Writer-Producer, Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State
Laurence Rees is creative director of BBC Television History Programmes and, until recently, was editor of Timewatch the BBC's Historical Documentary strand (the equivalent in Britain to American Experience in the United States). Under his editorship, Timewatch won a host of awards, including three International Emmys. He appointed a new editor of Timewatch in large part so he can spend more time producing series.
As an executive producer of historical programs, Rees has been responsible for series on a wide variety of historical topics from Michael Woods' Alexander the Great and Conquistadors (both co-productions with PBS) to the recent BBC2 reality history series about Captain Cook, The Ship. As creative director of BBC History, he oversaw the final series of Simon Schama's A History of Britain.
Rees' commitment to furthering innovation and accessibility in history filmmaking is immense. For example, he recently conceived and executive produced Pyramid for BBC1, Tokyo Broadcasting System, NDR and Discovery. This 60-minute drama with state-of-the-art computer special effects aired on BBC1 to an audience of more than 12 million and became the most watched history program ever made by the BBC.
He is best known, however, for three other documentary series on World War II, which he wrote and produced. Alongside his senior editorial responsibilities, he has carried on his work as a hands-on historical program-maker. He wrote and produced the six-part series The Nazis: A Warning from History, which first aired on BBC TV in 1997 and was subsequently sold to more than 30 countries. The series won a myriad of awards, including a George Foster Peabody Award, a BANFF Festival award, an IDA award and the most prestigious award a British television producer can win - a British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award. The Daily Mail named The Nazis: A Warning from History "one of the best documentary series of all time" and the Daily Telegraph hailed it as "the series that stands quite alone."
He followed that series with War of the Century (1999) a four-part examination of the Hitler/Stalin conflict and the two-part Horror in the East (2000) about the war against Japan. All three series are now used as major teaching aides in many schools and universities. Professor Akira Iriye of Harvard University uses Horror in the East to help teach his post-graduate class.
Rees has been writing and making programs about the Nazis and the Second World War for more than 12 years. In 1990, he made the investigative film British Betrayal about alleged British war crimes at the end of the war and in 1992, he wrote and produced the acclaimed Goebbels - Master of Propaganda.
Educated at Solihull School and the University of Oxford, Rees has worked in television for more than 20 years. The vast majority of his time has been spent in the production of historical documentaries. The Times of London has described him as "Britain's most distinguished producer of historical documentaries."
He has written five history books to accompany his television work. The latest, Auschwitz: A New History (Public Affairs Books), comes out on January 2, 2005.
Rees' additional works include a theory of communication based on the work of Josef Goebbels: Selling Politics (BBC Books 1992) and the series books of The Nazis: A Warning From History (BBC Books 1997), War of the Century (BBC Books 1999) and Horror in the East (BBC Books 2001). The final three titles have also been published in America - the two by New Press and the last by DeCapo.
Series Executive Producer, Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State
Mary Mazur, KCET executive vice president of programming and production, is series executive producer of Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State, the new six-hour documentary premiering on PBS Wednesday, January 19, from 9:00 -11:00 p.m.
Mazur is also series executive producer of PBS Hollywood Presents, the national PBS drama series that most recently aired the critically acclaimed Cop Shop, starring Richard Dreyfuss, Blair Brown, Rosie Perez, Rita Moreno and Jay Thomas. The series premiered in April 2001 with The Old Settler, starring Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad, and followed with Collected Stories, starring Linda Lavin and Samantha Mathis; Copenhagen, starring Stephen Rea, Daniel Craig and Francesca Annis; and The Gin Game, starring Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.
In addition, Mazur is executive in charge of production on Tavis Smiley, the national late night talk show produced by KCET for PBS that has begun its second season, as well as the statewide newsmagazine, California Connected, and Los Angeles' local news show, Life & Times. This fall, under her aegis, KCET launched two daytime talk shows dealing with the education and development of pre-schoolers, A Place of Our Own, and its Spanish-language counterpart, Los Niņos en Su Casa, which air statewide in every major California market.
Mazur joined KCET in 1997 and soon became the station's head of national drama production and spearheaded such programs as the star-studded stage drama Merry Christmas, George Bailey with Sally Field, Bill Pullman and Nathan Lane; the PBS premiere of the Academy Award-nominated Buena Vista Social Club; the four-part PBS documentary Chasing the Sun; and the mini-series American Family: Journey of Dreams.
Mazur has an extensive background in television series and movie development. She began her career at NBC Entertainment where she worked in television movies, primetime programming and drama development, serving as development executive for such hits as Matlock and the Emmy Award-winning miniseries, A Year in the Life.
She moved on to become vice president of series development at CBS In-House Productions where she was responsible for comedy, drama and reality development, working on such popular series as Rescue 911 and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
Prior to joining KCET, Mazur was also head of development for two highly successful independent production companies, Patchett Kaufman Entertainment and Cosgrove Meurer Productions.
Megan Callaway is KCET's Producer for European Co-Productions based in London. As such she is in daily contact with Laurence Rees and the production team at the BBC. Megan Callaway has been working for the past ten years producing drama for commercial and public television. Before that she came out of documentaries, producing two feature-length documentaries that mixed drama reenactment with documentary elements: one on the life of Eugene O'Neill and one on Carl Sandburg for American Playhouse. In the 80s, she was a producer for WNET's nine-part series "Civilization and the Jews," her primary responsibility was for the program on the Holocaust. Most recently, she produced (for KCET) the KCET-BBC co-production of Michael Frayn's acclaimed play "Copenhagen" for PBS.