I grew up on the West Coast, moved east for college and then on to London for a masters. I stayed in the UK a long time and ended up making films for FRONTLINE for many years before turning to feature documentaries, mostly for HBO.
For me, documentary filmmaking is a unique and exciting combination of journalism, grad school, adventure travel, and art.
My first job out of college was with C-SPAN, and Brian Lamb taught me an important lesson I've remembered ever since: when you're interviewing someone, never act as if you know more than they do, and never be afraid to ask simple, even dumb questions.
My curiosity led me to the UK, where I got a masters degree in International Relations from the LSE and found myself freelancing for the (then) thriving international news and documentary scene in London. I tried my hand as a war correspondent, but was drawn to long-form storytelling and was lucky enough to get a break on some big PBS/BBC documentary co-productions, under the tutelage of the legendary British filmmaker William Cran.
Bill introduced me to FRONTLINE at WGBH, where I was privileged to have a great run making films around the world, and where I found my voice as a filmmaker.
My breakthrough film was GHOSTS OF RWANDA, a culmination of my 7-year journey struggling to understand how the tragedy of Rwanda happened, and why the world did so little to stop the killing. It was a heartbreaking story to tell, yet in the end I was most transformed by the stories of the heroes - men and women who, often in a single moment, decided to risk their lives to do what they felt in their soul was right. I asked myself whether I would have that level of courage if I was ever truly tested? I still wonder that today.