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Bill Gentile is an independent journalist and documentary filmmaker whose career spans four decades, five continents and nearly every facet of journalism and mass communication. He is a full-time professor of the School of Communication (SOC) at American University (AU) in Washington, DC. He is a pioneer of “backpack video journalism” and one of the craft’s most noted practitioners. He authored the highly acclaimed, “Essential Video Journalism Field Manual,” and its Spanish-language counterpart, “Manual Esencial de Produccion Video Periodismo.” He has conducted Backpack Journalism Workshops from Cuba to Ghana, from Bangkok to the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. He has covered stories from Central America, to the Persian Gulf, to Iraq and Afghanistan. He engineered the SOC’s partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and remains the driving force behind that initiative. He won two national Emmy Awards and was nominated for two others. He is the director, executive producer and host of the upcoming documentary series, “FREELANCERS with Bill Gentile.” He teaches Photojournalism, Foreign Correspondence, Backpack Documentary and the first Spanish-language class ever taught in the School of Communication.

His recent work also includes, “Fire and Ice on the Mountain,” a short documentary about the impact of climate change on Peruvians’ relationship with the glacier of Huaytapallana.

His recent work also includes, “When the Forest Weeps,” a short film that examines how Ecuador’s Kichwa Indians struggle as their deep spiritual relationship with the Amazonian rain forest diminishes in a clash with the forces of so-called modernity.

His work also includes the 2015 documentary, “Afghan Dreams,” which he shot, produced and wrote, about four Afghan law students – all female – who defy all odds to compete in the world’s most important competition of international commercial law. In 2013, he shot, produced, wrote and narrated a three-part film series on religion and gangs in Guatemala. The three films are, “I. The Gangs,” “II. The Researcher,” and “III. The Pastor.”

His work in Cuba includes, “Reading While They Roll: Cuba’s Cigar Factory Tradition,” for at . Also on the Time Magazine Web site, see “Cuba’s (Rocky) Love Affair with the Harley-Davidson.”

His films for PBS include, “Nurses Needed,” about the nursing shortage across the United States, and “Afghanistan: The Forgotten War,” about America’s deepening involvement in that Central Asian country. Broadcast in 2008 by NOW on PBS, the stories were named NOW’s Number 1 and Number 3, respectively, most popular of the year. For the Afghanistan piece, he was a finalist for a national Emmy Award.


  • –present
    Journalist in Residence, American University School of Communication