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photo of Karen O'Connor

producers Karen O'Connor

Award-winning producer Karen O'Connor joined FRONTLINE in 1993 to work with renowned filmmaker Ofra Bikel on Divided Memories (1995), a special four-hour FRONTLINE project that examined the complex personal, social and legal controversies surrounding the issue of repressed memories. In 1996, O'Connor was named series editor at FRONTLINE and continued to work on FRONTLINE films, including The Killer at Thurston High, a 1999 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. Their next film, A Crime of Insanity (2002), was an in-depth investigation into the insanity case of a 26-year-old paranoid schizophrenic who killed himself behind bars. In 2004, O'Connor left her staff position at FRONTLINE to co-produce full-time with Navasky. Their film The New Asylums (2005), a powerful exploration of what's happening to the hundreds of thousands of mentally ill inmates in jails and prisons throughout America, was nominated for an Emmy, won the 2006 Robert F. Kennedy Grand Prize Journalism Award and received the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Commission on Healthcare -- the first time a television program earned the award. In 2006, O'Connor and Navasky produced FRONTLINE's Living Old , a disturbing account of what it really means to grow old in contemporary America. O'Connor and Navasky's most recent production, The Undertaking, is a powerful and moving exploration of death and dying told through the perspective of writer/poet Thomas Lynch, an undertaker in Central Michigan whose family has cared for the dead for three generations. The film aired on PBS in the fall of 2007 and won an Emmy Award.

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