Academy Award, Emmy Honors, Alfred I DuPont Columbia and Sundance Award winning filmmaker, Vanessa Roth has been writing, directing, and producing premium documentary features, shorts, series, and social justice impact work for over 25 years. With the goal of bringing our common humanity to light, to amplify the stories of marginalized people, places and unknown or forgotten narratives in history – Vanessa is dedicated to storytelling that engages and impacts viewers while pushing creative bounds with a cinematic, authentic, intimate, and collaborative approach to every unique project.
Vanessa has garnered the highest of honors in documentary, film, television, social justice, and journalism with over 60 awards including the Oscar, The Television Academy Emmy Award for Social Impact, The Alfred I DuPont Columbia Award, Sundance Special Jury Awards, The Gracie Award, Women Image Award’s highest honors, Cine Golden Eagles, Casey Medals, Impact Doc Awards for Best in Show and Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking, IDA honors, Audience Awards and Jury Prizes at top festivals around the world, as well as special honors for her work in social impact, social justice, witness to history and legacy, youth empowerment and equal rights.
Vanessa’s visceral, textured, and emotional projects are made around the world, from big cities to the most rural villages, and from the stories of icons in music, movies, art, sports, politics, and science – to those whose lives have never been recognized. Her immersive and collaborative approach to filmmaking and impact campaigns have brought her through her decade long project in rural India where she followed the lives of Dalit children in her Netflix series Daughters of
Destiny; into the Middle East on projects with UNESCO, into multiple countries in Africa and China for work around genocide and healing with the USC Shoah Foundation, and South America for her National Geographic Series IMPACT. Her decades of work in the United States focuses on civil rights, child welfare, education, juvenile justice, mental health, and discrimination.
Her films and series are made and distributed by National Geographic, Disney+, Amazon, Netflix, Discovery, PBS, HBO, A&E, ESPN and the BBC, as well as with international non-profits, NGOs, brands, foundations, organizations, museums, memorial halls, public art exhibitions and universities. Her work has screened at hundreds of international festivals, the Obama White House, for multiple sessions in Congress and inside the United Nations. She has collaborated and co-created content with and interviewed legendary artists and global leaders in science, history, and policy from around the globe.
At the helm of over 20 films and streaming series’, some of Vanessa’s most notable work includes the upcoming Wynton Marsalis Democracy Project, Anxious Nation, , Mary J Blige’s My Life (Amazon Prime), National Geographic Presents IMPACT with Gal Gadot (6 parts – Nat Geo, Disney +), Daughters of Destiny (4 parts -Netflix), The Other Side (30 for 30 on ESPN), Liberation Heroes: The Last Eyewitnesses (Discovery), The Girl and the Picture (Theatrical), Freeheld (HBO), American
Teacher(Amazon), The Texas Promise (PBS), Taken In (PBS), Aging Out (PBS), No Tomorrow (PBS), Close to Home (Theatrical, Discovery), 911 Toxic Dust (A&E), Third Monday in October (Theatrical/Sundance Channel/ Special Presentation at President Obama’s Inauguration).
Additionally, Vanessa has been an ongoing Adjunct Professor, Visiting Artist, Key- Note and TedX Speaker at high schools, colleges and universities around the world focused on fundamentals of non-fiction storytelling, documentary production, ethics in filmmaking, cross cultural collaborations, human rights, the environment, youth and female empowerment, ethics, legacy, memory, history, and storytelling.
She is often a Consultant and Story Advisor for international businesses, NGOS, non-profits and organizations who use storytelling to make a difference on the planet.
Vanessa received a BA in Creative Writing and Psychology from UCLA and holds a Masters’ degree in Social Work and minor in family law from Columbia University. Before making films, she worked as a writer and director for the Arts and Education programs for NY City Public Schools and a child advocate for Legal Aid and the UCLA Rape Treatment Center. She lives in New York with her husband and three children and is the daughter of Archeologist/Anthropologist Linda Roth, and Academy Award Winning Screenwriter, Eric Roth.