A public television series by Roberto Mighty

Description

World’s Greatest Cemeteries” is a new Public TV/PBS series about the most beautiful burial grounds on earth, and the diverse historical figures interred in them. In each half-hour episode, Host/Executive Producer Roberto Mighty takes us to one of these iconic outdoor museums, where we meet inspiring people from the past who helped make our world what it is today. 

The series features costumed historical reenactors, breathtaking cinematography, and upbeat interviews with diverse historians, tour guides, landscape architects, horticulturalists and other experts. Season 1 debuted to nationwide acclaim in October, 2021, with rave reviews, press coverage, and viewer recommendations about cemeteries around the world. By May, our broadcast presence was enhanced with online streaming 24/7 on PBS Passport. We are now in production on new episodes for Season 2, slated for broadcast and PBS Passport in February, 2023. Distributed by American Public Television. Presented by Northern California Public Media.

Season 2 Diverse History Makers

Season 2 includes mini biographies on Authors Louisa May Alcott, Herman Melville, and Henry David Thoreau; Salsa Singer Celia Cruz; Boxer and Humanitarian Muhammad Ali; Musicians Irving Berlin, Miles Davis, and Grover Washington, Jr; Food magnates Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz and Colonel Harlan Sanders; Scientist Jokichi Takamine; formerly enslaved farmer John Jack; Civil War Medal of Honor winner David Urbanski; and many others.

Impact

“World’s Greatest Cemeteries” is garnering press coverage across America. Viewers are raving about the series. Please see our website for press clips and viewer quotes. Season 1 metrics exceeded our expectations, including total PBS TV market coverage reaching 66%, of the USA, with the series airing in 36 of the top 50 markets.

Background

Award-winning filmmaker, multimedia artist and TV Executive Producer Roberto Mighty holds an undergraduate degree in history and an MFA in Visual Arts. He is America’s first Artist-in-Residence at a National Historic Landmark Cemetery. With support from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Institute for Museum and Library Services and other  funders, Roberto made 29 short films and an online exhibit website about Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A few years later, he went on to create “World’s Greatest Cemeteries” for public television. 

Format

Roberto and his team of historians, reenactors, horticulturalists and cinematographers spend days at each location, gathering engaging stories. We augment our location filming  with historical reenactments, commentaries by experts and other special features. Special reports highlight the emergence of diverse facilities, including African-American cemeteries. The resulting half-hour episodes combine these elements into engaging shows that draw rave reviews from viewers.

Multi-platform 

“World’s Greatest Cemeteries” was designed from the start as a multi-platform project. It is broadcast on Public TV and streamed on PBS Passport. There is a multimedia website, and next year we are developing our first museum exhibit. Viewers are encouraged to visit our website to share comments and recommendations for future shows. For Season 2, the site will feature exclusive video features and bonus content that complements our broadcasts. Plans for a podcast are also in development.

Vision

We believe in an expanded concept of inclusiveness. This program underscores the common humanity of our collective heritage. Season 2 features burials of formerly enslaved African Americans; Jewish cemeteries; monuments to Muslims and Asians; and more. Our vision includes partnering with historians, historical societies and community organizations; the development of  teachers’ guides; and creating an internship program to help train diverse, emerging historical filmmakers.

Future Seasons

Viewers have spoken. In emails, social media posts and phone calls, they’ve recommended enough cemeteries to keep “World’s Greatest Cemeteries” busy for several more years.

Sample Viewer Comments (edited for length)

(KERA Dallas, TX) Ran across this on World. LOVE IT!!!

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(WHYY) Hope you get to Vienna’s beautiful Central Cemetery! Beethoven and many other musicians are buried there. – Linda H.

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(KOCE Los Angeles) — Your fabulous series: Stumbled onto your show last one week ago. Set my calendar reminder to watch again this week. Love Greenwood. Been several times. I suggest Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Va. Kensico in Valhalla, NY. Woodlawn at the top of Manhattan. You need more visibility. I will spread the word amongst my fellow taphophiles. – Kathleen C.

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(KQED – San Francisco, CA) Hi Mr Mighty! I just watched your cemetery show and must write you ! I am in Oakland and live up the street from Mountainview Cemetery- designed by Olmsted and with much to cover.  Enjoying your show! – Kat E.

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(WFSU and WGPB) Thank you for your beautiful presentation of cemeteries with works of man-made art and natural art consisting of gardens as pretty as any grand gardens of the world. Please keep up the work and show us more in future seasons. – Kathy M.

