7/23/20: Virtual Talks with Video Activists: Tom Weinberg

Tom Weinberg is a pioneering TV and nonfiction producer who has worked in video for more than 50 years.

Watch the screening and discussion with Media Burn founder Tom Weinberg.

Video continues to be a force in generating social change and exposing the realities of life in America. That’s why Media Burn Archive is presenting a series of screenings and discussions with pioneers of video art and activism.

This edition features Tom Weinberg, who has been a force in videomaking for over 50 years, and Media Burn is just one of his many notable projects.

Tom Weinberg, lower center, with the Media Burn Archive team in 2006.

Tom Weinberg’s career began in print journalism, before he went on to become a pioneering TV documentary and nonfiction producer. He has achieved national acclaim for the more than 500 programs he has produced. That includes five Chicago-Midwest Emmys for those programs and series.

Weinberg was a pioneer in independent video in the 1970s with TVTV. He further pioneered the use of archival materials in education, teaching video and documentary courses at Columbia College Chicago and Loyola University Chicago. He graduated from the University of Michigan and has a master’s from NYU.

In 1978, Weinberg created and began producing the independent film and video showcase Image Union. He went on to found Fund for Innovative TV (FITV). It was through FITV that Weinberg created and executive produced The 90’s, a breakthrough independently-produced series that aired nationally on PBS.

The title card for Weinberg’s The 90’s. The show ran from 1989 to 1992, consisting of 52 total hours of video. It was a groundbreaking independent project and was televised nationally on PBS. Tom Weinberg worked to create and executive produce the show alongside Joel Cohen.

In 2003, Weinberg founded Media Burn Archive Independent Video Archive as another project of FITV. Today the Archive holds more than 8000 documentary and nonfiction videos, with over 4000 available to watch free online. In total, the site has garnered more than 20 million page views.

Outside of video, Weinberg also authored Chasing the Lost City: Chronicles of Discovery in Honduras. The nonfiction book describes his voyage through the Honduran jungles in search of a city lost to history. The journey ends in historical and archeological breakthrough, and the book relies on Weinberg’s own journal entries in addition to hundreds of photos.

Weinberg’s awards include a shared duPont-Columbia award for documentary; Chicago Producer of the Year; Silver Circle award from TV Academy; and the Studs Terkel Community Media award. Weinberg has worked with MTV, WGN-TV, NBA on CBS, and Tokyo Broadcasting. His work has been exhibited in museums in Tokyo, London, Paris, Rio, and New York.

Weinberg is a fourth-generation Chicagoan with lots of kids and grandchildren. Nearly all of his documentaries are online on mediaburn.org.



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