Stephen Robert Morse
Stephen Robert Morse
|Education||Oceanside High School (New York)|
|Alma mater||University of Pennsylvania, University of Oxford|
|Occupation||Producer, writer, director, actor|
Stephen Robert Morse is an American journalist and film director/producer. He specialises in creating documentaries, including the Emmy Award-nominated Amanda Knox and EuroTrump, focusing on Geert Wilders.
In college, he directed and produced the films Ain't Easy Being Green, a documentary about the 2006 United States Senate election in Pennsylvania and Duet, a short film about street musician and star of The Voice (U.S. season 8) Anthony Riley.
In 2008, he shot a video of the New Black Panthers blocking entrances to polling booths in Philadelphia during the 2008 United States Elections. The video was posted on YouTube and went viral with over a million views, and opened debates about voter fraud in the US, causing a Congressional investigation. Morse subsequently regretted the video's success, as it was regularly repeated on Fox News early in Barack Obama's presidential career. This allowed 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump to warn Pennsylvania voters to watch out for fraud from Democrat supporters, a charge that Morse refuted, citing that the incident he witnessed was isolated. The Philadelphia incident became known as the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case.
In February 2009, Morse founded MyTwoCensus, a non-partisan, political watchdog group for the 2010 U.S. Census. Morse also co-founded the graduate consultancy group Skillbridge, which was sold in 2016.
Amanda Knox and EuroTrump
The documentary covers Knox's life and wrongful prison sentence for murder and her subsequent acquittal. The film was nominated for an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special".
Along with co-director Nick Hampson and co-writer Maria Springer, Morse produced EuroTrump, a film about the right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who has been compared to Trump. Morse managed to gain Wilders' trust following his work on Amanda Knox; though he did not personally agree with Wilders on many issues, he felt it was important to respect them in order to find out more about Wilders' politics. He was given permission to film Wilders during campaigning for the 2017 Dutch general election, and consequently gained more access to Wilders than other news organizations. The film was released shortly after the Dutch elections at the Sheffield Documentary Festival as “Wilders” in June 2018. But after this screening, Morse, believing in the Japanese concept of Kaizen, known in English as continuous improvement, added many additional edits to the film that was then rebranded as EuroTrump.  The film discusses the rise of Twitter in politics, as Morse shows how Wilders bypasses traditional forms of media to go straight to "the people." The film begins with Morse soliciting Wilders' involvement. Morse has said that Wilders is "actually much smarter than Trump" and "knows what he's doing". The film was screened at the International Film Festival in Ferrara, Italy. EuroTrump was subsequently released on Amazon and Hulu in the USA on June 30, 2018.
In a letter to the New York Times, Morse suggested allowing Trump campaigner Steve Bannon to speak at The New Yorker Festival, despite disagreeing with his views, because he felt freedom of speech in America could suffer in the long term if America started banning people with abhorrent views from speaking in public forums.
Morse has said that working effectively with small budgets and limited time are important in making modern documentaries that deliver impact, as 24-hour news coverage and the rise of social media means that documentaries must cover ground quickly. This was why he initially released EuroTrump, originally called Wilders, only three months after the Dutch elections. He believes in a no frills approach to making documentaries while maintaining the highest quality in productions. Commenting on EuroTrump, he said, "We only shoot the scenes we need, and never use more crew than we absolutely have to."
- "Emmy-Nominated Saïd MBA Does 'Lean' Film". September 13, 2017.
- "Documentary produced by Oxford MBA alumnus receives Emmy nomination". Oxford University Saïd Business School. 21 July 2007. Archived from the original on 28 August 2017.
- "Stephen Robert Morse". IMDb. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
- DeMersseman, William (2010). Dissed Trust: America's Crisis of Truth, Faith, and Freedom. WestBow Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-449-70366-0.
- "GOP poll watcher behind 2008 New Black Panther video is anti-Trump". Philadelphia Inquirer. October 24, 2016. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- Reilly, Ryan J. (October 19, 2016). "His Poll-Watching Video Became A GOP Obsession. Now He Wants Trump To Rein In 'Rigged' Election Talk". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
- CNN, By Liane Membis,. "Errors in census interviews misinterpret racial, ethnic identity - CNN.com". Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- "MyTwoCensus and the Future of Journalism". CBS News. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- "Talent Contest – 'War' Brewing In The Gig Economy". Forbes. April 20, 2016. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- "Alumnus produces Emmy nominated Netflix doco". Alumni Profiles. September 12, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Spangler, Todd (August 9, 2016). "Netflix to Bow Amanda Knox Doc, Films From Leonardo DiCaprio, Werner Herzog at Toronto Festival". Variety. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- "Stephen Robert Morse". Emmys. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
- "Is Geert Wilders Really The Dutch Donald?". newsweek. June 15, 2018.
- "EuroTrump". Sheffield Documentary Festival. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
- "NTR zendt op 11 oktober de film WILDERS uit". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). September 22, 2017. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- "EuroTrump documentary by MBA alumni airs on TV". Oxford University Saïd Business School. June 29, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
- "The Dutch Donald Trump could be the Netherlands' next Prime Minister". Salon. March 16, 2017. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
- Smith, Kelsey (October 24, 2017). "Meet the Man Who Trumps Donald at His Own Game". The Observer. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
- "'EuroTrump' review". Hollywood Reporter. June 29, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
- "Otto documentari per scoprire il mondo". Internazionale (in Italian). October 3, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
- "What's on TV Monday: 'The Rape of Recy Taylor' and 'Strangers'". New York Times. July 2, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
- "Was The New Yorker Right to Drop Bannon?". New York Times. September 4, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
- Neilan, Catherine (June 9, 2017). "Wilders director Stephen Robert Morse on politics, perfection and picking winners". Broadcast Now. Retrieved October 4, 2018.