Monday November 10th, 2014

Talking With the Amazon at American University

WASHINGTON, DC, 7 November 2014 — Professor Tod Swanson of Arizona State University addresses participants of a workshop organized by the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University. The workshop was titled, “Religion and Democratic Contestation in Latin America: Rights and Justice Claims around the Environment and Gender/Sexuality.”

Dr. Swanson spoke to the group about how his work on Amazonian religion seeks to understand how heightened empathy with plant and animal species is believed to mediate emotional relations to family and community.

I hope to work again with the CLALS on the current round of research. My first collaboration with the Center included a trip to Guatemala where I produced three videos on God and gangs in that Central American nation. You can see them:


(Photo by Bill Gentile.)




Thursday October 30th, 2014

Veteran Backpack Journalist Visits the New

WASHINGTON, DC, 29 October 2014 — Former student Bill Delano took time from his busy freelance schedule to Skype with students in my Backpack Documentary class — 10 years after he, himself, was a member of the same class. Delano has gone on to build an extraordinarily successful career for himself, not only on a professional level but also on a personal level. After his visit, students used these words to describe him: dedicated, search, unique, genuine, captivating, passionate, thoughtful, imaginative. The list goes on.

Take a look at Delano’s production reel and see why my students were so impressed. Click HERE to see it.
(Photo by Bill Gentile.)

Wednesday October 15th, 2014

Decade of Docs in Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, DC, 14 October 2014 — I showed the progression of my work from black and white still photos to high definition documentaries at a function at American University’s School of Communication (SOC). My presentation was part of the panel discussion, “A Decade of Documentary Filmmaking in DC.”

The event was presented by Docs In Progress and Our City Film Festival in collaboration with Women in Film and Video-DC, and the SOC.

The discussion was moderated by Sam Meddis, adjunct professor at American University and George Mason University. In addition to myself, panelists included Erica Ginsberg, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Docs in Progress; Kiley Kraskouskas, Co-Founder and President of Thinking Forward Media; and Jeff Krulik, documentary filmmaker in the DC area since the mid-1980s.

(Photo by Esther Gentile.)


Tuesday October 14th, 2014

Final Steps for “To Catch a Dream”

WASHINGTON, DC, 12 October 2014 — Ella Patel (center) reviews narration she is recording for our upcoming documentary, “To Catch a Dream.” The film follows four Afghan girls as they journey from their war-torn home country to Hong Kong, where they compete in an international competition of commercial law.

From the far left are Audio Tech Manny Cooper, the film’s Executive Producer Laila Rossi, Narrator Ella Patel, and Editor Esther Gentile.

We taped the narration at American University’s Kreeger Building, a state-of-the-art facility.

(Photo by Bill Gentile.)


Monday October 13th, 2014

October 2014 Workshop One of the Best

WASHINGTON, DC, 5 October 2014 — The October 2-5 Video Workshop was one of the best we’ve ever conducted. We had a small but select group of participants assisted by workshop veterans Bruce Jones, Nick Ray and Esther Gentile.

We all are deeply privileged to continue holding these events, and to share our craft with other, like-minded practitioners.


Tuesday October 7th, 2014

“Through Their Eyes” Screens at Catholic University

WASHINGTON, DC, 29 September 2014 — Students, faculty and administrators at Catholic University in our nation’s capital screened our documentary, “Through Their Eyes,” about six AU Abroad students in Cuba during Fall Semester 2011. We were invited to show the film to students interested in studying abroad. After the screening, I made the point about how unique our time in Cuba was, especially in relation to other abroad excursions.

This film was a long-term project, with my wife, Esther Gentile, editing the piece over a stretch of many months. Just as importantly, it was Esther who pushed me not to drop the project, in the face of a busy schedule in Cuba and the pressures of teaching my “Photojournalism and Social Documentary” class, conducting numerous Video Workshops on the island and a executing a substantial amount of freelance work.
(Photo by Bill Gentile)

Sunday September 21st, 2014

Old Friends and New in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, 19 September 2014 — The last night of my five-day journey to El Salvador certainly was the most gratifying.

Not only did I have the opportunity to meet old friends and colleagues that I haven’t seen since last working there in 1990, but I had the extraordinary honor of meeting and sharing with a new generation of Salvadoran journalists.

Pictured with me here is Luis “La Muneca,” Romero, who might be considered the Honorary Dean of the Salvadoran Press Corps.

(All Photos by Julia Salazar de Duarte)

Above right, Edgar Romero who, along with his wife Enayda Argueta, own and manage Fotocafe, at the event. On the left is photojournalist Oscar Machon.


Above, patrons of Fotocafe watch a film I showed there.



Below, Luis “La Muneca” Romero, myself, Oscar Machon. Bottom, Mike Goldwater (left), who covered the 1980s civil war, and Edgar Romero.















Sunday September 21st, 2014

Warm Welcome at Diario de Hoy


SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, 19 September 2014 — Despite a breaking story about the impending arrest of a former president on charges of corruption, a large contingency of reporters, photojournalists, editors and managers of the daily newspaper, Diario de Hoy, attended my presentation. It was a measure of Salvadoran hospitality that they put aside their professional duties for a bit to respectfully attend the event.

As in other encounters, the topic of my discussion was, “The Role of Journalism in a Democratic Society.” I was invited to visit El Salvador by the US Embassy in the capital.

(Photo by Bill Gentile)


Sunday September 21st, 2014

The Price Paid to Practice Our Craft

SANTA ANA, El Salvador, 18 September 2014 — I met with a room full of students at the Catholic University of El Salvador (UNICAES) in the western city of Santa Ana and showed them a rather graphic film of journalists covering violence during the Civil War of the 1980s.

I believe it is important that Salvadoran journalists too young to remember that conflict be reminded how some of their predecessors suffered and died for the privilege of practicing our craft. I think it was a lesson that they had yet to learn before my arrival.

(Photo by Bill Gentile)

Sunday September 21st, 2014

The Role of Journalism in Salvadoran Society

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, 18 September 2014 — I visited this morning with staff of the Salvadoran daily newspaper, La Prensa Grafica, one of the largest and most influential outlets in this Central American country.

Invited by the US Embassy in San Salvador, I spoke with the staff members about the role of journalism in a democratic society.

Especially now, with smart phones and the Internet available to so many, the tools of vibrant citizen journalism are available to vast sectors of this, and many other, societies. I stressed that these tools could/should be used to tell stories with video, which I believe is a much more immediate and intimate medium than is the printed word. And I reviewed my own transition from newspaper reporter to foreign correspondent to photojournalist to documentary filmmaker.

During my week here, I showed some of my work not just in El Salvador but around Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Photo by Bill Gentile)