ABOUT THE WORKING GROUP
Founded in 1988, The Working Group is an Oakland-based non-profit
media company that combines television, internet and web resources
with outreach and organizing efforts in the areas of workplace
issues; race, diversity and the battle against intolerance;
and encouraging democracy and citizen participation. In addition
to producing the Not
In Our Town PBS series and national anti-hate campaign,
TWG is the largest distributor of workplace media in the country,
producing the award-winning public television series We
Do the Work and Livelyhood.
Our PBS documentary Test
of Courage: The Making of a Firefighter follows a
diverse group of aspiring firefighters navigating the cultural
divides to learn to live together and meet the intense daily
pressures of saving lives.
Director of Photography Blake McHugh
on location at a foundry in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
PATRICE O'NEILL, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Patrice O'Neill, executive producer
of The Working Group.
Co-founder of The Working Group, Patrice O'Neill has produced
successful national series on PBS for fifteen years. The
Working Group's 1995 story of how the town of Billings,
Montana, responded to a rash of hate crimes, Not
In Our Town set a new standard for television impact.
What began as a half-hour PBS special has turned into a
national movement. In collaboration with the Independent
Media Institute and Benton Foundation, O'Neill led an unprecedented
outreach campaign featuring screenings and town hall meetings
in hundreds of communities nation-wide. The resulting grassroots
campaign against hate and intolerance gained the endorsement
of city councils, schools, churches, legislatures, labor
unions, and civic organizations across the country and it
continued with a second television special, Not In Our
Town II. The Not In Our Town campaign continues in communities around the country to this day. In 2005, TWG partnered with KQED-TV to produce the first-ever regional Not In Our Town Special, Not In Our Town Northern California: When Hate Happens Here. A new national Not In Our Town special is planned for 2006.
O'Neill's The Fire Next Time follows a deeply divided group of Montana citizens caught in a web of conflict over growth, the environment and the power of talk radio. This ITVS production was broadcast on the PBS series POV in 2005.
The Working Group's public television series We Do
The Work and Livelyhood,
created and produced by O'Neill, have brought work-related
issues to the public in a style called "a stroke of television
genius" by the San Francisco Examiner and an "off-beat
and uplifting series...with uncommon humor and grace" by
the Wall Street Journal. O'Neill executive produced
Kyung Sun Yu and Gary Mercer's ITVS production Test
Of Courage: The Making of a Firefighter on the Oakland
Before launching The Working Group in 1988, O'Neill was
a freelance television producer, with credits including
KQED's "Express" and KRON's "Weekend Extra." O'Neill continued
her documentary work with a series on farmworker issues
including "Voices From the Edge of the Dream" and a profile
of the dramatic 1984 copper mining strike in Arizona, "High
Stakes in Morenci."
RHIAN MILLER, SENIOR PRODUCER
A co-founder of The Working Group, Rhian Miller is producer of Not In Our Town and Not In Our Town II: Citizens Respond to Hate. Together with executive producer Patrice O'Neill, Miller has led the company's NIOT campaigns which have accompanied the PBS broadcasts of each program and continue today. She is a producer on The Working Group's 2005 co-production with KQED, Not In Our Town Northern California: When Hate Happens Here.
Miller helped lead a delegation to the Czech Republic at
the invitation of the United States Ambassador in 2000.
Screenings of Not In Our Town for civic leaders,
university and high school students were followed by lively
discussions informed by issues such as the history of oppression
and current conflicts concerning the Roma population. These
public forums, and interviews with Czech citizens launching
their own efforts to promote tolerance, were documented
by The Working Group for future programs.
Director of Photography Blake McHugh
(left) and Not In Our Town Host Will Durst (right),
back row, with Senior Producer Rhian Miller (left) and
Executive Producer Patrice O'Neill (right), bottom row,
on location in Billings, Montana.
As senior producer for The Working Group, Miller has produced many of the company's award-winning programs, including titles from the series Livelyhood and We Do the Work. Miller and O'Neill's work has garnered several CINE Golden Eagles, gold and silver plaques from the Chicago International Television Festival, Gold and Silver Apples from the National Educational Film Festival, and the National Education Association's Learning Through Broadcast Award.
Before joining The Working Group, Miller directed the award-winning film "Strikestory," about the 1934 San Francisco General Strike, and edited the internationally acclaimed independent feature "Shuttlecock."
