Cinematographer/director Mitchell Wilson, a National Press Photographer of the Year recipient, is well known for his cinematic eloquence, impressionistic historical re-creations, and striking juxtaposition of photojournalism and visual metaphor. His extensive body of work includes a number of acclaimed films for PBS with Carl Byker, the director and co-writer of When Worlds Collide. As co-director and cinematographer, Wilson worked with Byker on The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century, Woodrow Wilson, The New Heroes, The Kingdom of David, Chasing the Sun, and Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil and the Presidency. He was cinematographer on The Human Quest, Intimate Strangers, The Meth Epidemic, The Duel, and others. His creative talents have also been widely showcased on ABC, NBC, CBS and HBO.
When selecting his projects, Wilson gravitates toward films such as When Worlds Collide, where much of the film is shot on the street to capture is what going on in a particular country or region. "My roots are in journalism," he explains, "and I prefer to capture a moment in time. Even though When Worlds Collide is about historical subject matter, the footage is all of real life in 2010. Some of the people and places do seem little changed for centuries, but the show captures life as it is happening."
About working with Byker and the rest of their production team, which includes producer Jack Combs and composer Christopher Hedge, Wilson says, "It is always great to work with extremely talented friends, because it doesn't feel like work, in the 9 to 5 job sense. We think of ideas all the time. You can be talking about a project 24-7 and it doesn't feel like work. It feels like we are getting ready for a wonderful, creative adventure."
Adventure and adventurous film-making are essential elements in Wilson's projects. He has shot films on every continent except Australia-the When Worlds Collide production alone took him to Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, and Spain. "I have seen many places and people in my life, all over the world," he says, "and have had many adventures. The Third World has the most appeal to me for stories—no iPods, no televisions, no video games, not always much hope, but a feeling of survival. Life is precious there."
Wilson has received a number of accolades for his work including a National Primetime Emmy, both the DuPont-Columbia Award and the Peabody for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, two International Documentary Association Awards for Best Documentary Series, the Producers Guild of America Award, the Kodak Vision Award, the India Film Festival People's Choice Award, Press Club honors from UP and API, and multiple Los Angeles Emmys. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America.
Wilson also took all of the contemporary photographs featured on this website.