Marcela Gaviria is a journalist and filmmaker with Rain Media in New York City. Over the past two decades she has produced over 40 hours of programming for FRONTLINE (PBS), covering the rise of Al Qaeda, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the culture of risk-taking on Wall Street, America’s heroin epidemic, and the crackdown on undocumented immigrants under the Trump administration.
Gaviria has earned every award in broadcast journalism multiple times, including seven Emmys, three Peabodys, two duPont Columbia Gold Batons and one Silver Baton, four Writers Guild Awards, three Overseas Press Club Awards, a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the prestigious George Polk Award for investigative journalism.
In 2019, Gaviria’s documentary on the detention of immigrant teens accused of gang affiliation, The Gang Crackdown, was one of six FRONTLINE films cited when the series received the 2019 duPont Columbia Gold Baton, the highest honor in broadcast journalism. Her 2018 film Separated: Children at the Border won a prestigious Peabody Award, which recognizes excellence in broadcasting and digital storytelling. Recently Gaviria produced Targeting El Paso, which focused on the children detained in the Clint Detention Center and looked at how El Paso became the Trump administration’s immigration policy testing ground.
Since 9/11, Gaviria has produced some of FRONTLINE’s seminal films on America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, including In Search of Al Qaeda (2002); Truth, War and Consequences (2003), Beyond Baghdad (2004), Private Warriors (2005), Gangs of Iraq (2007), The War Briefing (2008), Obama’s War (2009); and The Spy Who Quit (2009). Truth, War and Consequences won a duPont Columbia Silver Baton and Obama’s War won the Overseas Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Award.
Gaviria first worked for FRONTLINE in 1994 on the production of Godfather of Cocaine, a film about the drug baron Pablo Escobar. After five years of freelancing from her native Colombia, she returned to FRONTLINE to work on the four-part series Drug Wars. That began a 20-year collaboration with veteran FRONTLINE producer/correspondent, Martin Smith, who has been Gaviria’s correspondent on multiple films including Chasing Heroin (2016); The Retirement Gamble (2013), The Pension Gamble (2018) and The Virus: What Went Wrong (2020).
Gaviria is currently working on a two-hour documentary on the American war in Afghanistan to air in the fall of 2022.
Gaviria obtained her BA from Brown University and her MA from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She lives in the Catskills with her producing partner and now husband, Martin Smith.