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About the Series
Children at Train Platform School

Photo: Mitch Wilson

THE NEW HEROES is a four-hour series, hosted by Robert Redford, which tells the dramatic stories of twelve social entrepreneurs who bring innovative, empowering solutions to the most intractable social problems around the world. Each story in this unique series illustrates the amazing changes that are possible when an innovative idea is coupled with optimism, a strategy for action, and a passionate belief in human potential.

Program Overviews and Credits

Purchase the Program

To order a copy of the series please call:

1 800 440 2651

or write to:
Oregon Public Broadcasting
PO Box 2284
South Burlington
VT 05407

Available on two part DVD set.
$29.95 plus S&H

Also available:

The New Heroes CD. Composed by Christopher Hedges. Music inspired by the series.
$14.95 plus S&H

About the Producers


Bonni Cohen

Bonni Cohen is a founder of Actual Films, an independent documentary company based in San Francisco. Bonni is currently producing a film about Afghanistan's constitutional process for PBS. She recently produced and directed a one-hour special for national PBS entitled The Nobel: Visions of Our Century, an analysis of 100 years of the Nobel Prize told from the perspectives of 11 different Nobel laureates. For the BBC she directed and produced Eye of the Storm, an intimate, verité portrait of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan that follows his diplomatic efforts from Baghdad to Nigeria to New York. Eye of the Storm has been shown around the world in over 125 countries. She co-produced They Drew Fire, for National PBS, a portrait of the combat artists of World War II. Her other works include The Human Sexes with Desmond Morris, a six-part, Emmy-nominated series for The Learning Channel/Discovery about gender differences around the world and two episodes of the Emmy award-winning Eyewitness series for PBS. She also served as producer on Jon Else's film, Open Outrcry, a documentary about the open trading pits at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Before coming to documentary film, Bonni worked as a journalist for Reuters Television and was based in London and Jerusalem.

Bonni is currently executive producing an Actual Films' series for PBS entitled The Rape of Europa, chronicling the history of Nazi art looting during World War II. She earned a Masters degree in Documentary Film in 1994 from Stanford University.

Jon Shenk

Jon Shenk is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and a founder of Actual Films in San Francisco. He just co-directed and producer The Lost Boys of the Sudan, a documentary about refugees from the Sudanese civil war who are resettling in the U.S. The film will have its national broadcast on PBS' acclaimed P.O.V. series. It also won the Golden Gate Award for Best Bay Area Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Jon recently produced, directed, and photographed The Beginning a cinema verité documentary about the making of Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace, which was released on the Phantom Menace DVD. His films Dark Rooms and Naked to the World have aired on PBS and have won many awards. He has field-produced and photographed documentaries for MTV's True Life series about high school football in Texas and about the culture surrounding the drug MDMA (Ecstasy). He produced two documentaries for the George Lucas Educational Foundation's series Teaching in the Digital Age. Actual Films recently completed The Nobel, Visions of the Century for PBS. Actual Films is currently producing The Rape of Europa, a three-part series for PBS about the fate of fine art during Third Reich and World War II. Jon works as a freelance documentary cinematographer for PBS, National Geographic, A&E, Bravo, CBS, NBC, and the BBC. He also worked as assistant editor on Cadillac Desert, a PBS series by Jon Else about the history of the struggle for water in the American West. He earned his Masters in Documentary Filmmaking from Stanford University in 1995.

Camille Servan-Schreiber

Camille Servan-Schreiber is an independent documentary filmmaker. She recently directed, produced and shot Looking for Home (2003), a film about contemporary Vietnam, for the national PBS series FRONTLINE WORLD. Servan-Schreiber was field producer of Alice Waters and her delicious revolution (2003), a biography of the world-renowned chef for the PBS series American Masters. She also co-produced The Nobel: Visions of a Century (2001) a documentary about the history of the Nobel Prize. Servan-Schreiber was also associate producer on Drug Wars (2000), an Emmy-nominated documentary for the PBS series FRONTLINE, examining America's 30-year battle against illegal drugs. The film received a Peabody award. She also associate produced and photographed Secrets of the SAT (1999) for FRONTLINE, about the admissions process at U.C. Berkeley after proposition 209 overturned affirmative action in California. The film received the National Education Writers Association First Prize for Broadcast Journalism. Independently, she co-produced, shot and edited Opening Nights (1998), a film about Wesley Whitfield, a San Francisco-based jazz singer. Opening Nights received a Golden Spire Award at the San Francisco international film festival. Servan-Schreiber received an MA degree in 1998 from the Graduate School of Journalism at U.C. Berkeley.


