Orlando Bagwell has always been fascinated with capturing the essence of the human experience. An award-winning veteran filmmaker of eighteen years, Bagwell is the executive producer of the six-hour documentary series Africans in America: America's Journey through Slavery, produced by WGBH for air on PBS stations in the fall of 1998.
Bagwell is founder and president of ROJA Productions, a Boston-based independent film and television production company. He produced and directed for ROJA Productions, with WETA, Washington DC, a ninety-minute film on the life of Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass: When the Lion Wrote History aired on PBS in November 1994. Bagwell also co-produced the critically acclaimed feature-length documentary on the life of Malcolm X, "Malcolm X: Make It Plain," with Blackside, Inc. for PBS's The American Experience in January 1994.
Creator of the Civil Rights Video Wall, a permanent exhibit for the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, Bagwell also produced and directed "New Worlds, New Forms" for the international WNET series, Dancing, for which he received an Emmy nomination. As executive vice president for Blackside, Inc., he supervised documentary film projects including the production of the national PBS series The Great Depression, hailed by Newsweek magazine as "one of the best television events of 1993."
In addition, Bagwell produced two films for Blackside's internationally celebrated Eyes on the Prize: "Mississippi: Is This America?" and "Ain't Scared of Your Jails." Each was awarded the Columbia School of Journalism's Alfred E. duPont Award and the Peabody Award. Bagwell also produced and directed the award-winning film "Roots of Resistance: A Story of the Underground Railroad" for The American Experience and produced "Words That Wound" as part of the Declarations series for the Independent Television Service.
As staff producer for the WGBH-produced series Frontline, Bagwell co-produced and directed "Running With Jesse", a documentary account of the Jesse Jackson presidential campaign, and "Racism 101," which addressed the issue of racism on college campuses.
Bagwell also has earned numerous credits as a cinematographer, editor, director, and producer on many documentary and dramatic films, including Wonderworks and National Geographic.
Golden Globe recipient and Academy Award-nominee Angela Bassett is perhaps best known for her searing portrayal of Tina Turner in Touchstone Pictures' biopic, What's Love Got To Do with It? Bassett was seen in the summer of 1998 in the screen adaptation of Terry McMillan's novel, How Stella Got Her Groove Back for 20th Century Fox, and she is currently shooting a science fiction movie with director Walter Hill, Supernova, for United Artists.
Executive-In-Charge for Production
WGBH Vice President of Radio and Executive-in-Charge of Africans in America, Marita Rivero is a twenty-six year veteran of public broadcasting in television and radio, where her production projects have won virtually every major programming award. Having had significant participation in the national policy-making arena for many years, most recently she launched the national global news co-production, The World.
Senior Producer and Co-Producer of Episode One, The Terrible Transformation
An award-winning producer and writer with more than ten years experience in public television, Susan Bellows is senior producer for Africans in America and co-producer of Episode One, The Terrible Transformation. Her producing credits include The Great Depression and America's War On Poverty, both productions of Blackside, Inc. Bellows also co-produced "New Worlds, New Forms" for the WNET series, Dancing, and "Roots of Resistance: A Story of the Underground Railroad," a presentation of The American Experience.
Producer of Episode Two, Revolution
Before joining the Africans in America team as producer of the series' second episode, Revolution, Noland Walker worked as a writer, script reader, and editor in both public and commercial television. His wide range of production credits includes the award-winning PBS series Eyes on the Prize II; America's War on Poverty; Breakthrough: The Changing Face of Science in America, and the long-running comedy series, Coach, on ABC television.
Producer of Episode Three, Brotherly Love
Jacquie Jones, producer of Episode Three, Brotherly Love, has a diverse background in writing and film. Jones served as the editor of the Black Film Review and as a staff writer for several periodicals including Cineaste, African American Review, and ONE. Jacquie also contributed to several books: Picturing Us: African American Identity in Photography, In Search of Color Everywhere and Black Popular Culture. Her film background includes producing Freestyle, a documentary on young women and rap culture in America.
Project Director and Producer of Episode Four, Judgment Day
Llewellyn Smith is project director for Africans in America and producer of Episode Four, Judgment Day. As story editor and one of the originators of The American Experience, Llewellyn Smith was active in the development and acquisition of over seventy documentary films. Smith's extensive production background also includes contributions to Eyes on the Prize and writing for the award-winning PBS series, From Jumpstreet: A Story of Black Music.
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