Jon Alpert

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Jon Alpert
VOA CHINESE Jon Alpert 4Mar10.jpg
Alpert in 2010
Born1948 (age 70–71)
OccupationJournalist, film director

Jon Alpert (born c. 1948) is an American journalist and documentary filmmaker of Jewish ethnicity, known for his use of a cinéma vérité approach in his films.

Life and career[edit]

A native of Port Chester, New York, Alpert is a 1970 graduate of Colgate University,[1] and has a black belt in karate.[citation needed]

Alpert has traveled widely as an investigative journalist and has reported from Vietnam, Cambodia, Iran, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Cuba, China, and Afghanistan. He has made films for NBC, PBS, and HBO. Over the course of his career, he has won 15 Emmy Awards and three DuPont-Columbia Awards. He has been nominated for a 2010 Academy Award in the category of Best Documentary, Short Subject for China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province.[2] He was nominated for a 2012 Academy Award in the same category for Redemption.[3] Alpert won the Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media with co-director Ellen Goosenberg Kent for their documentary War Torn: 1861-2010.[4]

In 1972, Alpert and his wife, Keiko Tsuno, founded the Downtown Community Television Center, one of the country's first community media centers. He has interviewed Fidel Castro several times,[5] and was one of the few Western journalists to have conducted a videotaped interview with Saddam Hussein since the Persian Gulf War.[6]

In 1991, while employed by NBC, Alpert was the first American journalist to bring back uncensored video footage[7] from the first Persian Gulf War. The footage, much of it focusing on civilian casualties, was cancelled three hours before it was supposed to be aired, and Alpert was simultaneously fired. Later that year, CBS Evening News Executive Producer Tom Bettag planned to air the footage but this airing was also cancelled, and Bettag fired.[8]


  • 1980: Third Avenue: Only the Strong Survive (Director)
  • 1982: Vietnam: Picking up the Pieces
  • 1985: Vietnam: Talking to the people
  • 1989: One Year in A Life of Crime (Director/Producer)
  • 1991: Rape: Cries from the Heartland (Executive Producer)
  • 1995: High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell (Cinematographer/Producer)
  • 1995: Lock-up: The Prisoners of Rikers Island
  • 1998: Life of Crime 2
  • 1998: A Cinderella Season: The Lady Vols Fight Back
  • 2002: To Have and Have Not (Director)
  • 2002: Afghanistan: From Ground Zero to Ground Zero (Director)
  • 2002: Papa (Director/Producer)
  • 2003: Latin Kings: A Street Gang Story (Director/Editor/Cinematographer/Producer)
  • 2003: Coca and the Congressman (Director)
  • 2004: The Last Cowboy (Director)
  • 2004: Dope Sick Love (Executive Producer)
  • 2004: Off to War (Executive Producer)
  • 2004: Bullets in the Hood: A Bed-Stuy Story (Executive Producer)
  • 2005: Venezuela: Revolution in Progress (Cinematographer)
  • 2006: Baghdad ER (Director/Producer)
  • 2007: The Bridge TV Show (Executive Producer/Cinematographer)
  • 2008: Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery (Co-Director/Co-Producer)
  • 2008: Dirty Driving: Thundercars of Indiana (Director/Producer)
  • 2008: A Woman Among Boys (Co-Director/Co-Producer)
  • 2009: China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province (Co-Director/Co-Producer)
  • 2012: In Tahrir Square (Co-Director/Co-Producer)
  • 2013: Redemption (Co-Director)
  • 2014: The Other Man: F.W. de Klerk and the End of Apartheid (Executive Producer)
  • 2015: The Latin Explosion: A New America (Director/Producer)
  • 2016: Banking on Bitcoin (Producer)
  • 2016: Mariela Castro's March (Director/Producer)
  • 2017: Rock and a Hard Place (Director/Producer)
  • 2017: Cuba and the Cameraman (Director/Producer/Writer)
  • 2018: All for One (Co-Director)


  1. ^ "Documentary by Jon Alpert 70 earns Oscar nod". Colgate University. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  2. ^ 2010 Oscar Full List | The 82nd Academy Awards
  3. ^ The 85th Academy Awards for 2013
  4. ^
  5. ^ Fidel Up Close: Filmmaker Jon Alpert on His Many Encounters With Castro Over the Past 30 Years Archived 2007-01-10 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Exclusive – Democracy Now! Airs Rare Interview With Saddam Hussein Shortly After First Gulf War Archived 2007-01-09 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Video | Robert Scheer Interviews Jon Alpert | Link TV". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  8. ^ Project Censored 1991 - Story #1: CBS AND NBC SPIKED FOOTAGE OF IRAQ BOMBING CARNAGE Archived 2011-07-21 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]