“Journalism, for me, has always been a calling, There are things that must be exposed to the light, truths that must be uncovered, stories worth risking your life for.” – Leslie Cockburn
An American writer, producer and director, Leslie Cockburn has often found herself in situations where her life was at risk. But she relentlessly “followed the story,” traveling the globe to capture award-winning news, features and documentaries alike.
Born Leslie Redlich (on this date in 1952), Cockburn makes her home in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Andrew Cockburn, also a journalist and film producer with whom she both produced programs and co-authored several books,
She first got into filmmaking as an undergraduate student at Yale, where she learned her craft with a 16mm camera. Right out of college she went to work making films, but was drawn to journalism working as both a feature reporter and producer for NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS, where she made documentary features for the program Front Line in collaboration with her husband.
In 2009, she directed and co-produced (with Andrew) her first feature documentary for theatrical release. American Casino, the story of the origins, progress and consequences of the subprime mortgage disaster that led to the greatest U.S. financial crisis since the Great Depression. For perhaps the best look – and understanding of that crisis – this has become the “go to” film to see.
“When you are on assignment, you stick to the facts, limit your vision, and often cut out the most revealing material,” she has said about her reporting and producing style. “(For a reporter) there is no texture, no shades of gray.”
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