FRONTLINE Wins Writers Guild Award

February 14, 2016
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by Patrice Taddonio Assistant Director of Audience Development

The Taj Mahal hotel engulfed in smoke during the 2008 attack on Mumbai. (REUTERS/Arko Datta)

Thomas Jennings’ script for American Terrorist, FRONTLINE’s investigation with ProPublica of the American-born terrorist who helped plan the deadly 2008 siege on Mumbai, won the Documentary Script — Current Events category last night at the 2016 Writers Guild Awards.

American Terrorist — an updated and expanded version of the 2011 FRONTLINE-ProPublica collaboration A Perfect Terrorist — revealed both how David Coleman Headley planned another Charlie Hebdo-like assault against a Danish newspaper, and how secret electronic surveillance missed catching the Mumbai plotters.

“It’s a thrill to receive this award from my esteemed colleagues at the Writers Guild,” says Jennings, who also directed and produced the documentary. “American Terrorist was a collaborative effort, and I was just part of an amazing team of journalists and filmmakers. The reporting of correspondent Sebastian Rotella of ProPublica led the way. Editor Anna Auster honed the complicated material. And executive producers David Fanning and Raney Aronson-Rath were not just leaders but creative partners throughout. The award belongs to us all.”

FRONTLINE earned four WGA nominations in total this year. In the Documentary Script — Current Events category, both nominations were for FRONTLINE writers: Jennings for American Terrorist, and  Michael Kirk and Mike Wiser for Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA.

FRONTLINE was also represented twice in the Documentary Script – Other Than Current Events category: Kirk and Wiser were nominated for Secrets, Politics and Torture, an in-depth look at the fight over the CIA’s controversial enhanced interrogation program, and Marcela Gaviria was nominated for Firestone and the Warlord, an investigation with ProPublica of the iconic tire company’s secret history in Liberia.

“We’re honored to work with such talented documentary filmmakers, who share and embody FRONTLINE’s strong commitment to in-depth journalism, incisive writing and powerful storytelling,” says Raney Aronson-Rath, executive producer of FRONTLINE.

Watch the winning and nominated films below:

American Terrorist

Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA

Firestone and the Warlord

Secrets, Politics and Torture

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