Mariana van Zeller

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mariana van Zeller
Mariana van zeller.jpg
Mariana van Zeller

(1976-05-07) May 7, 1976 (age 42)
EducationColumbia University Graduate School of Journalism (MA) and Universidade Lusíada de Lisboa (BA)[1]
OccupationCorrespondent journalist
Years active2000–present
Notable credit(s)
National Geographic
Spouse(s)Darren Foster[1]
ChildrenVasco (b. 2010)
  • Eduardo Belo van Zeller (father)
  • Marta Filomena de Vilhena de Bettencourt (mother)
AwardsPeabody Award
WebsitePersonal web site

Mariana van Zeller (born May 7, 1976 in Cascais, Portugal) is a Peabody Award winning Portuguese journalist and correspondent for National Geographic Channel. She is also chief correspondent for Fusion. She is a former correspondent for the Vanguard documentary series on the former Current TV.


Van Zeller studied International Relations at the Universidade Lusíada de Lisboa.[1][when?] After graduation, she spent two years working at SIC, which was at that time the first and largest Portuguese private television network. First, she began working in the travel and international departments of the main networks channel, and later she joined SIC Notícias, which is the networks news channel.[2]

She applied for a Masters degree to Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism three times: her first application was rejected, and her second was wait-listed. After her third application in 2001, van Zeller flew to New York City and knocked on the dean's door, explaining her dream of becoming a journalist in the United States.[1] The dean was impressed and allowed her to enroll.[2]

One month after van Zeller moved to New York City, the September 11 attacks took place. She was contacted that morning by a producer from SIC Notícias, where she had previously interned. She was directed to meet a news crew atop the CBS Building in Midtown Manhattan, where she would go live in three hours. Before going on air, she was told: "Prepare yourself. The whole of Portugal is watching you."[3][4]

After receiving her degree from Columbia, van Zeller moved to London to work for a documentary producer, with hopes of covering the Iraq War. With London as her new base, she studied Arabic at Damascus University in Syria in order to better seek out stories in the Middle East. Over the next two years, her freelance documentaries from Syria appeared on PBS's Frontline/World, the CBC, and Channel 4 (United Kingdom). In 2005, she joined Current TV as a correspondent and producer for the Vanguard documentary series. Van Zeller is fluent in Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian and French. She also speaks some Arabic.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Van Zeller is married to her former Columbia classmate Darren Foster, who is a series producer and director with National Geographic Channel. In July 2010, she gave birth to her first child, a son named Vasco.[1]

She became an American citizen on March 17, 2015.


Cerissa Tanner, Benita Sills, Adam Yamaguchi, Joel Hyatt, Mariana van Zeller and Darren Foster at the 69th Annual Peabody Awards for The OxyContin Express
  • City of God, Guns & Gangs - Documentary about Brazil’s bold new initiative to transform Rio de Janeiro’s slums before the country hosts the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
  • Gateway to Heroin - Documentary about how and why OxyContin has fueled a new heroin epidemic in Massachusetts.
  • This (Illegal) American Life - Documentary about people living unlawfully in the United States, exploring the life of a senior UCLA student and a strawberry picker.
  • Narco Bling (2012) Documentary about the spoils of the drug cartels of Sinaloa, Mexico.[5]
  • Missionaries of Hate - A Documentary about the influence of American religious in making homosexuality a crime punishable by death in Uganda.
  • The OxyContin Express - A documentary about prescription drug (opioids) abuse in the United States.
  • Rape on the Reservation - A documentary about the Native American women raped in Indian reserves.
  • Soccer’s Lost Boys - A documentary about the hidden side of football in South Africa during the world cup.
  • America’s Secret War - A documentary about the support of militant groups attacking Iran.
  • Sri Lanka: Notes From a War on Terror - A documentary about the final days of Sri Lanka’s civil war and the Tamil Tigers.
  • Chinatown, Africa - A documentary about China’s rapidly growing presence in Africa.
  • Rebels in the Pipeline - A documentary about the oil conflicts in Nigeria.
  • Obama’s Army - A documentary about Obama Campaign team, workers and young volunteers.
  • Lagos la Vida Loca - A documentary about the rapid growth of the city of Lagos.
  • Elixir of the Toxic Frog - A documentary about the deforestation of the Amazon and the destruction of the bio diversity.
  • El Chapo: CEO of Crime - A documentary on one of the world's most powerful drug lords.
  • Pimp City: A Journey To The Center of The Sex Slave Trade.

See the complete list of Mariana Van Zeller documentaries in Vanguard (TV series)


Year Award Organization Work Category Result
2008 Livingston Award for Young Journalists Mollie Parnis Livingston Foundation Reporting on the Iraq-Iran Border Best International Reporting Nominated[6]
2009 Webby Award International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences "Obama's Army" News & Politics: Individual Episodes Won[1][7]
2010 Peabody Award Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication "The OxyContin Express" Won[1][8]
2011 "Greatest Person of the Day" Huffington Post March 23, 2011 Won[9]
Livingston Award for Young Journalists Mollie Parnis Livingston Foundation "Rape on the Reservation" Won[10]

"The OxyContin Express" also received the 2010 Television Academy Honor, a Prism Award and an Emmy nomination.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Público—-interview (in Portuguese)
  2. ^ a b c Rua de Baixo—-interview (in Portuguese)
  3. ^ Goldman, Ari. "What have you learned in school today?". September 11, One Year Later. The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  4. ^ Van Dusen, Matt (June 4, 2002). "Reporting from Ground Zero". The Big Story/UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  5. ^ IMDB
  6. ^ 13th Annual Webby Awards Archived 2011-08-15 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Webby Awards Winning Speeches". Archived from the original on 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "In Search Of The Underdog's Story". Huffington Post. March 21, 2011.
  10. ^ [2]

External links[edit]