Over the years, they have worked with companies like HBO, NBC, The New York Times, Discovery Times, and the US Paralympics to bring their audience relevant and powerful material. Serving as the directors, producers, and editors on each project, the Renaud Brothers are the creative force behind numerous award-winning films including Dope Sick Love (2005), Off To War (2005), and Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later (2007). Their most recent film, Haiti Hospital(2010), explores three different lives in the aftermath of the tragic earthquake that struck Haiti.
The Renaud Brothers have spent the last decade producing award winning news and documentary programs around the World. From places like Kosovo, Afghanistan, Bolivia, China, Pakistan, Iraq, Cambodia, Juarez and Haiti, their productions have appeared on most of the major news and television outlets in the United States and many from abroad. The Renaud Brothers are regular contributors to the New York Times, and the founders and artistic directors of the Little Rock Film Festival.
In 2001, the Renaud brothers collaborated on a groundbreaking series of documentary specials on college football rivalries for ESPN. The specials became the popular ESPN series The Season, and helped the brothers develop and showcase a raw cinema verite style, rarely seen on television at the time.
In 2005, their feature-length documentary Dope Sick Love, which followed drug addicts on the streets of New York City, was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Documentary. When it aired, Dope Sick Love received the highest ratings for a documentary in the history of HBO at that time. The Renaud brothers’ film Off To War, which followed the Arkansas National Guard for a year on the frontlines in Iraq and aired as a 10 part series on the Discovery Times Channel, won some of the most prestigious awards in documentary filmmaking. Off To War won an International Documentary Association Award, an Overseas Press Club Award, Best TV Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Grand Prize at the Tokyo Video Festival and was nominated for the Director’s Guild of America Award in 2005 amongst directors such as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Ang Lee and Paul Haggis. Men’s Vogue Magazine named the Renaud brothers among the top five war reporters in the world in 2005 for their combat coverage in Iraq during the filming of Off To War. The Renaud brothers were the first filmmakers in the history of television to follow a unit of soldiers through an entire deployment at war. Off To War was a unanimous hit among the industry’s harshest critics.
Upon their return from Iraq, the Renaud brothers continued to follow the stories of American combat veterans in a Discovery Times Channel documentary called Taking The Hill. In November 2006, more than 50 veterans of the U.S. armed forces from around the country vied for seats in Congress.† At no other time in history had so many veterans run for national office at the same time. Though each of the races was unique, what bound the candidates was their shared intense disagreement with the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war and their dismay with continued cuts to veterans’ programs back home. From Eric Massa, a retired Navy commander in rural New York State; to Rick Bolanos, a Purple Heart recipient in Vietnam; to Tammy Duckworth, an Army captain who lost both her legs when a rocket hit her helicopter in Iraq, the documentary followed the stories of these veterans as they fought their respective political battles. The film premiered on the Discovery Times Channel on December 12, 2006.
In 2006, Brent and Craig Renaud returned to their hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas to begin filming the HBO documentary, Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later. In September 1957, Little Rock Central High School became ground zero for the civil rights struggle for equal education in America. After Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus defied the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling and ordered the National Guard to prevent nine black teenagers from entering Central High School, President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by sending troops from the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army to protect the students as they entered the building.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the forced integration of Central High School, Brent and Craig Renaud followed the lives of contemporary Central High students, teachers and administrators, as well as community leaders and members of the Little Rock Nine, over the course of a year, visiting classes, school meetings and assemblies, teenagers’ homes and community events. Sharing the stories of both black and white students, the film explored the opportunities and challenges facing them in and out of the classroom. For many Americans, the desegregation of Central High is merely a chapter in history books. But the students of Little Rock Central High live in the ever-present wake of this historic event, growing up amidst complex race, class and socio-economic issues. Today, though the school is desegregated, some say it is still not fully integrated.
The film debuted on HBO on September 25, 2007, the 50th anniversary of the crisis at Central High, and won the 2007 National Education Writers Association TV Documentary Award and was nominated for a NAMIC (National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications) Vision Award.
In 2009 The Renauds traveled to the front lines of the drug war in Juarez, Mexico, where they produced a five-part video series for the New York Times online. Exposing the brutality of the drug violence that was erupting just across the US border from El Paso, The reports were featured daily on the home page of the New York Times, during the week of President Obama’s visit to Mexico to address the mounting crisis there.