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(NYCTV-LIFE, New York, NY) Just saw your London show. It was GREAT! Have you done Woodlawn in NY. Celia Cruz, Miles Davis, & Duke Ellington rest there. There is also a small cemetery uptown where James Audubon & Clement Clark Moore are buried. – Zoe S.

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(KBDI – Denver, CO) The First Cemetery in Athens Greece is filled with marble statues of it’s dead. Michelangelo quality. One called “Koimomeni” the sleeping woman has been moved to the National Museum to preserve it. It is so real it caused me sleepless nights. – Georgette C.

A public television series and museum exhibition by Roberto Mighty

getting dot OLDER” is a new, ‘docu-talk’ PBS Passport, Public Television and Museum series,  talkin’ ’bout my generation – Baby Boomers! 

Background

Award-winning filmmaker, TV Producer and Multimedia Artist Roberto Mighty is a Baby Boomer. With support from Harvard University, The Institute for Museum and Library Services, The National Science Foundation, The National Trust for Historic Preservation and other funders, he has created acclaimed TV, museum, and online projects. Roberto conceived “getting dot OLDER ” after noticing how much he had in common with people around his age, regardless of their backgrounds. 

Series History

Initial development of a proposed museum exhibit began in 2014 –  by interviewing friends about their experience of aging. The project grew over the next four years. In 2018, development of a proposed TV version began in earnest. Season 1 debuted on public television to nationwide acclaim in January, 2022. By May, our broadcast presence was enhanced with online streaming 24/7 on PBS Passport. We are now in production on thirteen new episodes for Season 2, slated to premiere in February, 2023. Distributed by American Public Television. Presented by Northern California Public Media.

Museum Exhibit

In Fall, 2022, Milton Academy, a distinguished independent school in Boston, premiered Roberto’s six-screen, interactive multimedia presentation “getting dot OLDER: The Exhibit” in their Nesto Gallery. The exhibit is now available for museums, libraries and other large-scale public venues through 2025.

Format

“getting dot OLDER” features engaging, heartfelt, funny and poignant zoom interviews from around the country with our host and “regular people” – diverse Boomers from every walk of life. Excerpts from these interview clips are interspersed with brief commentaries by experts from Harvard University, Howard University, Johns Hopkins Medical School, and other respected institutions.  

Season 2 New Features

New features for Season 2 include on-location reports with Boomers pursuing their “Hobbies, Pastimes and Passions”, including animal rescue; civil war reenactment; choir singing; community volunteering; and other activities. Boomer artists and musicians share their post-retirement pivots in our “Visiting Artist” short segments. In addition to tell-all interviews, the episodes also feature lighthearted, Boomer-centric content, including quizzes and calls for viewer input.

Multi-platform 

“getting dot OLDER” was designed from the start as a multi-platform project. It is broadcast on TV; streamed on PBS Passport; there is a multimedia website; and starting this fall, we are piloting our first museum exhibit. Viewers are encouraged to visit our website and fill out our unique, 27-question survey; upload their own photos and videos; and comment on episodes. For Season 2, the site will also feature web-only video shorts and bonus content that complements our broadcasts. Plans for a podcast are also in development.

Vision

We believe in an expanded concept of inclusiveness. Our goal is to include every kind of American in this series. Taken together, our content underscores the common humanity of aging. Our vision includes partnering with medical schools, geriatric programs, gerontology researchers, community organizations, developing teachers’ guides, and creating an internship program to help train diverse, emerging filmmakers to focus on older subjects.

Impact

“getting dot OLDER” viewers are raving about the series. Please see our website for press clips and viewer quotes.  Season 1 metrics exceeded our expectations, including total PBS TV market coverage reaching 83.93%, of the USA, with the series airing in 45 of the top 50 markets – 247 TV stations coast-to-coast.

Future Seasons

This series highlights 4 interviews per episode. As of this writing, over four hundred people have filled out our lengthy online survey, with more signing up every week. We have more than enough compelling Baby Boomer stories for several additional seasons.

Viewer Reviews for “getting dot OLDER” Season 1

(WNET-TV 13 NYC) “Just caught today’s show. It’s great seeing and hearing your interviewees, how comfortable they are telling their stories/answering your questions.” – Dan Z.

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 (Blue Ridge PBS in SW VA and OETA in Oklahoma City) Hi, I love your show and hearing everyone’s stories and answers to the questions! Love and Light to you all – Lori

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(Facebook) The series shows how remarkable “normal” people are. Such a variety of people with diverse backgrounds. Thanks for expanding our sense of community. J. Johnson

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(KRCB Berkeley, CA) Bro. Roberto Mighty YOU ARE FANTASTIC!!! YOU ARE A BLESSING!!! My husband and I often say there isn’t any thing on television that is relevant to us, to our age group, to our racial background (Black African-American) nor to our gender in being over 60 years old. Thank you again, Lee and Derek H.

