Thomas Lennon (filmmaker)

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Thomas Lennon

Thomas F. Lennon is a documentary filmmaker.

Thomas F. Lennon has alternated between historical and contemporary subject matter. His work, broadcast on PBS and HBO, has been nominated three times for an Academy Award, winning once, and has received major television awards including two George Foster Peabody Awards, two national Emmys and two DuPont-Columbia Journalism awards. He co-directed the HBO film Unchained Memories, along with Ed Bell, based on readings from the WPA slave narratives. For years, his work focused on ethnicity and race; recently he has focused on health, mounting, with filmmaker Ruby Yang, a vast multi-year AIDS prevention campaign seen over 900 million times on Chinese television. He and Ruby Yang made a trilogy of short documentary films about modern China, including The Blood of Yingzhou District, which won an Oscar in 2007, and The Warriors of Qiugang, nominated in 2011. This most recent film profiles an Anhui Province farmer's multi-year campaign to halt the poisoning of his village water by a nearby factory. Three weeks after the Oscar nomination, the local government of Bengbu, in Anhui, announced a 200 million yuan (US$30 million) clean-up of the toxic site shown in the film.

Lennon lives and works in New York City. He is married to the medical researcher Joan Reibman, best known for her work on the health of 9/11 survivors. He is at times confused with the writer-comedian Thomas Lennon and once had to return to the Writers' Guild a nice royalty check.


  • "Angle of Attack" (2011) – writer, cinematographer, producer—Public Television
  • The Warriors of Qiugang (2010) – writer, producer. Oscar nominee, Documentary Short Subject
  • Tongzhi in Love (2008) – producer
  • The Supreme Court, PBS (2007) – director (International Documentary Association, Best Series, 2007; Silver Gavel Award, American Bar Association, 2008)
  • The Blood of Yingzhou District (2006) – producer (Academy Award winner – best documentary short subject; 2007 Excellence in Media Award – Global Health Council International Documentary Festival; Chicago Doc Humanitarian Award – Chicago International Documentary Film Festival; Golden Reel Jury Prize, Best Short – VC FilmFest; Grand Jury Award – AFI Silverdocs Film Festival; Audience Award – Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival; Jury Prize Award – Documenta International Film Festival; Jury Prize Award – RiverRun International Film Festival; Nominated for Documentary Awards at the Hawaii International Film Festival, The Fund for Santa Barbara, the International Documentary Association, and the DOCNZ Film Festival)
  • Terry Sanford & the New South (2006) – producer, director, writer (Full-Frame Documentary Festival (premiere))
  • Becoming American: The Chinese Experience, PBS mini-series (2003) – series producer, writer (Emmy nominations (four); Writes’ Guild nomination; IDA nomination; Christopher Award)
  • Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives, HBO (2003) – producer, director (Sundance Film Festival (premiere), Emmy nominations (two); Christopher Award)
  • Producer, director, writer: Thomas Lennon; Writer: Shelby Steele (May 2, 2000). "Jefferson's Blood". Frontline. PBS. 
  • RKO 281, HBO (1999) (starring John Malkovich, Liev Schreiber, Melanie Griffith) – consultant (Golden Globe Award, Emmy Awards (three))
  • The Irish in America: Long Journey Home, PBS mini-series (1998) – series producer, director, writer (Emmy Award (four nominations) Writers’ Guild nomination, Grammy Award for soundtrack CD)
  • The Battle Over Citizen Kane, The American Experience (PBS, 1996) – producer, director, writer (Sundance Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Academy Award nomination, George Foster Peabody Award, Writers' Guild Award)
  • The Battle of the Bulge, PBS The American Experience (1994) – producer, writer (duPont-Columbia Award; Emmy nominations (two))
  • Tabloid Truth, PBS Frontline (1994) – producer, writer (Writers' Guild nomination)
  • The Choice (1992) – producer, writer (San Francisco International Film Festival Grand Jury Award, George Foster Peabody Award)
  • Seven Days in Bensonhurst, Frontline (PBS, 1990) – producer, writer (Emmy, Outstanding Documentary)
  • Demon Rum (1989) – producer, writer


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