fascinating moment in U.S. history. Ford assumed the presidency when the twin crises of Watergate and Vietnam threatened to undermine our democracy. Having never stood for election to national office, Ford was all but unknown to the American public. Whether he had the skill and character to steer the country through this period was an open question.

The film features in-depth interviews with major figures from the period, including Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather, who covered the Ford presidency as young reporters; Ford’s cabinet members and staff including Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger, and Donald Rumsfeld; two of Ford’s children, Steven and Susan; and the historian, Richard Norton-Smith, among many others.

The Italian Americans


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 2015.

Finding Your Roots: Season 2

Season 2 of Finding your Roots aired 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

Makers: Women Who Make America (2014)

Senior Producer: Rachel Dretzin
Produced: Leah Williams 
Director: Jamila Wignot.
Narrator: Julianna Margulies. 

MAKERS is a landmark television and digital-video initiative that aims to be the largest and most dynamic collection of women's stories ever assembled. Expanding on the critically acclaimed three-hour PBS documentary MAKERS: Women Who Make America, which premiered in February 2013, and told the story of the American women’s movement over the last half-century, Ark Media has produced two of the six new MAKERS hours to be broadcast this Fall. MAKERS: Women in Space traces the history of women pioneers in the U.S. space program. Produced by Michael Epstein and Sara Wolitzky. Directed by Michael Epstein. Narrated by Jodie Foster. The documentary is scheduled to air October 14 on PBS at 9pm. MAKERS: Women in Business tells the story of the exceptional women—past and present—who have taken the world of business by storm. Told by female business leaders themselves, this is a candid exploration of what it takes to make it and a celebration of the extraordinary individuals who, over the course of 50 years, have proven—on Wall Street, in corporate America or business empires of their own—that a woman’s place is wherever she believes it to be. 

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

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.


Film Website: Click here