writing, directing, and producing award winning documentary films and non-fiction media content for television and the web


Americans hated and feared him.  Mexicans saw him as a hero.  But to Yellowbird, the Cherokee journalist and poet who created him, Joaquin Murrieta offered a shot at literary fame, financial success, and a way to wrestle with the demons of his own past.  (feature documentary/currently in production/PBS/John J. Valadez - Writer, Director & Producer)
For nineteen years he was imprisoned, framed for a crime he didn’t commit.  A leader of the Black Panther Party fights a secret government program and searches for justice and freedom. (1994/one hour/PBS-POV/John J. Valadez - Director)
        - San Francisco International Film Festival - Golden Gate Award
        - USA Film Festival - Grand Prize & Best Non-Fiction Film
        - Chicago International Film Festival - Gold Plaque Award
        - EarthPeace International Film Festival - People’s Choice Award
        - National Educational Film Festival - Silver Apple Award
        - Philadelphia International Film Festival - Best Short Documentary
        - Worldfest Houston - Gold Award
        - Atlanta International Film Festival - Best Short Documentary
        - North Carolina International Film Festival - Best Documentary
        - Columbus International Film Festival - Bronze Plaque Award
        - Bombay International Film Festival - Best First Film of a Director
        - Black Maria Film Festival - Jurrors Choice Award
Making Peace
part 1: Writer and former gang leader, Luis J Rodriguez struggles to save his son from the gang life he left behind.  Part 2: Following the murder of her son, Clementine Barfield organizes other traumatized families to reclaim the streets of Detroit (1996/one hour/PBS/Moira Productions/John J. Valadez - Director & Producer)
Matters of RACE the divide
A sudden and unprecedented wave of Mexicans moves into a small American town, and a community finds itself divided - grappling with a dark legacy of hate. (2003/one hour/PBS/Roja Productions/John J. Valadez - Writer, Director & Producer)
        - 2003 Worldfest Houston - Gold Award
From the ashes of poverty in the South Bronx, Spanish harlem and the Lower East Side arose the Nuyorican poetry of power and aspiration (2003/two hours/PBS/Galan Productions/John J. Valadez - Segment Producer)
        - 2005 Alma Award for Best Television Documentary Series
Beyond Brown: pursuing the promise
Across the country America’s public schools are re-segregating along racial lines and it is the most vulnerable children who must bear the burden and pay the price (2004/one hour/PBS/Firelight Media/John J. Valadez - Segment Producer)
    -2005 Award for Broadcast Excellence: outstanding work in the coverage of
               race and ethnicity in journalism, Columbia University Graduate School of 
CNN PRESENTS: High Stakes Testing
No Child Left Behind was the boldest education reform in a generation, and it was to be a cornerstone of the Bush presidency.  There is just one problem: for many children it is a disaster. (2005/one hour/CNN/Firelight Media/John J. Valadez - Writer, Director & Producer) 
        - 2005 Cine Golden Eagle Award
        - 2006 Award for Broadcast Excellence: outstanding work in the coverage of     
                    race and ethnicity in journalism, Columbia University Graduate School
                   of Journalism
        -2006 Distinguished Documentary Achievement, The International
                    Documentary Association (IDA).
A chronicle of the tumultuous birth, extraordinary rise and antagonistic dismantling of affirmative action - one of the most ambitious and far-reaching civil rights initiatives in American history.  (2006/half hour/Firelight Media/John J. Valadez Writer, Director & Producer)

