Producer Karen O’Connor

photo of Karen O'Connor

Award-winning producer, Karen O’Connor, has been working in television for over 20 years. In 1996, she was named series editor at FRONTLINE and continued to work on FRONTLINE films, including The Killer at Thurston High (1999), a film she co-produced with colleague Miri Navasky, that explored the tragedy of a school shooting in Oregon. The film won the Banff award for best social/political documentary.

O’Connor left her staff position at FRONTLINE in 2004 to co-produce with Navasky at Mead Street Films. For over a decade, Navasky and O’Connor have defined themselves as filmmakers by their unique ability to take viewers into worlds that are seldom seen and to tell stories that are intimate, original and revealing. They have produced, directed and written a number of ground-breaking FRONTLINE documentaries, including The New Asylums (2005), a provocative and wrenching portrait of the hundreds of thousands of mentally ill people incarcerated in jails and prisons across the country. The film was nominated for an Emmy Award and in 2006 it won the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Grand Prize Journalism Award.

O’Connor and Navasky’s other films include Living Old (2006), an honest and sometimes heartbreaking look at what it really means to grow old in contemporary America, and The Undertaking (2007), a lyrical and moving exploration of death and dying told through the perspective of writer/poet and undertaker Thomas Lynch. Praised by critics as “emotionally haunting” and “remarkably moving,” The Undertaking won the 2008 Emmy Award for Best Arts and Cultural Documentary. Facing Death (2010), a highly acclaimed FRONTLINE film, was described by the press as “a thoughtful, gripping hour of television” that explores the complex and difficult choices that Americans face at the end of life. Navasky and O’Connor’s latest film for FRONTLINE is a 90-minute journey inside the hidden world of assisted suicide. The Suicide Plan airs Tuesday, November 13 on PBS (check local listings).

recent films

Facing Death

Facing Death

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The Released

The Released

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The Undertaking

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