Carl Byker

Producer, Writer, Director Carl Byker's documentaries have won two duPont Columbia Awards, two Independent Documentary Association awards, a Peabody Award, and a Primetime Emmy Award for best non-fiction series of the year. He is also a two-time winner of the Writer's Guild of America award for best non-fiction script of the year, as well as a four-time nominee for the award. Mr. Byker's films include The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century, a social history of World War I; Kingdom of David: The Saga of the Israelites, the story of the birth of Judaism; Woodrow Wilson, a biography of the 28th president; Chasing the Sun, a series on the history of commercial aviation; The Duel, the story of the deadly encounter between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr for American Experience; The Tree of Life, an exploration of the genetic link between early life on earth and humans; The Human Quest, about the evolution of the human brain; and The Fight for Democracy, about the evolution of democracy in Asia.

Mitch Wilson

Director, Cinematographer Mitch Wilson is a National Press Photographer of the Year recipient and is well known for his cinematic eloquence, impressionistic historical re-creations, and striking juxtaposition of photojournalism and visual metaphor. Wilson's work includes The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century; Kingdom of David: The Saga of the Israelites; The Duel; Chasing the Sun; Woodrow Wilson and The Human Quest, as well as many other projects. He has been recognized with the Primetime Emmy Award, the duPont Columbia Award and Peabody Awards, the International Documentary Association Award for Best Documentary Series, the Producers Guild of America Kodak Vision Award, the Ohio State Award, Press Club honors from UP and API and multiple Los Angeles Emmy Awards.


Charles Stuart

Charles Stuart is president of Stuart Television Productions, which was incorporated in June of 1987, and specializes in producing documentaries. Recipient of six national EMMYS , two Duponts and various other national awards for producing, investigative reporting and writing, Stuart has over twenty-five years experience in television and filmmaking.

Stuart's past experience consists of both public and commercial broadcasting, all at the network level. At ABC, Stuart led an investigative unit during his eight years at the network working with Peter Jennings. At WGBH (PBS) he specialized in producing, directing and writing documentaries. His company has provided more than fifty hours of documentary programming to all major networks including eight FRONTLINES for PBS, many co-productions with ABC, stories for 60 MINUTES II on CBS, and documentaries for Home Box Office, the Discovery Channel , A& E, TLC, Lifetime, CNN, NBC and National Geographic.

About the Classroom Content

These teacher resources were developed by the Learning Innovation and Technology Consortium (LITC). LITC develops educational programs and materials in support of problem solving, innovation, and social entrepreneurship.

About the Funders

Major funding provided by:

The Skoll Foundation

The Skoll Foundation's mission is to advance systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs. They have created and funded an outreach resource for holding New Heroes viewing house parties.

Additional funding provided by:


Based in Bethesda, Maryland, Calvert is best known as the nation's largest family of socially responsible mutual funds.

The Flora Family Foundation

A charitable organization dedicated to making grants that bring tangible benefits to people in need and build organizational capacity.

Web Credits

Marion Rice | Executive Producer

John Kin | Producer/Web Developer

Margot Chase | Editor, Associate Producer

Tram Pham | Designer

Trisha Creekmore | Writer

Josh Daniel | Writer, "Raising a Kid Who Cares"

Amy Pearl | Writer, teacher resources

Suzie Boss | Writer, teacher resources

The New Heroes web site is a production of Oregon Public Broadcasting. OPB has produced major Web sites for, as well as enhanced-TV prototypes, books, and extensive promotion and education/outreach campaigns for PBS primetime programs.