Filmmaker Robert Greenwald was born in New York City on August 28, 1943. His father was the prominent psychotherapist Harold Greenwald (1910-99), and his uncle was the choreographer Michael Kidd (c. 1915-2007). After attending New York’s High School of Performing Arts, Greenwald launched his career as a director in the theater, with The People vs. Ranchman (1968) and A Long Time Coming and A Long Time Gone (1971).
In 1972 Greenwald moved to Los Angeles, where he continued working as a theater director at the Mark Taper Forum. There, he directed Me and Bessie (1975) and I Have a Dream (1976), a play based on the life of the late Martin Luther King Jr.
In subsequent years, Greenwald became a television director as well—first under the banner of the Moonlight Productions company which he established, and then under Robert Greenwald Productions. He created television movies, miniseries, documentaries, and theatrical films that dealt with a variety of social and political themes. All told, Greenwald produced and/or directed more than 50 TV movies and miniseries, including The Burning Bed (1984) and A Woman of Independent Means (1995). He also brought to the big screen such feature films as Xanadu (1980), Breaking Up (1997), and Steal This Movie (a 2000 production lionizing the Sixties radical and drug felon Abbie Hoffman).
Inspired by what he perceived as widespread “voter rights abuses” in the American political process, Greenwald in 2002 redirected his efforts toward documentary filmmaking when he produced Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election—a film purporting to expose how George W. Bush’s controversial victory over Al Gore reflected “the undermining of democracy in America.”
On December 10, 2002, Greenwald collaborated with actor Mike Farrell to launch Artists United to Win Without War, an activist alliance of entertainment-industry luminaries who opposed a U.S. invasion of Iraq.
In 2004 Greenwald released Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties—a cinematic broadside against the USA Patriot Act.
That same year, Greenwald became the founder and president of Brave New Films (BNF), which makes extensive use of guerrilla filmmaking—independent video production characterized by low budgets, skeleton crews, simple props, and tight schedules where scenes are shot quickly, in real-world locations, without advance notice and without obtaining permission from either public or private authorities.
At BNF, Greenwald went on to produce and direct, over the ensuing decade, eight full-length documentaries and more than a dozen short videos on a variety of political themes. For a list and brief synopsis of each of his full-length features, click here.
Between 2007 and 2010, Greenwald was an identified member of Journolist, the now-defunct online listserve consisting of some 400 self-described liberals who coordinated their political reporting to favor Democratic candidates and policy positions. Greenwald also has been an advisory council member of J Street since at least 2009, and a contributing blogger to the Huffington Post since May 2005.
Over the course of his professional career, Greenwald has recived many awards and accolades from left-wing entities like the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, the Liberty Hill Foundation, the National Lawyers Guild‘s Los Angeles chapter, the Office of the Americas, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. His films have garnered 25 Emmy nominations, and he won a Peabody Award in 2001.
For additional information on Robert Greenwald, click here.