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PETER JONES

WRITER - DIRECTOR - PRODUCER

"Revelation of character must anchor a film’s narrative trajectory. Character is best revealed one detail and one story at a time. We rely on evidence more than exposition."

Two-time Emmy award-winning filmmaker Peter Jones began his career as a broadcast journalist. A graduate of Stanford University (BA in American Studies, 1978) with a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University (1981), Jones served as a news and feature reporter for KVUE (ABC) in Austin, Texas; an anchor for WSLS (NBC) in Roanoke, Virginia; and an assignment editor for KCBS-TV in Los Angeles. Jones won numerous honors, including several Outstanding Achievement Awards from United Press International and The Associated Press.

In 1987, he formed Peter Jones Productions, originally specializing in documentaries related to the history of the Hollywood film industry. The company produced 85 profiles for the A&E series Biography over a ten-year period. Jones became well known for securing previously unattainable rights without relinquishing editorial control, including those for such subjects as Charlie Chaplin, Dr. Seuss and Georgia O’Keeffe. Music artists were a specialty. In addition to features on Sam Phillips, Brian Wilson and Nat King Cole, PJP produced a week of profiles on musical talent from the famed Brill Building, culminating in a two-hour special entitled Hitmakers: The Teens Who Stole Pop Music.

Jones wrote and directed a two-hour Biography special on Judy Garland that won a 1997 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Series, the first for the network. His 2-hour special, Ozzie and Harriet: The Adventures of America’s Favorite Family, became the highest-rated documentary in the network’s history, earning a 1999 Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series. In 2001, his film, Goldwyn, premiered on the critically acclaimed PBS series, American Masters. In 2002 he received the Producer of the Year Award from the Producers Guild of America for Biography.

In 2003, Jones produced and directed Sunset Junction, a feature-length verite documentary about a Beverly Hills hairdresser who becomes an unlikely father figure to gang members and the neglected children of illegal immigrants.

In 2006, Stardust: The Bette Davis Story had its U.S. premiere on Turner Classic Movies, garnering Jones and his team the best reviews in the company’s history, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming, and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Nonfiction Special.

In 2009, Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times, a documentary on the single-family reign of four publishers of the Los Angeles Times newspaper premiered as a national primetime special on PBS, a first for a documentary on Los Angeles. The film received the prestigious Peabody Award, America’s highest honor in electronic media.

His latest production, the multiple Emmy-nominated Johnny Carson: King of Late Night, premiered in May 2012 and is the highest rated episode in the 26-year history of the PBS series American Masters.

Peter is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA), the Directors Guild of America (DGA), and the Writers Guild of America (WGA).

 

Peter Jones