ITVS is mourning last week’s loss of an exceptional filmmaker and esteemed colleague, Gail Dolgin. Senior Programming Manager Richard Saiz pays tribute.
The passing of Gail Dolgin on Thursday, October 7 is a huge loss for all of us who care about the art and craft of the documentary. Gail was a member of the Bay Area’s tightly knit community of independents. Not only was she one of the most talented, she was a tireless mentor and friend to many in that group.
For us, she has the distinction (along with her co-producer, Vicente Franco) of creating one of the outstanding documentaries ever funded by ITVS, Daughter from Danang (1997). Not only was it one of only a handful of documentaries to receive an Oscar nomination, Daughter was the first ITVS program to air on PBS’s primetime series American Experience.
Personally, it was always a pleasure to work with Gail. She was a complete professional who not only created powerful documentaries, but also contributed to ITVS as a skillful and insightful panelist and reader for Open Call.
Beneath the cool intellect and measured demeanor, was the fervent spirit of a woman motivated by a desire to examine America’s history through the documentary. Gail believed in the power of television to enlighten and educate American audiences about our character as a nation. Her latest project, which remains unfinished, was about the foot soldiers of the African American civil rights movement who remain largely unknown and unsung heroes. It was the latest example of how Gail applied her humanistic values and belief in social justice to her work.