The POV (Point of View) documentary The Judge and the General, by Elizabeth Farnsworth and Patricio Lanfranco, has won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for broadcast journalism, it was announced today by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. This is POV’s ninth duPont-Columbia Award. POV, produced by American Documentary Inc., and beginning its 23rd season on PBS this year, is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers.
The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards honor excellence in television and radio journalism produced for audiences in the United States by local stations, independent producers, networks and cable systems. Selected by the duPont Jury, the award-winning programs aired between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009. The honorees will be presented with duPont Batons at a ceremony on Jan. 21, 2010 at Columbia University.
The Judge and the General, which premiered on POV in 2008, reveals one of the 20th century’s most notorious episodes and tells a cautionary tale about violating human rights in the name of higher ideals. When in 1998 Chilean judge Juan Guzman was assigned the first criminal cases against the country’s ex-dictator, General Augusto Pinochet, no one expected much. Guzman had supported Pinochet’s 1973 coup — waged as an anti-Communist crusade — that left the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, and thousands of others dead or “disappeared.” The filmmakers trace the judge’s descent into what he calls “the abyss,” where he uncovers the past, including his own role in the tragedy.
The film, which won a Silver Butterfly Award at The Hague Movies That Matter Festival and was nominated for a 2009 News & Documentary Emmy Award and a 2008 Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement, is a co-production of West Wind Productions and ITVS in association with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
“The Judge and the General represents the very best in documentary filmmaking,” said Simon Kilmurry, executive producer of POV. “Through exemplary and patient storytelling Elizabeth and Patricio take viewers on an astonishing journey in search of the truth.”
Hailed by critics as among the most important and relevant programming on television, POV films have won numerous awards, including 21 Emmy Awards (including a 2007 Special News & Documentary Emmy for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking), 12 George Foster Peabody Awards, four Independent Spirit Awards, three Academy Awards(R), the Prix Italia, the Webby and the Independent Documentary Association’s Best Continuing Series Award.
The Judge and the General Credits: Co-directors/co-producers: Elizabeth Farnsworth, Patricio Lanfranco; Executive Producer: Richard Pearce; Executive Producer for ITVS: Sally Jo Fifer; Executive Producer for LPB: Luis Ortiz; Co-producer: Andres Cediel; Coordinating producer:
Rob Weiss; Cinematographers: Michael Anderson, Vicente Franco, Esteban Medel, Jim Van Vranken; Editor: Blair Gershkow; original music: Barbara Cohen.
Elizabeth Farnsworth, Producer/Director: Elizabeth Farnsworth was chief correspondent and principal substitute anchor on PBS’ The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer from 1995-2000. She then became a senior correspondent. Farnsworth now freelances for The NewsHour and makes documentaries. She has reported from Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Chile, Haiti, Cambodia and Vietnam, among other places. Her 2001 four-part NewsHour series on the AIDS crisis in Botswana and Malawi received the 2001 Silver World Medal from the New York Festivals and a national Emmy nomination. Her documentary credits include Thanh’s War, which won a CINE Golden Eagle; and The Gospel and Guatemala, winner of a San Francisco International Film Festival Golden Gate Award. Farnsworth, who has lived in Peru and Chile, has written for Foreign Policy, World Policy Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation and Mother Jones.
Patricio Lanfranco, Producer/Director: Chilean filmmaker Patricio Lanfranco has been a researcher and producer for two decades. As senior news producer for Chilean National TV (TVN), he produced live television coverage of the 1995 trial of Manuel Contreras (former chief of Pinochet’s secret police) for the 1976 murder of Orlando Letelier, former Chilean Ambassador to the United States. With these broadcasts, Chileans were able for the first time to watch attorneys in an official setting present evidence of human-rights crimes committed by the secret police. Later Lanfranco created his own independent company. He has produced reports for the BBC and assisted in the production of many stories for The NewsHour. He has also produced for the Australian Broadcasting Company’s flagship Foreign Correspondent program. Lanfranco won the Chilean National Television Council Award in 2003.