In 2009, The Renaud Brothers were sent by Dateline NBC to spend a year inside Arkansas Children’s Hospital, following second year resident doctors as they tackle the toughest year of their lives. The one hour documentary, The Heroes of Children's Hospital featured Dr. Nancy Snyderman of NBC News, and chronicled the emotional and heart wrenching path to the making of a doctor.
In 2010, the Renaud Brothers were sent by the New York Times to cover the earthquake tragedy in Haiti. Their reports from that disaster zone are ongoing.
DOPE SICK LOVE (2005)
Dope Sick Love is the story of two drug addicted young couples living on the streets of New York City. What you see is what the filmmakers lived, over the course of 18 months. With no music, and no narration, Dope Sick Love is cinema verite at its rawest and most pure form. No film has ever taken the viewer this far, and this close, into a life of crime, drugs, and addiction. From weeklong drug binges and uncensored sexual prostitution to family members who have lost hope, Dope Sick Love shows it all. Both couples in the film claim to be in love, but their relationships are at the mercy of drugs, and the lifestyle that addiction demands. All attempts to get clean end in failure, while the couples desperately try to hold on to the only thing meaningful they have left on the streets, each other.
OFF TO WAR (2005)
From Arkansas to Baghdad, Off to War is the human saga behind one of the biggest news story of our time. The 10 part documentary series represents the first time in television history that a single unit of soldiers and their families have been followed from the beginning to the end of a deployment at war.
In October 2003, the brother filmmaking team Brent and Craig Renaud, natives of Arkansas, began filming the deployment of 3,000 part-time soldiers from the 39th Brigade of the Arkansas National Guard as they left their civilian jobs and their families to fight in Iraq. With the regular military branches stretched thin, this would be a troop movement of historical importance, the largest deployment of the National Guard to a combat zone since the Korean War.
Sergeant Ronald Jackson is a turkey farmer, Sergeant Joe Betts is a minister and Sergeant David Short is a police officer. “ These are not guys who ever planned to go to war,” said Craig Renaud, “these are people with regular jobs just like you and me, who joined the National Guard to help fight floods in their backyard, not fight insurgents halfway around the world.” Right away the filmmakers knew there were two important untold stories here, and Off to War focuses equally on these part-time soldiers being sent off to battle, and also on the families who were left behind with little notice or preparation to tend the farms on their own, to raise children, and to endure the daily bad news about Iraq coming from their television sets.
From scenes of full-scale combat, to a soldier’s funeral; from the birth of a first child to the heartbreaking return home of a critically injured soldier; Off to War is the new millennium’s real Band of Brothers.
TAKING THE HILL (2006)
In November 2006, more than 50 veterans of the U.S. armed forces from around the country will be vying for seats in Congress. Since WWII, there has not been this many veterans running for national office at the same time. Taking The Hill tells the story of a group of veterans, most with no prior political experience or aspirations, who have chosen political action as a means to further answer the call of service to their country.
Beginning in February 2006, when U.S. Army veteran Mike Lyon brought together the veteran candidates in Washington, D.C., in a loose coalition called the Band of Brothers 2006, the Renaud brothers have followed the candidates as they travel throughout their home states: Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. Although most of the veterans considered themselves politically independent, or in some cases Republican, during their active military careers, they have come together this year to run as Democrats.
Though each of the races is unique, what binds the candidates is their shared intense disagreement with the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war and their dismay with continued cuts to veterans’ programs back home. From Eric Massa, a retired Navy commander in rural New York State, to Rick Bolanos, a Purple Heart recipient in Vietnam, to Tammy Duckworth, an Army captain who lost both her legs when a grenade hit her helicopter in Iraq, this documentary will follow the stories of these veterans as they head into their respective political battles.
Having spent much of their working lives in the military, these veterans do not have personal wealth to fund their campaigns, nor do they have the political connections it takes to easily raise the vast amounts of money necessary to compete politically at the national level. Tammy Duckworth says that “all of us are underdogs,” running largely in conservative districts and often against entrenched Republican incumbents. Eric Massa calls himself a “no name, no money” candidate who, like the other Band of Brothers candidates, nevertheless believes he has what it takes to win.
Taking The Hill is about a group of outsiders fighting political battles and motivated by a desire to serve their country – not by going to war this time, but by going to Washington.
LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL: 50 YEARS LATER (2007)
The wave of desegregation that transformed the South during the 1960s began in Little Rock in September 1957. After Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus defied the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling and ordered the National Guard to prevent nine black teenagers from entering Central High School, President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by sending troops from the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army to protect the students as they entered the building.
But what is the legacy of the Civil Rights struggle for equal education today? To mark the 50th anniversary of the forced integration of Central High School, Little Rock natives Brent and Craig Renaud provided a candid look at the lives of contemporary Central High students in the documentary Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later, which debuted in 2007 exclusively on HBO.
WARRIOR CHAMPIONS (2009)
Warrior Champions tells the emotional and inspiring story of a group of severely wounded American Soldiers, as they fight to turn nightmares of war into Olympic dreams. Iraq War Veterans Kortney Clemons, Scott Winkler, Melissa Stockwell, and Carlos Leon, as little as a year after losing limbs and suffering paralysis fighting for their country in Iraq, have set out to do what many thought impossible; to compete in the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. Through failure, pain and triumph Warrior Champions follows these soldier athletes for a full year as they compete for their spot on the US Paralympic team. The film goes inside the famous Ward 57 of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where Melissa and Scott mentor recently wounded soldiers who are battling depression. ‘I was in your shoes not too long ago.’ Melissa tells Juan, who lost both of his legs in Iraq. ‘But I’m telling you, I’ve done more in life with one leg than I ever would have done with two.’ Doctors at Walter Reed say they never would have dreamed that a wounded soldier could make it to the Paralympics so quickly after sustaining traumatic war injuries, and these athletes give the patients the hope many thought they had lost forever. Though at times heart wrenching, Warrior Champions is not a sad tale of the tragedy of war, but rather an uplifting testament to the human spirit that challenges every notion of what it means to be disabled.
HAITI HOSPITAL (2010)
The Renaud Brothers spent the months prior to the earthquake covering Haiti for the New York Times. After the earthquake stuck, they turned their cameras to the disaster, producing an emotional and inspiring pure cinema verite document of one of the worst disasters in human history. Following three separate stories—a Haitian taxi driver who lost his family beneath the rubble, a twelve-year-old girl who was paralyzed when her school fell on top of her, and a Haitian American Navy soldier sent to help—Haiti Hospital in one hour will take viewers deeper into this major international story than the 24-hour cable news channels ever could.
New York Times Contributions
The Lost Children of Haiti
World: Security in an Insecure Land
World: Saving Lives on the U.S.N.S. Comfort
World: Haiti's Legacy of Environmental Disaster
Haiti Quake Day 9: Hospital Ship Arrives
ADVICE FROM A GRANDMA BEAUTY QUEEN
Advice From A Grandma Beauty Queen
Awards and Recognitions
Dope Sick Love (2005)
- 2006 EMMY for Best Documentary ||
- 2005 CINE Golden Eagle Award
- Best Documentary, 2005 Big MiniDV Festival
- Certificate of Merit, 2005 Chicago International Television Awards
- 2005 TELLY Award
- 2005 Grand Prize, Syracuse International Film and Video Festival
Off To War (2005)
- Best Direction in Documentary, Directors Guild of America 2005 ||
- IDA Award for Best Limited Series, 2006
- The Overseas Press Club of America Carl Spievogel Award 2006
- Best Television Documentary, San Francisco International Film Festival 2005
- Grand Prize, Tokyo Video Festival 2005
- Silver Plaque in National News Series, Chicago International Television Awards 2005
- Silver Plaque in Special Achievement, Chicago International Television Awards 2005
- The Stanford Certificate of Merit, United Nations Film Festival 2005
- Bronze Remi Award, Houston Int’l Film Festival 2005
- 1st Place Best Documentary, Big Muddy Film Festival 2005
- Honorary Mention Best Documentary, Oakland Film Festival 2004
- Tribeca Film Festival 2005
- Silverdocs Festival 2005
- Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival 2005
- Hamptons International Film Festival 2005
- Tokyo Video Festival 2006
Warrior Champions (2009)
- Best Political Feature, SINY Film Festival 2010
- Documentary Prize, Naples International Film Festival 2010
- Austin Film Festival 2009
- Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival 2009
- Tiburon International Film Festival 2010
- Cleveland International Film Festival 2010
- Newport Beach Film Festival 2010