Jamila Wignot is an award winning documentary producer and director who has made films on subjects ranging from the American outlaw Jesse James, to the poetry of Walt Whitman, to her most recent film about the devastating 1911 fire at a leading garment factory, the Triangle Waist Company. Whether her work focuses on significant figures or every-day individuals, she aims to create experiential, visually dynamic films that illuminate the shared experience of our humanity.
If working as a filmmaker were not privilege enough, Jamila has had the great honor of being recognized by her peers and fellow documentary film lovers. In 2009, she was awarded WGBH Educational Foundation's Peter S. McGhee Fellowship, which honors an individual whose work reflects excellence, intelligence, fairness, passion and scholarship. Her 2008 documentary film WALT WHITMAN, produced for WGBH’s AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, was nominated for a Creative Arts Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Non-fiction Filmmaking. Prior to WALT WHITMAN, she produced THE REHNQUIST REVOLUTION. This one-hour film was the fourth episode for Thirteen/WNET’s series, THE SUPREME COURT. Her episode won a 2007 Cine Golden Eagle Award for history and a 2008 NYf Silver Medal for International Television Broadcasting for History and Science. The series was the 2007 IDA Limited Series winner and also garnered a 2008 Silver Gavel Award for Documentary from the American Bar Association. Her other producing credits include JESSE JAMES and MASSIE AFFAIR, which aired on WGBH’s AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Prior to her work as a producer and director, she worked on other PBS programs including RECONSTRUCTION: THE SECOND CIVIL WAR and on the series RACE: THE POWER OF AN ILLUSION.
This past June, she produced and directed TRIANGLE FIRE for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Set during the American industrial era of the early 1900s, this one-hour documentary explores the aspirations and struggles of the garment workers, most of them young, immigrant women, who died in the fire at the Triangle Waist Company. Though the death of the 146 garment workers ushered in an era of unprecedented reform, the film serves as a powerful reminder of the human costs behind America’s transformative historical moments. The film will broadcast in the spring of 2011 in commemoration of the 100 year anniversary of the fire.
Jamila is currently surviving the sweltering New York City summer while cooking up new projects, including an exploration of the lives and experiences of Americans who have discovered a new found political-voice and community among the Tea Party organizations cropping up throughout the country.