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Karen Bernstein, Bernstein Documentary

Whether it be the story of singer, Ella Fitzgerald, or Blackwell School president, Joe Cabezuela, Bernstein Documentary is dedicated to recording a broad swatch of American history, unveiling each story in the edit room, and broadcasting them for the world to discover.

Emmy and Grammy award-winning Karen Bernstein has spent over 25 years producing, researching and editing with some of the most prestigious producer/ directors in the documentary field, including Susan Lacy (PBS American Masters), Charlotte Zwerin (PBS American Masters), Helen Whitney (PBS American Masters and Frontline), Henry Hampton (Blackside, Inc.), Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue (Body of War).

She has recently produced both the television and theatric versions of Fixing The Future: NOW on PBS with David Brancaccio as host (Jumpstart Productions). Troop 1500 toured film festivals and other venues throughout the country and received an audience award at SXSW in Texas, and a Gracie Award in 2007. PBS’ Independent Lens broadcast the documentary in March of 2006. Body of War won the award for Best Documentary from the National Board of Review in 2007 and was “short-listed” for an Academy Award.

With support from the Hogg Foundation, Houston Endowment, and Meadows Foundation, Are The Kids Alright?, stories about children’s mental health in Texas, was originally broadcast on PBS in June of 2004. It won a Lone Star State Emmy award for outstanding documentary in 2005.

In her role as a series producer for American Masters and producer of Ella Fitzgerald – Something To Live For (1999), Bernstein received a national Emmy award for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series. For producing Lou Reed – Rock and Roll Heart (1998), she received a Grammy award. In 2000 she co-produced American Masters/Juilliard (2002) and American Masters/Clint Eastwood. Her work has been screened at over 100 international film festivals including Sundance and Berlin. At American Masters she was responsible for pre-production, production and post-production on other feature-length biographies: Richard Avedon, Lena Horne. In addition she advised on over 20 biographical portraits, including those of Rod Serling, Leonard Bernstein, Joseph Papp, Alfred Stieglitz.

Premium cable network credits include Ellen Spiro’s documentary, Atomic Ed & The Black Hole for HBO’s Cinemax- Reel Life and, The Wrestling Party, a short documentary for HBO. At the Sundance Channel, Karen Bernstein produced and directed a documentary portrait of the L.A. based filmmaker, Mike Mills, entitled Meet Mike Mills (2002), and a short profile of the filmmaker, Eugene Jarecki, for the premiere of Doc Day.

With the high definition satellite TV series, Gallery HD, she produced two documentaries about two Texas artists and groups, Julie Speed and the innovative gallery, Ballroom Marfa. Throughout 2003, she was the Producer for Evan Smith’s Texas Monthly Talks, a television series out of KLRU in Austin. Her short film on Elizabeth Streb (PopACTION) , dancer and choreographer, was awarded a New York State Council on the Arts grant.

Since 2006, Karen Bernstein has been living in Far West Texas, producing and editing film and radio documentaries. She often travels to help finish documentaries like Forgiveness; A Time To Love and a Time To Hate (directed by Helen Whitney for PBS) and supervised production on Fixing The Future: NOW on PBS. She has recently made a very popular web video for on the craft movement in Marfa, click here to view. Current projects include a short documentary about grackle birds in Austin entitled, What Do They Want?, a webisode series on Marfa and a documentary feature with Galan Inc, Children of Giant, which has been awarded research and development funding from Latino Public Broadcasting.

Download Karen's bio (pdf).