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Televisionation: Screen Culture: Documentarian, Clay Tweel, in Conversation with Lisa Crawford

April 13, 2022

On HBO Max

A native Virginian living in LA, Clay Tweel is a documentary director/producer/editor with a passion for telling great character-based stories. His works include Make Believe, Print the Legend, Finders Keepers, Out of Omaha, The Innocent Man and Gleason—the last of which was shortlisted for an Academy Award and named one of the 5 best documentaries of 2016 by the National Board of Review. His features have been distributed by Showtime, Netflix, and Amazon Studios while working closely with companies that include Open Road, The Orchard and Exhibit A. Most recently, Clay executive-produced and directed all four episodes of Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults, an examination of the UFO cult through the eyes of its former members and their loved ones. He is currently directing a feature documentary and producing numerous projects under his banner Parkside Films.

Since this interview was recorded, at the end of 2021, it has been announced that Clay is co-directing a feature documentary about uncovering corruption in soccer organization FIFA. Told through the lens of the late investigative journalist Andrew Jennings, it’s presumably another example of Clay’s emphasis on “singular viewpoints of characters and their experience.”

Clay and Lisa also cover:

  • His career evolution, starting as assistant editor on Seth Gordon’s arcade game competition documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, leading into the acclaimed Gleason and beyond
  • His desire “to figure out why people do what they do,” and the compassionate portrayal of complex human experience in the Heaven’s Gate docuseries
  • Working in “the golden age of nonfiction,” the future of true crime unscripted content, and Clay’s thought that Liz Garbus’s outstanding I’ll Be Gone in the Dark so powerfully explored the genre that we’re now “potentially in a post-true crime world”

(Televisionation: Screen Culture features Lisa Crawford—a cultural commentator and expert on the evolving relationship between fans and television creators—in conversation with prominent content creators and producers. She focuses on how television content impacts our culture.)

TMRW Corp.

Tracy Swedlow & Richard Washbourne

Tracy Swedlow and Richard Washbourne own TMRW Corp., the parent corporation, which produces the InteractiveTV Today (ITVT) Web site and The TV of Tomorrow Show (TVOT) executive conferences. We are headquartered in San Francisco, California.

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