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The Films of Alan and Susan Raymond

Academy Award-winning filmmakers Alan and Susan Raymond

Academy Award-winning filmmakers Alan and Susan Raymond are among America's most influential and distinguished independent documentary producers and directors. The films of Alan and Susan Raymond reflect our society's changing values and changed the course of television history.

As the filmmakers of the seminal 1973 PBS cinema vérité series An American Family, the Raymonds captured the daily life of the Loud family, which foreshadowed America's rising divorce rate and the emergence of the gay liberation movement. TV Guide designated the series as "one of the 50 Greatest TV Programs" and pronounced it the first series in the reality TV genre.

The Raymonds continued a friendship with the Loud family that spanned 30 years and produced two additional films. American Family Revisited (HBO 1983) explored the family's perspective on being media celebrities, and their reflections on the evening of the parents' separation.

In the fall of 2002 as he entered a hospice, Lance Loud, the eldest son of the family, requested that the Raymonds make a final film of his life. Lance Loud! A Death in An American Family celebrated the life and legacy of Lance Loud as a gay icon and the first reality TV star. This 2003 national PBS broadcast commemorated the 30th anniversary of the original landmark series.

Their most recent film, How Do You Spell Murder? (Cinemax Reel Life 2003), chronicled a maximum-security prison inmate-run literacy program where the inmates struggled to learn to read. The documentary, which explored the connection between education and crime, won the 2003 Literacy in Media Award.

The Raymonds received international acclaim for Children in War, (HBO 2000) a disturbing look at the effect of war and terrorism on the lives of children in Bosnia, Rwanda, Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine. They also published a book for HarperCollins about their experiences making the film also entitled Children in War. The documentary received a Prime Time Emmy for Outstanding Informational Special in 2000 and a United Nations UNESCO Award.

In 1994 the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary was awarded to the Raymonds for I Am A Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School (HBO 1993). The film captured the life of an inner-city elementary school and signaled the deterioration of our nation's public school system and won a Prime Time Emmy, Peabody and DuPont Awards.

The Raymonds' first independent production was an experimental video called The Police Tapes (WNET New York 1977, ABC News 1978) that forever changed the TV landscape. The program chronicled police officers in America's highest crime precinct and captured a South Bronx neighborhood in the process of self-destructing. This Emmy award-winning documentary directly inspired Hill Street Blues and the many reality TV cop shows that followed.

The Raymonds continue to specialize in feature length documentaries that have included such topics as education, prisoner's rights, religion, police, bluesmen and Elvis. Their films have been broadcast on PBS, ABC News, HBO, CINEMAX and the BBC.

For further information about the filmmakers, visit their web site www.videoverite.tv.