EP “American Experience” Cameo George Presents Upcoming Season


Since being named executive producer of “American Experience” in July 2020, Cameo George has been busy expanding and diversifying PBS’s roster of iconic historical documentary series, with the upcoming 34th season being the first fully produced. under his leadership.

The new “American Experience” season kicks off February 7 with “Riveted: The History of Jeans” by Michael Bicks and Anna Lee Strachan. On how jeans have become a staple around the world, this is one of six feature documentaries for the season, five of which were commissioned by George, the first black woman to direct “American Experience”. George replaced Mark Samels, who retired from the series in 2020 after serving as executive producer of the program for 16 years.

“I’ve always thought of ‘American Experience’ as the most important historical series in the doc world, and the chance to build on the series’ incredible legacy, refresh it a bit and open up the door to a wider range of filmmakers and subjects is a dream for me, “says George.” I am eager to broaden the definition of what an ‘American Experience’ film is. I want us to explore a more story. recent and actively anticipating the mining stories of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

“I’m also thinking about how to add a little more popular culture to our mix of topics, like we’re doing with our Season 34 debut episode, ‘Riveted: The Story of Jeans,’ she continues. I look forward to extending our attention to the people who have made history and who have had a critical impact on our lives, but who are not well known. ”

The decision to add contemporary stories to the lineup is in part an effort to attract a younger and more diverse audience, says George.

Films produced under Samels’ tenure include “Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation” and “My Lai” by Barak Goodman, “The Murder of Emmett Till” and “Freedom Riders” by Stanley Nelson and “The Last Days in Vietnam “by Rory Kennedy.

In addition to “Rived: The History of Jeans,” “American Experience” Season 34 features: “The American Diplomat,” by Leola Calzolai-Stewart, about three pioneering black diplomats tasked with defending American ideals abroad while fighting against racism; Rob Rapley’s “Flood in the Desert”, about California’s struggle to provide water to its sprawling cities; Li-Shin Yu’s “Plague at the Golden Gate”, on anti-Asian sentiment following a 1900 bubonic plague outbreak in San Francisco’s Chinatown; and Robert Stone’s “Taken Hostage” about the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. (The sixth film in the series has not been announced.)

American diplomat / American experience

Bicks, Strachan and Calzolai-Stewart are the new directors of “American Experience”. (Yu, a seasoned film editor who has edited numerous “American Experience” documentaries, co-directed a first installment of the series.)

“The plan is to continue working with our ‘American Experience’ veterans while opening the door for newcomers,” said George. “I want the American Experience to be a welcoming place for everyone. Creating a pipeline of a diverse and diverse set of filmmakers is a priority for me.

Over its 34-year history, the series has received 30 Emmy Awards for films including Nelson’s “Freedom Riders” and nine Oscar nominations – the most recent in 2015 for Kennedy’s “Last Days in Vietnam”.

“It’s a privilege to work with filmmakers of the caliber of Stanley Nelson and Rory Kennedy and of course we strive to work with them,” says George. “The competition to work with top directors is fierce, as there are many outlets for outstanding documentary films. We will continue to make it known that we want to be at the table to develop and produce projects with renowned directors. I want us to be a viable option for big, shiny projects.

While George says that touring to premiere film festivals and nominations for major awards remain important to the series, she doesn’t consider this to be the only measure of success.

“We are mission and values ​​driven and want to work with people who also see this type of storytelling as a public service,” she says.

Season 34 of “American Experience” will run throughout 2022.

About Monty S. Maynard

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