The Last Conquistador

An artist’s quixotic ten year quest to realize an impossible dream leads him on a controversial trail of murder, determination, triumph and regret. (2008/feature documentary/PBS-POV/John J. Valadez -Writer, Director, Producer & Executive Producer)
The Head of Joaquin Murrieta
Middlesexes: redefining he and she
The blurring of genders and the serious social and family problems faced by those who fall somewhere in between male and female. (2006/ninety minutes/HBO-America Undercover/Carleen Ling-An Hsu - Producer)
After all others had been silenced, his lonely act of defiance against the Chinese regime amazed the world.  What became of him? And 17 years later, has China succeeded in erasing this event from its history? (2006/ninety minutes/PBS-FRONTLINE/Carleen Ling-An Hsu - C0-Producer)
Is sexual denial healthy?  Is there a link between mandated celibacy and sexual abuse? Why is celibacy required for the clergy? Who benefits from it and what is its effect on those who accept it? (2004/ninety minutes/HBO-America Undercover/Carleen Ling-An Hsu - C0-Producer)
A Question of Miracles

Televangelists Benni Hinn and Reinhold Bonnke claim to heal the sick and cure the dying by using the power of prayer and the will of god.  Do they perform modern day miracles or are they using their charisma to manipulate and exploit the most vulnerable? (2001/ninety minutes/HBO-America Undercover/Carleen Ling-An Hsu - Producer)
We love fat so much that 91 million Americans are considered obese, and an epidemic of malignant weight gain is taking hold across the planet.  Inundated by tens of thousand of food ads each year, influenced by a standard of beauty that is unattainable, and fighting a primal craving, we are losing the war on fat.
(1998/ninety minutes/PBS-FRONTLINE/Carleen Ling-An Hsu - Co-Producer)
Body Doubles: the twins experience
From the macabre experiments of Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele to todays genetic research the study of twins has both illuminated and darkened our understanding of ourselves. (1997/ninety minutes/HBO-America Undercover/Carleen Ling-An Hsu - Co-Producer)
        - 1997 George Foster Peabody Award
Christie’s Story
Standing just over 5 feet tall Christie Martin weighted over five hundred pounds. When her doctor told her she would die if she did not get a stomach by-pass operation she went in for the risky procedure.  she thought it would give here a chance to begin her troubled life all over again. (1998/ninety minutes/Carlton UK Television-The Learning Channel/Carleen Ling-An Hsu - Producer)
        - 2000 Gold Cindy Award
From the birth of Tejano, through the music that galvanized the Chicano movement, to 
the top of the charts with Ritchie Valens, Freddy Fender, Los Lobos, and Linda Ronstadt, this film explores the evolution of Mexican-American music from the 1950’s to the 1990’s  (2009/One hour of a four hour series/WGBH-PBS-BBC/John J. Valadez - Director, & Producer (Written with David Espar)
     -2010 Cine Golden Eagle Award
     -2010 Award for outstanding achievement in American music and civil rights history                            
                from The California State Legislature
     -2010 Gold Plague from the Chicago International Film Festival
When a soldier’s widow is denied the use of a funeral chapel because “The whites won’t like it”, a civil rights movement is born.  The Longoria Affair would eventually help propel John Kennedy to the White House and lead to passage of the most important civil rights legislation of the 20th century.  But for many the incident is part of a past they would rather forget. (2010/One hour/WGBH-PBS-Independent Lens/John J. Valadez - Writer, Director, & Producer )
    -2011 Currently nominated for an Emmy Award (Outstanding Historical Program)
    -2011 Imagen Award, Best Documentary in Film or Television       
    -2011 Award for Outstanding Contribution to American Civil Rights History from the                    fffffffffCalifornia State Legislature
    -2011 Premio Letras de Aztlan Award - Outstanding Contributions to the Chicana &
             Chicano Community through documentary film from The National Association for
             Chicana & Chicano Studies and South Texas College


Thousands of Iranian citizens took to the streets, opposing the rigged election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.   One protester, a young woman named Neda Agah-Soltan was shot in the hart.  A cell phone caught her brutal death on film and within hours her image went around the world.  She became a symbol of the Iranian people’s struggle against tyranny.  (2010/Ninety Minutes/HBO/Carleen Ling-An Hsu - Co- Producer)

    -2010 George Foster Peabody Award

    -2010 Foreign Press Association Media Award