As executive producer of PBS’s flagship history series, Mark Samels conceives, commissions and oversees all AMERICAN EXPERIENCE films. Produced by WGBH Boston, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is television’s most-watched and longest-running history series, and has been honored with nearly every industry award, including the Peabody, Primetime Emmys, the duPont-Columbia Journalism Award, Writers Guild Awards, and Sundance Film Festival Audience and Grand Jury Awards. In 2015, the series received its ninth Academy Award nomination for the critically acclaimed Last Days in Vietnam.
Samels has overseen more than 120 films, expanding both the breadth of subjects and the filmmaking style embraced by the series, allowing for more contemporary topics and more witness-driven storytelling. Beginning his career as an independent documentary filmmaker, he held production executive positions at public televisions stations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania before joining WGBH. Samels is a founding member of the International Documentary Association and has served as a governor of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Samels holds honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from Emerson College and Elizabethtown College.