John Carlos Frey

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John Carlos Frey
Born Juan Carlos Frey
Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Alma mater University of San Diego
Years active 1996–present

John Carlos Frey born in Tijuana, Mexico, is a four time Emmy nominated, Mexican-American freelance investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles. His investigative work has been featured on 60 Minutes, a three-part series for PBS entitled "Crossing the Line;" several episodes of Dan Rather Reports, "Angel of the Desert," and "Operation Streamline" and Fusion TV. Frey is currently a Fellow at the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute and a special correspondent for The Newshour on PBS.

In 2011 Frey documented the journey of Mexican migrants across the US-Mexico border and walked for days in the Arizona desert risking his own life for the documentary Life and Death on the Border". John Carlos Frey has also written articles for the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, Salon, Need to Know online, the Washington Monthly, and El Diario (in Spanish). Frey's documentary films include The Invisible Mexicans of Deer Canyon (2007), The Invisible Chapel (2008), and The 800 Mile Wall (2009). He is the 2012 recipient of the Scripps Howard Award and the Sigma Delta Chi award for his Investigative Fund/PBS reporting on the excessive use of force by the US Border Patrol.


Frey was born in Tijuana, Mexico.[1] His father was Swiss-American and his mother was naturalized US citizen of Mexican descent. His family moved to San Diego, California, where he attended parochial schools, and later studied film and graduated from the University of San Diego. Early in his life, Frey sought to hide his Mexican heritage. “I wanted to pass as American, I didn’t want to accept that I was part Mexican”, Frey said. “It was really easy to leave my culture behind.”[1] Frey's mother was once picked up by US Border Patrol agents and deported because she was unable to convince them of her legal status.[2]


Before becoming a documentary filmmaker and journalist Frey was a Hollywood actor for ten years. His acting career includes roles in The Practice, Days of Our Lives, Married With Children, JAG, Weird Science, Party of Five and Freaky Friday among others.[3]


Frey's independently produced documentaries include Invisible Mexicans of Deer Canyon, The Invisible Chapel, The 800 Mile Wall, One Border One Body and Life and Death on the Border.[4]

Frey was the main correspondent for the February 15, 2013 episode of PBS's "Need To Know", titled: "Outlawed In Arizona" highlighting a years-long dispute over a Mexican-American studies program in Tucson, Arizona.[5]


  • 2014 Emmy Award Nomination for Best Continuing Coverage of a News Story
  • 2014 IF Stone Award (Izzy) for Outstanding Independent Journalism
  • 2014 National Headliner Award for PBS "Dying to Get Back"
  • 2014 National Headliner Award for Magazine Article Washington Monthly, "Crossing the Line"
  • 2013 Emmy Award Nomination for Outstanding Investigative Journalism in a News Magazine
  • 2013 Emmy Award Nomination for Best Report in a News Magazine
  • 2013 Sidney Award for Socially Conscious Journalism
  • 2013 Clarion Award for Best Television Investigative Feature
  • 2013 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Investigative Reporting
  • 2012 Scripps Howard Award for Broadcast Journalism
  • Best Film International Hispanic FIlm Festival
  • Best Film Political Film Society
  • Best Movie (2003) - San Diego Latino Film Festival [1]
  • Phoenix Award - Santa Barbara International Film Festival [6]


  1. ^ a b c De Sainz, Pablo (2003-05-02). "The Gatekeeper: A film about undocumented people". La Prensa San Diego. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ "Arizona: A State with Hate". The Huffington Post. 2010-04-06. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  3. ^ "John Carlos Frey - IMDB". Internet Movie Database (IMDB). Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ "About Us". Gatekeeper Foundation. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ Ray Suarez (February 16, 2013). "Outlawed In Arizona". PBS. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  6. ^ "Santa Barbara International Film Festival (2002)". Retrieved 2011-06-07. 

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