American Masters (2011 Season) – Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter

Production Biographies

Air date: 12/19/2011

American Masters Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter Premieres nationally Monday, December 19 at 10 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings)


Production Biographies


Jason Cohn

Producer and Co-Director

Jason Cohn first became aware of Charles and Ray Eames through their films after a friend introduced him to their six-volume DVD set. The chair obsession followed. Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter is Jason’s first feature documentary. He previously produced segments for the PBS program Frontline World, associate-produced for Frontline and field-produced for the award-winning PBS series Remaking American Medicine. He was the Los Angeles bureau producer for the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), covering American stories west of the Mississippi. As a public radio reporter, producer and managing editor, Jason covered the culture of technology for Beyond Computers and Asian art, culture and politics for the nationally syndicated radio program Pacific Time. As a writer, he has written documentaries for National Geographic and PBS, and his articles have appeared in the National Affairs section of Rolling Stone, Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle, and other major periodicals. Jason lives in Berkeley, California with his wife, two boys, a cat, and a plastic aquarium full of Sea Monkeys™.


Bill Jersey

Producer and Co-Director

Bill Jersey has been producing documentaries for broadcast television for more than 40 years. In the early 60s, he established his reputation as one of the pioneers of the cinema-verité movement. Since then he has produced documentaries for all of the major networks and in association with PBS, WNET (New York), KCET (Los Angeles), WGBH (Boston), and others. Jersey’s body of work includes two Academy Award nominations: A Time for Burning, on race relations in America, and Super Chief, on the life and legacy Chief Justice Earl Warren. Other award-winning productions include The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow series (George Foster Peabody Award), Children of Violence (Emmy), Renaissance (Emmy nomination), Faces of the Enemy (Emmy nomination), Loyalty and Betrayal (Emmy), Hunting the Hidden Dimension (Pierre Gilles deGennes Award), and The Making of Amadeus. He is based in New Jersey.


Don Bernier


Don Bernier is a Bay Area-based, Emmy-nominated documentary editor, who has edited several programs for David Grubin Productions in New York, including episodes of the award-winning PBS series The Mysterious Human Heart and The Jewish Americans. In 2009, Bernier co-edited the PBS special The Botany of Desire, based on author Michael Pollan’s best-selling book. He has cut several episodes of National Geographic Television’s popular Explorer series, including Mystery of the Disembodied Feet and, most recently, A Murder in Greensboro for Winton/duPont Films in San Francisco. As a producer/director, Don Bernier’s work has screened at Slamdance, Los Angeles Film Festival, Independent Film Festival of Boston, San Francisco International Film Festival, and numerous other venues across the country.


Arwen Curry

Associate Producer

Arwen Curry is a San Francisco Bay Area native and a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where she studied documentary film with Jon Else (Cadillac Desert). In addition to Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter, Curry is the director of a feature documentary in progress about writer Ursula K. Le Guin. Among other projects, she associate-produced the NEH-funded film Regarding Susan Sontag and worked with Academy Award-nominated directors Sam Green (The Weather Underground) and Justine Shapiro (Promises). Curry has also written for magazines, radio and film, and is the former editor of Maximumrocknroll magazine. She lives in San Francisco.



Susan Lacy

Series Creator and Executive Producer

Susan Lacy has been an award-winning originator of primetime public television programs since 1979. As the creator and executive producer of American Masters, she has been responsible for the production and national broadcast of more than 160 documentary films about our country’s artistic and cultural giants, those who have made an indelible impact on the American landscape. Now celebrating its 25th season on PBS, American Masters has garnered unprecedented awards and is consistently recognized by television critics as “the best biographical series ever to appear on American television.”


In addition to her executive producing role, Lacy is an award-winning filmmaker. Her 2004 Judy Garland: By Myself earned her an Emmy award for writing and an Emmy nomination for directing.  She wrote, directed and produced Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind (IDA nomination for Outstanding Documentary) and Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note (Emmy award and DGA nomination).  She produced the Peabody award-winning Paul Simon: Born at the Right Time, directed and produced Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval, and directed and produced Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice – all for American Masters. She recently produced LENNONYC, a film exploring John Lennon’s life in New York City, and is currently directing a film on David Geffen.


Under her leadership, American Masters received the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011 as well as 15 other Primetime Emmy awards – 5 for Outstanding Nonfiction Specials and the other 10 in various craft categories.  In addition to 11 Peabody awards for John Hammond: From Bessie Smith to Bruce Springsteen, Unknown Chaplin, Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow, Paul Simon: Born at the Right Time, Alexander Calder, F. Scott Fitzgerald: Winter Dreams, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film, Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About, LENNONYC, and A Letter to Elia, she received Grammy awards for Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, and When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors, 33 additional Emmy nominations, an Academy Award and four nominations.


Lacy’s career in public television began in 1979, as deputy director of performance programs at Thirteen/WNET New York.  She was senior program executive for Great Performances and worked as director of program development with The American Playhouse, where she was a founding member.  Lacy then ran the East Coast office of Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute from 1984 to 1987.  She was a consulting producer at Time-Life Video during the launch of Time-Warner’s new initiatives in long-form documentary production.  Lacy also led programs at both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Lacy was one of the select 2005 honorees at the Museum of Television & Radio’s “She Made It” event, which recognized 50 exceptional women who have created and informed the genre, and a 2008 Washington, DC Women of Vision Awards recipient, honoring those in film and video who inspire and mentor. She was again honored in Washington, DC in 2010 as the recipient of the Cine Golden Eagle Lifetime Achievement Award. She serves on the board of governors of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, on the board of the Film Forum and is a trustee of the Independent Documentary Association.  Lacy is a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, the Independent Features Project and New York Women in Film & Television.


Lacy has a BA in American Studies from the University of Virginia, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and an MA in American Studies from George Washington University.  She was a Graduate Teaching Fellow, a Smithsonian Fellow and completed a residency at the American Academy in Rome.  In 1994, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Long Island University and in 1996, she was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year at Mary Washington College, the women’s college of the University of Virginia.