Laurens Grant has worked in documentary films for more than a decade, producing documentaries for PBS and cable TV, and for non-profit organizations in Haiti and Ethiopia.
Grant is finishing a film about Mali, West African singer-songwriter Rokia Traore, a new female voice in contemporary African music, in an hour-long film called Rokia: Voice of a New Generation.
Grant is the Producer of Freedom Riders, which has its world premier at the Sundance Film Festival 2010. Grant produced the film with Director Stanley Nelson.
It is the first feature-length documentary to tell the story of a courageous band of civil rights activists, who called themselves the “Freedom Riders”, and dared defy the laws of Jim Crow in the Deep South in 1961. Mostly students, they were America’s first inter-racial and inter-religious mass movement to challenge segregation in bus and train facilities. Because of their efforts, the signs “whites only” and “colored only” were taken down forever.
Prior to Freedom Riders, Grant helped produce two ground-breaking, four-hour documentary series for PBS.
Most recently, as Co-Producer of La Onda Chicana/The Chicano Wave, hour 3 of a four-hour series on the history of Latin music in America, called Latin Music USA. The series, narrated by actor Jimmy Smits, aired nationwide on PBS in the Fall of 2009 and featured such artists as Carlos Santana, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Marc Antony, Jennifer Lopez, Linda Ronstadt, Los Lobos, Juanes and many others.
View the entire series: www.PBS.org/WGBH/Latinmusicusa
Grant won an Emmy as Co-Producer of Seeds of Destruction, hour 3 of the four-hour series Slavery and the Making of America. The series, narrated by actor Morgan Freeman, tells the story of the founding of America through the eyes of the enslaved, using first-person accounts, journals and slave narratives.
Grant was the New York producer for the six-hour series The Ascent of Money, a timely series about the history of money and its effects on the current world financial crisis. Grant worked with the series’ writer and host, acclaimed Harvard and Oxford Professor Niall Ferguson.
Prior to getting bit by the documentary bug, Grant was a trained journalist, and wrote for The Chicago Tribune and other US publications.
In addition, Grant lived and worked as a foreign correspondent in Panama and Mexico City for nearly five years. In Panama, Grant was the lead correspondent for the Panama bureau for Reuters. In Mexico City, Grant was wrote for various publications including Newsweek, the San Francisco Chronicle and The Ft. Worth Star Telegram, covering Mexican politics and women’s issues.
Fluent in Spanish and French, Grant graduated from Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. One of her professors was David Protess who developed the investigative journalism project that has helped free wrongly convicted prisoners.
Grant is a member of New York Women in Film [NYWIFT]; the British Academy of Film & Television Arts – East Coast [BAFTA]; the Independent Feature Project [IFP]; International Documentary Association [IDA]; the European Documentary Network [EDN]; and is the current Chair of the Black Documentary Collective [BDC].
Grant is a CPB/PBS Producers Academy Workshop fellow.
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