“The Cinema Verite label is often misapplied in the film industry, but on
the Renauds the tag sticks, reinforcing the notion that content is king.”
–American Cinematographer Magazine
The Renaud Brothers have spent the last decade producing award winning news and documentary programs around the World. From places like Kosovo, Afghanistan, Bolivia, China, Pakistan, Iraq, Cambodia, Juarez and Haiti, their productions have appeared on most of the major news and television outlets in the United States and many from abroad. The Renaud Brothers are regular contributors to the New York Times, and the founders and artistic directors of the Little Rock Film Festival.
In 2001, the Renaud brothers collaborated on a groundbreaking series of documentary specials on college football rivalries for ESPN. The specials became the popular ESPN series THE SEASON, and helped the brothers develop and showcase a raw cinema verite style, rarely seen on television at the time.
In 2005, their feature-length documentary DOPE SICK LOVE, which followed drug addicts on the streets of New York City, was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Documentary. When it aired, DOPE SICK LOVE received the highest ratings for a documentary in the history of HBO at that time. The Renaud brothers’ film OFF TO WAR, which followed the Arkansas National Guard for a year on the frontlines in Iraq and aired as a 10 part series on the Discovery Times Channel, won some of the most prestigious awards in documentary filmmaking. OFF TO WAR won an International Documentary Association Award, an Overseas Press Club Award, Best TV Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Grand Prize at the Tokyo Video Festival and was nominated for the Director’s Guild of America Award in 2005 amongst directors such as Stephen Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Ang Lee and Paul Haggis. Men’s Vogue Magazine named the Renaud brothers among the top five war reporters in the world in 2005 for their combat coverage in Iraq during the filming of OFF TO WAR. The Renaud brothers were the first filmmakers in the history of television to follow a unit of soldiers through an entire deployment at war. OFF TO WAR was a unanimous hit among the industry’s harshest critics.
“Realism that is candid and even painful at times to watch” LA Times
“The sense of dread never goes away” Entertainment Weekly
“Startling, understated documentary” New York Times
“Provocative and disturbing” San Francisco Chronicle
“Absolutely riveting television” Buffalo News
“One of the most important TV programs of our time” Media Village
“Brilliant” Kansas City Star
Upon their return from Iraq, the Renaud brothers continued to follow the stories of American combat veterans in a Discovery Times Channel documentary called TAKING THE HILL. In November 2006, more than 50 veterans of the U.S. armed forces from around the country vied for seats in Congress.† At no other time in history had so many veterans run for national office at the same time. Though each of the races was unique, what bound the candidates was their shared intense disagreement with the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war and their dismay with continued cuts to veterans’ programs back home. From Eric Massa, a retired Navy commander in rural New York State; to Rick Bolanos, a Purple Heart recipient in Vietnam; to Tammy Duckworth, an Army captain who lost both her legs when a rocket hit her helicopter in Iraq, the documentary followed the stories of these veterans as they fought their respective political battles. The film premiered on the Discovery Times Channel on December 12th, 2006.
“Very moving, very poignant” CNN
“Taking the Hill delivers it’s own goods” LA Times
“Powerful film” Media Village
“A great documentary” The Nation
“A must see” Political Insider
“Another treat from Brent and Craig Renaud” Arkansas Democrat Gazette
In 2006, Brent and Craig Renaud returned to their hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas to begin filming the HBO documentary, LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL; 50 YEARS LATER. In September of 1957, Little Rock Central High School became ground zero for the civil rights struggle for equal education in America. After Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus defied the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling and ordered the National Guard to prevent nine black teenagers from entering Central High School, President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by sending troops from the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army to protect the students as they entered the building.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the forced integration of Central High School, Brent and Craig Renaud followed the lives of contemporary Central High students, teachers and administrators, as well as community leaders and members of the Little Rock Nine, over the course of a year, visiting classes, school meetings and assemblies, teenagers’ homes and community events. Sharing the stories of both black and white students, the film explored the opportunities and challenges facing them in and out of the classroom. For many Americans, the desegregation of Central High is merely a chapter in history books. But the students of Little Rock Central High live in the ever-present wake of this historic event, growing up amidst complex race, class and socio-economic issues. Today, though the school is desegregated, some say it is still not fully integrated.
The film debuted on HBO on September 25, 2007, the 50th anniversary of the crisis at Central High, and won the 2007 National Education Writers Association TV Documentary Award and was nominated for a NAMIC (National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications) Vision Award.
”Provocative” – New York Times
“Sobering Documentary” – USA Today
“Powerful” – National Public Radio
“A fascinating documentary” – FOX News
“Hard-nosed and even-handed” – Baltimore Sun
“Intimate, deeply personal and thought-provoking”
– Arkansas Democrat Gazette
“Adds something valuable to the discussion about race
and education. Worthwhile contributions to that discussion
are all too rare.” – National Review
“Shines light on a hidden racial divide that lacks the hatred of the past but is taken for normal.” –Associated Press
In 2009 The Renauds traveled to the front lines of the drug war in Juarez, Mexico, where they produced a five part video series for the New York Times online. Exposing the brutality of the drug violence that was erupting just across the US border from El Paso, The reports were featured daily on the home page of the New York Times, during the week of President Obama’s visit to Mexico to address the mounting crisis there.
In 2009, The Renaud Brothers were sent by Dateline NBC to spend a year inside Arkansas Children’s Hospital, following second year resident doctors as they tackle the toughest year of their lives. The one hour documentary, THE HEROES OF CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL featured Dr. Nancy Snyderman of NBC News, and chronicled the emotional and heart wrenching path to the making of a doctor.
In 2010, the Renaud Brothers were sent by the New York Times to cover the earthquake tragedy in Haiti. For the next year their reporting from Haiti appeared regularly on NYTIMES.com and on PBS. Their reporting from Haiti won a Columbia Dupont Award, an Overseas Press Club Award, and an Edward R. Murrow Award. The Renaud Brothers continued reporting for Dateline NBC in 2010, and traveled to Chicago with Senior Correspondent Lester Holt to tell the story of the near epidemic youth violence terrorizing many neighborhoods and schools there.
In 2011, For a Memorial Day special, for PBS Need To Know the Renaud Brothers produced WOUNDED: 7 YEARS LATER, a profile of a group of badly injured American soldiers whom the Renaud Brothers were embedded with in 2004, when a rocket attacked changed all of their lives forever. Also in 2011, the Renaud Brothers teamed up with Current TV’s Vanguard series and produced two, hour long documentaries, one about gun trafficking and the drug war in Mexico and a second one covering the origins of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Back home in Arkansas the Renaud Brothers have founded the Arkansas Motion Picture Institute to promote filmmaking and film education in their home state, and are the current artistic and executive directors for the Little Rock Film Festival. In the summer of 2012, the Renaud Brothers will release the feature documentary film, WARRIOR CHAMPIONS, about a group of seriously wounded Iraq War veterans vying for a position on the US Paralympic Team.
“The strength of the human spirit rarely shines brighter than in this beautiful inspiring piece of work”
– Paste Magazine