Branch Rickey: A Matter of Fairness

Jackie Robinson is known for integrating baseball at the Brooklyn Dodger in the 1940s, but often overlooked is the man who made it happen, Dodger general manager Branch Rickey. An arch-conservative Midwesterner, who went to University of Michigan law school and played pro baseball, Rickey had deep moral and religious beliefs that, as he said, "all of God's creature should be treated equally."

Where Do The Children Play?

Told largely in the voices of children, the film examines alarming changes in children's lives in the span of a generation. Disconnection from nature, disappearance of play spaces and increasing obesity are on the increase. Play, which previous generations took for granted, is disappearing because of how we choose to live. The average home range for American suburban children has shrunk from one mile to 550 yards. One child in three is bused to school, while only ten percent walk or ride their bicycle, and the rest are driven.

William Bolcom: On Creativity

This brief film, in the voice of Pulitzer Prize-winning compose William Bolcom, explores creativity and the steps through which he goes to compose a piece of music. Produced for the Dranoff Two-Piano Foundation as a teaching tool for students in Florida public schools.

Michigan At Risk

Michigan At Risk is an Emmy award-winning series comprised of 30-minute documentary specials that look at regional issues affecting the Great Lakes state. Produced by Christopher Cook for WKAR-TV23, Michigan At Risk airs on seven PBS affiliates throughout the state of Michigan. The series looks at social, economic, and political issues, with topics ranging from teenage binge drinking to current race relations in the state’s cities. Michigan At Risk was named Best Public Affairs Special in the 2006 regional EMMY awards. Prior to this achievement, the series won two Clarion Awards from the National Association for Women in Communications, and two regional EMMYs for Outstanding Public Affairs Program, and several awards from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.
Visit the Michigan At Risk website to view episodes.

Sprawling of America

Part One “Inner City Blues” & Part Two “Fat of the Land”

This two-part documentary looks at the post-war cycle of disinvestment from our nation’s cities and the development of suburbs and suburban sprawl. Part One of the documentary, “Inner City Blues,” looks at the phenomenon of white flight, fueled by institutional and geographic racism, which left inner-cities in racial isolation and growing poverty. It then seeks solutions to the issue of sprawl and urban decline by consulting experts in the “new urbanism” movement and advocates of “smart growth.” The second-half of the film, “Fat of the Land,” explores the direction of suburbs and their effect on rural areas, agriculture, and small towns.  Sprawling of America was nominated for an International Documentary Association Award in 2001 and won two regional EMMYs in 2002.
View Part One “Inner City Blues.”

The Greater Good: 100 Years of Architecture & Urban Planning at Michigan 

Produced for the University of Michigan College of Architecture & Urban Planning, this 20- minute documentary showcases the history of architecture and urban planning at the university.  In addition to looking at the past, the film considers the direction of architecture and urban planning with interviews from the university’s top faculty. 
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Birth of a Playwright: Arthur Miller at Michigan

This film celebrates one of America’s greatest playwrights, Arthur Miller.  It revolves around the Pulitzer Prize -winning author’s days at the University of Michigan and the development of his craft while there. Birth of a Playwright: Arthur Miller at Michigan won two regional EMMY awards at the 2006 annual gala of the Michigan Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS).
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The Last Mile: Polio, Salk & Tommy Francis

This documentary celebrates the development of the polio vaccine from the campus of the University of Michigan.  In 1955, epidemiologist Tommy Francis announced that the field trials of the Salk Polio Vaccine had achieved positive results, with a working vaccine now in existence.  In 2006, The Last Mile: Polio, Salk & Tommy Francis won a regional EMMY award for Best Health/Science Program Feature/Segment.  The film marked the 50-year anniversary of the vaccine.
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Knight-Wallace Fellows:
A Year in Ann Arbor

This short film was made for the Knight Wallace Fellows at Michigan, a mid-career program for professional journalists. The program is funded by the Knight Foundation and famed CBS journalist Mike Wallace, himself a University of Michigan graduate. It brings fifteen journalists from the U.S. and abroad to Ann Arbor for a year of reflection and immersion in academia, and provides a generous stipend. The film was made to explain the program to potential fellows at conferences and seminars and on the program’s website.
View film.