KELLY WHALEN, PRODUCER
Director of Photography Gary Mercer,
left, and Producer Kelly Whalen, right, on location
in St. Cloud, Minnesota, for Livelyhood.
Kelly Whalen started her journalism career at The Working
Group when she joined the company in 1996. She was a producer of Livelyhood, Not In Our Town Northern California: When Hate Happens Here, and a co-producer of The Fire Next Time. Her work has also been featured
on MSNBC, TechTV and the statewide public television series
"California Connected." She received a master's degree in
Journalism from U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.
Brian Dentz was pulled into the orbit of the Working Group in early 2002 to help on The Fire Next Time as a camera person, production manager and boom operator. Brian comes from a background working on New York indy films and as a newspaper journalist for papers in Manhattan and Mississippi. As of late, when he's not fly fishing in the Catskills or drinking Morrir Sonandos in Brooklyn, NY, his home turf, he is working as a camera person and producer on TV documentaries and news.
Humorist Will Durst (right) with
Hal Rosenthal (left), featured in the Livelyhood
episode "Shift Change."
Will Durst has hosted the Working Group series Not In Our
Town, Livelyhood, and We Do The Work. Durst
has been called "a modern day Will Rogers" by the L.A. Times,
"heir apparent to Mort Sahl and Dick Gregory" by The San
Francisco Chronicle, a "hysterical hybrid of Hunter Thompson
and Charles Osgood" by The Chicago Tribune, and "the
dark Prince of doubt" by The Washington Post. Durst
writes a daily Internet column, was a contributing editor
to both National Lampoon and George magazines
and continues to pen frequent contributions to various periodicals
such as The New York Times and his hometown San
Francisco Chronicle. This five-time Emmy nominee is
also a regular commentator on NPR and CNN. His participation
in the NIOT campaign has helped bring media attention to the
issue of communities combating hate violence. Will Durst's
performances are made possible by the First Amendment.
Bob Laird has been a writer, producer and editor for 25 years, and has contributed his work to over thirty documentaries and television specials with The Working Group since 1988. Laird co-produced and edited the Eddie Izzard comedy special "Dressed To Kill," which won an Emmy for HBO, and was video editor for the Academy Award-winning documentary "In the Shadow of the Stars." An expert online editor, he was involved in the development of the Final Cut Pro editing system. Laird is a veteran in the field of television commercial and corporate videos, and is founder and partner in Flickerbox Inc. a computer design and implementation firm specializing in video production, editing, corporate presentations, and web design.
Blake McHugh has been principal photographer on all Not
In Our Town projects, as well as being director of photography
for The Fire Next Time.
He also shared director of photography credits on The Working
Group's Livelyhood series. McHugh was also director
of photography for "Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life On Earth,"
the PBS series on microbiology. He is a contributing photographer
for "60 Minutes," "60 Minutes II," "Dateline," "Good Morning
America," and various Travel Channel and Discovery Channel
Director of Photography Gary Mercer
on location for Livelyhood.
After fifteen years of shooting news and documentaries at
KRON/NBC San Francisco, Mercer established his own business
as a director of photography, camera operator and producer.
He was principal photographer on TWG's Livelyhood
series, and with Kyung Sun Yu, he produced and was director
of photography for Test of Courage: The Making of a Firefighter,
which aired nationally on PBS in September 2000. Other credits
include "Dateline NBC," "Life 360," "National Geographic
International," and the PBS documentaries "Searching for
Asian America" and "Rising Waters: Global Warming and the
Fate of the Pacific Islands." Awards for his work include
the Edward R. Murrow Award for Reporting from the Radio
and Television News Directors Association, the National
Press Photographers National Award for feature photography,
and three Emmys.
Linda Peckham is The Working Group's video editor and post
production supervisor. During her decade with the company,
Linda has participated in the flourishing of TWG's programming,
from the initial We Do The Work series, to Not
In Our Town and Livelyhood. She started out on
VHS, and is now fully non-linear with a left hand that knows
what her right hand is doing. She served as editor on KQED's
award-winning series, "Green Means." Peckham has worked
as an editor and research assistant with award-winning independent
filmmakers Trinh T. Minh-ha, Leslie Thornton, and Jim Culp.
She has written about media and cultural politics for the
AFI Readers series, Discourse, and Motion
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