Reporting from Crisis Zones

To launch our series of events on the concept of crisis, we are delighted to feature the work of Bill Gentile, journalist, filmmaker and professor at American University’s School of Communication. View photos from the event

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Reporting from Crisis Zones

Wednesday September 23, 2015, 1 pm

Malsi Doyle and Michael Forman Theater, McKinley Building 2nd floor



About Bill Gentile

Bill Gentile is an independent journalist and documentary filmmaker teaching at American University in Washington, DC. His career spans three decades, five continents and nearly every facet of journalism and mass communication, most especially visual communication, or visual storytelling. He is the founder and director of American University’s Backpack Journalism Project. He is a pioneer of “backpack video journalism” and today he is one of the craft’s most noted practitioners. He is the author of the highly acclaimed “Essential Video Journalism Field Manual.” He engineered the School of Journalism’s 2015 partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and is the driving force behind that initiative.

Bill Gentile began his career in 1977 as reporter for the Mexico City News and correspondent for United Press International (UPI) based in Mexico City. He covered the 1979 Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua. He spent two years as editor on UPI’s Foreign Desk in New York, then moved to Nicaragua and became Newsweek Magazine’s Contract Photographer for Latin America and the Caribbean. His book of photographs, “Nicaragua,” won the Overseas Press Club Award for Excellence. He covered the U.S.-backed Contra War in Nicaragua and the Salvadoran Civil War in the 1980s; the U.S. invasion of Panama; the 1994 invasion of Haiti, the ongoing conflict with Cuba, the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War and the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s also worked in Ivory Coast, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Chad, Angola, Rwanda and Burundi.

In 1995 Gentile went to work for Video News International (VNI), precursor of The New York Times Television Company. He has completed assignments for The Learning Channel, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic Television, ABC’s Nightline With Ted Koppel, NOW With Bill Moyers, NOW hosted by David Brancaccio, Court TV and Lion TV.

He shared the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Human Rights Reporting, Honorable Mention, for a story on rape during the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. He shared two National Emmy Awards and was nominated for two others.


Have a look at some of his work here:

God and Gangs: Criminal Violence and Religion in Guatemala

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 5.01.12 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 5.11.31 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 5.06.05 PM

A 3-part film series on religion and gangs in Guatemala. Click on the links to see the films on YouTube

I. The Gangs

II. The Researcher

III. The Pastor


Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 4.43.07 PM Reading While They Roll: Cuba’s Cigar Factory Tradition

A short documentary by Bill Gentile, profiling Odalys Lara Reyes, a reader for the cigar makers in one of Cuba’s largest cigar factories.

Click here to watch the film on



Cuba’s (Rocky) Love Affair with the Harley-DavidsonScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 5.20.40 PM

In Cuba, Harley-Davidson parts are hard to come by. Lovers of the American motorcycle go to great lengths to keep them running.

Click here to watch the film on



Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 5.23.44 PMOn the Cuban economy today

Read the story and watch Bill Gentile’s piece here.




Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 5.27.06 PMAfghanistan: The Forgotten War

Gentile’s documentary about America’s deepening involvement in that Central Asian country was broadcast in 2008 by NOW on PBS. The stories were named NOW’s Number 1 and Number 3, respectively, most popular of the year. For this piece, Gentile was nominated for a national Emmy Award.

Click here to watch this film on


Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 5.30.52 PMNurses Needed

By the year 2020, a nationwide shortage of up to 500,000 trained nurses could mean that hundreds of thousands of patients will receive less attention and substandard treatment. Just as alarming, fewer nurses are choosing to teach the next generation of professionals, resulting in tens of thousands of applicants being turned away from the nation’s nursing schools.

Click here to watch this film on


Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 5.46.47 PMThe White House: Inside America’s Most Famous Home

Gentile worked as Documentary Consultant  for this full-length documentary, for which C-SPAN gained unprecedented access to areas of the White House never before filmed. It aired nationwide on 14 November 2008, and has aired numerous times since then, and the DVD has become the best-selling DVD ever distributed by C-SPAN.

Click here to watch the film on

Photos from the event: