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Robert Greenwald
American filmmaker

Robert Greenwald

Robert Greenwald
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American filmmaker
Is Film director Film producer
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 28 August 1945, New York City
Age 77 years
Star sign Virgo
The details (from wikipedia)


Robert Greenwald (born August 28, 1943) is the founder of Brave New Films, a nonprofit film studio whose work is distributed for free in concert with nonprofit partners and movements in order to educate and mobilize for progressive causes. The work of Brave New Films has been screened over seven continents and viewed over tens of millions of times and counting. His most recent full-length feature documentary, illustrates the connection between gun industry profits and gun deaths in America. The studio is currently working with a coalition in California to end the unjust money bail system with films like Debunking Bail Myths. Brave New Films is also continuing its history of political advocacy by presenting short documentaries on current events from a progressive perspective, e.g a piece on Donald Trump's cabinet picks.
With BNF, he has made investigative documentaries such as Uncovered: The War on Iraq (2004), Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004), Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (2005), Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers (2006), Rethink Afghanistan (2009), Koch Brothers Exposed (2012), and War on Whistleblowers (2013), as well as many short investigative films and internet campaigns. His eighth feature-length documentary, Unmanned: America's Drone Wars, was released in October 2013.
Other recent, issued based short-films since 2015 include: Racism is Real which shows the stark differences between life in America as a black man and as a white man; a series on how vulture hedge funds contributed to the financial crisis that has devastated health care and education in Puerto Rico a look at how the private probation system preys on low-income people in "To Prison for Poverty" and an animated short on the Treatment Industrial Complex - the private prison industry's move to capitalize on the drive to end mass incarceration.
Before launching Brave Films in 2000, Greenwald produced and/or directed more than 65 TV movies, miniseries and films as well as major theatrical releases. His early body of work includes Steal This Movie! (2000), starring Vincent D'Onofrio as 60s radical Abbie Hoffman; Breaking Up (1997), starring Russell Crowe and Salma Hayek; A Woman of Independent Means (1995) with Sally Field; The Burning Bed (1984) with Farah Fawcett; and Xanadu (1980).
His work has earned him 25 Emmy Award nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, the Peabody Award and the Robert Wood Johnson Award. He was awarded the 2002 Producer of the Year Award by the American Film Institute. He has been honored for his investigative film work by the ACLU Foundation of Southern California; the Liberty Hill Foundation; the Los Angeles chapter of the National Lawyers Guild; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Consumer Attorney's Association of Los Angeles; Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy and the Office of the Americas.

Early life

Greenwald was born and raised in New York City. He is son of the prominent psychotherapist Harold Greenwald, and the nephew of choreographer Michael Kidd. He attended the city's High School of Performing Arts. Greenwald started his directing career in the theater, with The People Vs. Ranchman (1968), A Long Time Coming and A Long Time Gone (1971), Me and Bessie (1975) and I Have a Dream (1976), a play based on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., with Billy Dee Williams playing King.

Television and feature film career

Greenwald moved to Los Angeles in 1972, where he continued working as a theater director at the Mark Taper Forum. He later launched a career as a director for television, establishing first Moonlight Productions and then Robert Greenwald Productions (RGP), and began creating theatrical films, television movies, miniseries and documentaries with a distinct social and political sensibility. Moonlight Productions was responsible for 34 films, and RGP has brought more than 45 films to audiences worldwide. In 1977, Greenwald received his first of three Emmy Award nominations for producing the television movie 21 Hours at Munich about the massacre at the 1972 Olympics. His next Emmy nomination came in 1984 for directing The Burning Bed, one of the most-watched television movies of all time. Based on a true story, The Burning Bed has been credited as "a turning point in the fight against domestic violence." Greenwald also directed theatrical films such as Breaking Up (1997), Steal This Movie! (2000) and Xanadu (1980).

Xanadu received mostly negative reviews. The film barely broke even at the box office in its initial release. A double feature of Xanadu and another musical released at about the same time, Can't Stop the Music, inspired John J. B. Wilson to create the Golden Raspberry Awards (or "Razzies"), an annual event "dishonoring" what is considered the worst in cinema for a given year. Xanadu won the first Razzie for Worst Director and was nominated for six other awards.

Documentary work

Greenwald turned to documentary filmmaking in 2002. He executive-produced three political documentaries known as "The Un Trilogy": Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election (2002); Uncovered: The Whole Truth About The Iraq War (2003), which Greenwald also directed; and Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties.

At BNF, Greenwald has produced and directed eight feature-length documentaries, along with many short pieces and campaigns. Greenwald released War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State (2013) and a documentary about the U.S. government’s drone program, Unmanned: America's Drone Wars, which premiered in October 2013.

