We made this show during the height of the pandemic. It was hard – our production schedule was in a constant state of flux. And it was beautiful – each day was different and I made some friends for life. So it’s especially rewarding when the Television Academy recognizes the effort. I’m thrilled that Season 2 of “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” is nominated for an Emmy for best hosted nonfiction series. Congratulations to the entire staff and crew from Nutopia in London, New York and Los Angeles. You can watch it now on Disney+.
Thank You, Mr. Poitier
“I was born to 2 tomato farmers” were the first words of a tale that would captivate me for the next 6 hours and change the course of my life when Sidney Poitier sat down to tell his life story.
In 2011 we produced Oprah’s Master Class, the flagship documentary series, which launched the network OWN. It was an autobiographical series in which people who Oprah considered “masters of their lives” recalled critical turning points in their lives and relayed their life lessons. This was an important show for Oprah, and she pulled out all the stops to book her favorite people for this inaugural season. Among the most important were Maya Angelou and Sidney Poitier, whom she considered family. Read More
The World According to Jeff Goldblum
Drum roll please…
At long last, I’m thrilled to announce my latest directing project, The World According to Jeff Goldblum for Disney+. Filmed over the course of six months at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, this was a feat of research, coordination, safety, creativity, compassion and a healthy dose of silliness. You know you’ve made good career choices when Day 1 of filming is Jeff Goldblum in a pile of puppies.
The challenge: how do you make a show during a pandemic as interesting and exciting as the first season which was filmed when there were no limitations? Answer: you plan everything very carefully to be safe but you also have to leave room for spontaneity and magic. Creatively, this host-driven show was a director’s dream because every day we filmed something completely different. I mean, we’ve got trapeze artists, magicians, robots, witches, a sea lion named Diego, and a BIG DANCE NUMBER this season! Read More
Pet Portraits on iPhone
They say never work with animals or kids…but this adorable video was well worth the effort. After only a few weeks on YouTube, it has already gotten over 4.2 million views, making it the cutest instructional video on the planet.
This summer I directed remote shoots simultaneously in three different time zones and two different cities, Miami and Denver, from my laptop in Bodega Bay, CA and later in Gloucester, MA. Special thanks to Sophie, Jahmyra, the teams in Denver and Miami and the folks at Apple and Radical Media. It was a blast.
Pet Portraits on iPhone
Kathryn O’Kane, Director
The Corona Diaries, Part 1: The Shut Down
Checking in, everyone. How are we doing? I hope you all are safe and healthy. Isolation takes its toll, and I hope you are being kind to yourselves.
When everything shut down in March, I was working on a travel series for Disney+ called Parenting Without Borders. As the showrunner and director, I had assembled the most incredible team, and together we had developed a great series that the EPs and the network loved. I had wonderful partners at Disney who wholeheartedly supported our creative ideas. I also had the tremendous support and institutional knowledge of Boardwalk Pictures, which does such incredible international production with Chef’s Table and Street Food. This was going to be a beautiful, poignant series about how culture influences parenting around the world.
I think back to those days in February and March when we were conducting daily risk assessments. Because of a lack of coherent information about coronavirus from the Feds and CDC, we had to glean the risks from our own resources, the news and from our international contacts on the ground. The world started to shrink before our eyes as countries around the globe turned into hotspots, and suddenly, the coronavirus was here in the United States. Read More
Death Row Stories
Corey Williams is the kind of person who makes you want to root for him. Sincere, honest and open, he’s a hard worker and a man of few words. And 20 years ago he was sent to death row after a house party ended in the murder of a pizza delivery man. Corey was a mere child of 16, a victim of poverty and intellectually disabled. He was living in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, notorious for its tough-on-crime approach to justice where African American teens were labeled “super predators.” In short, Corey never had a chance. And yet, details of the case didn’t add up. Read More
Doing Justice to True Crime
Death Row Stories explores the fallibility of the ultimate criminal penalty, capital punishment. Told by current and former death row inmates, each episode of Death Row Stories seeks to unravel the truth behind a different capital murder case and poses tough questions about the U.S. capital punishment system. Sundays at 8pm, ET/PT on HLN. My episode “Body of Evidence” premieres June 30.
I directed two episodes of the series for Jigsaw Productions. This was my first foray into the true crime genre, which I’ve been following as a growing phenomenon over the past few years. Studies show that women consume the most media about true crime. There are many theories about why: whether it’s escapism or it’s a way to interact with our worst fears, many people are looking for reasons to why bad things happen. Death Row Stories premiered in 2014, and has since been at the forefront of true crime’s popularity exploring capital punishment in a way that’s more palatable for people who might not think they’re interested in social justice issues.
We won a James Beard Media Award for Salt Fat Acid Heat, our four-part documentary series on Netflix! Coming from the food community means a lot.
I am thrilled, honored, humbled, and happy for everyone who gave so much of themselves to make this beautiful show.
Thank you for watching, and thank you for loving it as much as we do!
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat Press!
Special thank you to everyone who is watching! We are thrilled with the amount of positive press. Here is a small sampling which I am continuing to update… Read More
Food Glorious Food
Becoming the Showrunner of a Netflix Food Series
When I was 13 years old, part of my allowance came from preparing dinner for the family once a week. This corresponded to my mother returning to work that same year, so it helped her to have a night off. I loved it, in part because it meant that I didn’t have to do the dishes, a loathsome duty for the rest of the week. That summer I also had a steady babysitting gig. The oppressiveness of Tidewater heat and humidity made it impossible to stay outside for very long, so the kid and I were often cooped up indoors with the AC on and the shades drawn. But the mother had a stack of Southern Living magazines filled with beautiful photos of recipes both traditional and fancy. From those each week I’d develop the menu and add ingredients to my father’s grocery list, which he bought without question. My mother remembers the first dinner – meatloaf roulade with a swirl of broccoli and cheese. Armed with Jacques Pepin’s step-by-step illustrated cookbook, La Technique, I tried my hand at choux pastry, and voilà, my first cream puff swans were born.