I have been a documentary filmmaker, primarily for public television, since 1977. My first film, A COMMON MAN’S COURAGE won the award as Best Local Public Television Program in the US for 1977 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Since then I have produced 40 documentaries and many more shorter films of 5-15 minutes in length. I have received more than 100 regional, national and international awards for filmmaking. The John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award, named for me, is presented annually at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, California. 15 of my documentaries have been broadcast nationally in primetime on PBS, including the popular special AFFLUENZA. My films have been acclaimed by TV critics and my 1985 film VISIBLE TARGET was called “wondrously well-done” by John Corry of The New York Times. My 2005 film SILENT KILLER was chosen by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to celebrate its 60th anniversary. I have taught filmmaking at the University of Washington (extension), The Evergreen State College and Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts. I worked as an in-house independent producer of documentaries for KCTS, the Seattle PBS affiliate, from 1982-2014.
Town Between Two Worlds:
The Gold Rushes of Nevada City
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Here are some of my most popular documentaries
In some cases, you may watch them in full; in others, the link is to a preview.
Vacations matter - for productivity, happiness, family bonding and especially, health. Explore why Americans take less time off work, even when it’s proven to be good for us.
In this humorous monologue, ecological economist Dave Batker questions whether GDP is an adequate measure of society's well-being and suggests workable alternatives.
The amazing story behind Chief Joseph's "I will fight no more forever!" speech and a young soldier who became a champion of human rights and social justice after his experiences in the Nez Perce War.
Looks at the benefits of fair trade goods and product certification for people and the environment through case studies of the TransfairUSA and the Forest Stewardship Council. Filmed in Mexico, Canada, the US and Europe.
Looks at the obstacles facing working mothers and families and the employer and public policy changes needed to restore work-life balance.
Highlights promising attempts in Africa, and in South and Central America, to end world hunger.
Explores the history of potato blight and the chemicals used to control it, from the Irish potato famine to the present day, through the stories of two remarkable scientists. Filmed in Mexico, Peru, the US and Europe.
Meryl Streep tells the story of farmer, writer and photographer Michael Ableman and his model of community-supported agriculture in the midst of suburban sprawl.
The sequel to the PBS hit AFFLUENZA explores ways to live better with less — hosted by Wanda Urbanska.
AFFLUENZA is a groundbreaking film that diagnoses a serious social disease — caused by consumerism, commercialism and rampant materialism — that is having a devastating impact on our families, communities, and the environment.
The world's food supply may be seriously endangered by a dramatic decline in crop diversity. As high-yield hybrids replace traditional food crops worldwide, thousands of heirloom plant species have gone extinct, increasing the long-term possibility of famine. Filmed in Russia, Europe, Mexico and the US.
The moving story of a courageous young Japanese-American student who challenged the World War II relocation program and eventually won his case, upholding the American Constitution.
A stirring portrait of America's leading environmentalist, David Brower, who was instrumental in establishing some of America's most spectacular national parks, while heading the Sierra Club, establishing and directing Friends of the Earth, and later Earth Island Institute.
Master gardener John Jeavons seeks the smallest possible area to grow a diet for one person sustainably, and transforms thinking about small-scale agriculture.
Explores the WWII Japanese-American evacuation and Internment through the story of the first community evacuated under wartime orders, Bainbridge Island, Washington. Called "wondrously well done" by the New York Times.
Portrait of the late Alan Chadwick, Shakespearean actor, master gardener, and inventor of the "Biodynamic French Intensive Method," who spent 50 years in the garden — digging, planting and watching.
My other documentaries include:
RETURN OF THE MAYA, 1989
CASTRO'S CUBA: TWO VIEWS, 1990
THE MOON’S PRAYER, 1991
RUNNING OUT OF TIME, 1994
GREEN PLANS, 1995
DAVID BROWER: A CONVERSATION WITH SCOTT SIMON, 1996
THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE, 1997
A COMMON MAN’S COURAGE, 1977
LABOR’S TURNING POINT, 1981
DAIRY QUEENS, 1983
MOTHER OF THE YEAR, 1984
GOD AND MONEY, 1986
IT’S UP TO US: THE GIRAFFE PROJECT, 1987
FULL CIRCLE, 1989
THANKS TO MY TEAMMATES!
Documentary filmmaking is not a solitary act and requires teamwork and different talents. I have been privileged to work with outstanding co-producers, including Karen Lehman, Ellen Anthony, David Arond, Cristopher Anderson, B.J. Bullert, Vivia Boe, Jack Hamann, Hana Jakoubkova, Laura Pacheco, Larry Cotton, Matt Simek, Carolyn Gates, Francine Strickwerda, Alan Stein, Jennifer Ekstrom and Kevin White, and with accomplished videographer/editors Jim Mulligan, Tom Speer, Diana Wilmar, David Fox, Greg Davis, Milt Ritter, Greg Bond, Chris Smart, Kevin Tomlinson and Mirko Popadic. Their work made me look good. I have also been honored to work with host/narrators Scott Simon, Meryl Streep and Mary Steenburgen, consummate professionals and great people too.