Distribution and impact

Typically Greenwald's approach has been to adapt the principles of guerrilla filmmaking to political documentaries, using small budgets and short shooting schedules to produce films and then distributing them on DVDs or the Internet in affiliation with politically sympathetic groups such as MoveOn.org. BNF's methods are "rewriting the book on how movies are made and distributed." Greenwald's innovative model is said to be "working magnificently": "Millions of viewers have seen BNF films via grassroots 'house parties' and independent online DVD sales", as well as in more traditional theater screenings and online.

As a pioneer in alternative methods for effective progressive political campaigns, Greenwald has eschewed traditional distribution models of studio and network releases. He was among the first to post political online shorts and viral videos on YouTube and elsewhere on the internet, as well as releasing full-length documentaries online in a series of “real time” chapters. Greenwald’s group takes full advantage of a variety of media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, and harnesses new distribution channels as soon as they emerge.

This approach has "inspired hundreds of thousands of people to take action and forced pressing issues into the mainstream media." He has been called "one of the most prominent and influential voices in new media." According to a Brave New Films website, as of 2013 its documentaries "have been streamed across all 7 continents and have been viewed over 70 million times."


Various sources have described Greenwald's political activism as left-wing.

Greenwald has lectured at Harvard University for the Nieman Foundation for Journalism and speaks frequently across the country about his work. He addressed the United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense regarding war profiteering on May 10, 2007. In 2013, Greenwald went to Capitol Hill once again, to discuss weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles with lawmakers. At a Congressional briefing, Greenwald testified with the Rafiq Rehman family, the first Pakistani drone strike survivors to appear before Congress. Since May 2005, Greenwald has been a contributing blogger to The Huffington Post.

Selected filmography

Feature-length documentaries

  • Uncovered: The War on Iraq (2004) (director/producer)
  • Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004) (director/producer)
  • Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (2005) (director/producer)
  • Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers (2006) (director/producer)
  • Rethink Afghanistan (2009) (director)
  • Koch Brothers Exposed (2012) (director/producer)
  • War on Whistleblowers (2013) (director/producer)
  • Unmanned: America's Drone Wars (2013) (director/producer)
  • Koch brothers exposed: 2014 edition (2014) (director/producer)

Features and television movies

  • 21 Hours at Munich (1977) (producer)
  • Xanadu (1980) (director)
  • The Burning Bed (1984) (director)
  • Shattered Spirits (1986) (director)
  • Sweet Hearts Dance (1988)
  • Hear No Evil (director)
  • Breaking Up (1997) (director/producer)
  • Steal This Movie! (2000) (director/producer)

Documentary shorts

  • Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election (2002) (executive producer)
  • Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties (2004) (executive producer)
  • The Big Buy: Tom DeLay's Stolen Congress (2006) (producer)
  • The REAL Rudy (2007) (director)
  • Fox Attacks: Black America (2007) (director/producer)
  • Fox Attacks: Obama (2007) (director/producer)
  • Fox Attacks: Iran (2007) (director/producer)
  • Fox Attacks: Decency (2007) (director)
  • Fox Attacks: The Environment (2007) (director)
  • The Real McCain (2007) (director/producer)
  • Sick for Profit (2009) (director)

Awards and honors

Greenwald's films have garnered the following nominations and awards:

  • 25 Emmy Award nominations
  • 4 Cable ACE Award nominations
  • 2 Golden Globe nominations
  • 2 DGA Nominations (1978 and 1985)
  • 8 Awards of Excellence from the Film Advisory Board.
  • Directors Guild of America Award, for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Specials for The Burning Bed, 1984.
  • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for Excellence in Health and Medical Programming, for Sharing the Secret, 2000.
  • The Peabody Award, for Sharing the Secret, 2000.
  • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prism Commendation for Blonde, 2002.
  • Producer of the Year Award by the American Film Institute, 2002.
  • Literacy in Media Award, for The Book of Ruth, 2004.
  • Laurel Award, for Outfoxed, 2008.
  • Telly Award, (Bronze), for This Brave Nation, 2009.
  • Media for a Just Society, Finalist for Law and Disorder, 2013.

Robert Greenwald has been the recipient of the following awards for his activism:

  • California Nurses Association, "Public Voice for Political Activism."
  • Maggie Award from Planned Parenthood Federation.
  • Office of the Americas,
  • The Christopher Award, 1981 (for media that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit")
  • ACLU of Southern California, Garden Party Award, 2003 and 2013.
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles, Peacemaker Award, 2003
  • The Los Angeles Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild Honors Robert Greenwald as "A Producer and Director who uses his talent and artistry to promote better understanding between people and advance the cause of peace, justice and freedom." - June 8, 2003;
  • Rage for Justice, Citizen Activist of the Year, 2004.
  • Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE)’s City of Justice Award 2005.
  • Liberty Hill Foundation's Upton Sinclair Award, 2006.
  • Norman Felton and Denise Aubuchon Humanitarian Award, 2007
  • Courage in Media (California) Award, 2008 and 2010

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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