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(WQED, Pittsburgh, PA) I enjoyed this program , it gave me some positive things to think of and surviving my stroke at 60 and realizing I still have Life and dreams !!! – Carla W.

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(Social Media – Anchorage, Alaska) Joe and I watched the show today. We really liked it. It was so great. We loved the way you put the interviews together. So revealing and relevant. Thanks so much for all you do. – Martha J.H.S.

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Big Hair Hairiette is an educational system designed to increase literacy proficiency; the more kids read, the bigger Hairiette’s hair gets! 

Big Hair Hairiette works with schools nationwide and includes books, TV, film, games and tech products all based around the story of Big Hair Hairiette. Organizational psychologist Peg Neuhauser found that “a well-told story is remembered more accurately, and for far longer than learning derived from facts and figures.” (Harvard Busines.org). 

Our primary focus is on literacy: students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers. K-2 assessments have shown consistent and large learning setbacks, particularly for children typically marginalized in the U.S. education system. 

Big Hair Hairiette is created by two-time SAG Award winning actress Tanya Wright (Best Ensemble) for her portrayal of Crystal Burset in Orange is the New Black. In 2022, Tanya graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Education (’22) with a degree in Learning Design, Innovation and Technology. While at Harvard, Tanya won the Harvard Innovative Venture in Education Award (HIVE) for most promising early stage venture for Big Hair Hairiette; additionally, Tanya is also an Education Entrepreneurship Fellow at the Harvard Innovation Lab. 

The money raised will go toward 1. producing the Big Hair Hairiette Read and Learn System (TM) which includes an augmented reality curriculum to increase literacy proficiency in children 6-8 via vocabulary and reading comprehension and 2. marketing the Big Hair Hairiette program. 

Tanya created the Big Hair Hairiette system because she was a highly creative, distracted and disinterested early learner. She created the story-driven learning program she wished she had in elementary school. Thank you so very much for your support!

In a time when women mattered little, and black women not at all, Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman changed not only the course of her life but that of American History. Set against the backdrop of the Revolutionary War, Mumbet, who could neither read nor write, created her own declaration of independence. Ripped from her enslaved parents, she is given as a gift to a haughty and jealous Hannah Ashley, wife of the wealthy and successful Colonial John Ashley. Mumbet becomes privy to the heated discussions of the rebellion, serving her master and the eleven men writing letters of grievance to King George, demanding freedom from British rule. As she serves, she listens as they write the Resolves that would ultimately become a precursor to our Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

We watch as Mumbet grows into a healer, midwife and mother and becomes respected by both the Black and White communities. As her power and stature grow with her community as well as with John Ashley and the men she serves, Hannah Ashley’s jealously culminates in an act of rage aimed at Mumbet’s daughter. Before the red-hot shovel strikes the child, Mumbet takes the blow which burns her to the bone and very nearly kills her. But Mumbet’s will and mother’s heart is stronger than most and she lives to bear the scar, wearing it like a warrior. When the words she has heard in the study become law, “all men are created free and equal,” she takes matters and fate into her own hands, becoming the first enslaved person to use these words in a court of law to free herself from a lifetime of servitude, and set the course for thousands of slaves to be set free, eighty years before the Emancipation Proclamation.

Bay Creek Tennis Camp

Writer/director Michele Meek’s forthcoming short film Bay Creek Tennis Camp is a timely and refreshing take on the cross-generation disconnect around gender inclusivity. In the film, Coach Charlie has been doing things his way for decades. But the Generation Alpha kids who join his camp this year won’t stand for being split by gender—and they decide to teach him a lesson in a charming and amusing way.

LGBTQ+ youth are on the rise in the United States, and in a 2021 study by the Trevor Project, approximately one in four youth identify as nonbinary. These increases have provoked more awareness and dialogue within academic, parenting, medical, and educational communities. At the same time, anti-LGBTQ+ bills are being put through local legislatures at an alarming rate, and most target youth—including their rights to play sports and use bathrooms based on their gender identity.

Bay Creek Tennis Camp gently poses a provocative question—what if gender is not the ideal way to divide youth?

By presenting a story about a group of Gen Alpha kids, played by several nonbinary youth who come together to advocate for themselves and each other, Bay Creek Tennis Camp can be used to entertain, educate, and inform adults and youth. By screening the completed film at festivals, schools, camps, and other venues, our hope is that Bay Creek Tennis Camp can help spark compassionate conversations about youth, gender, and sports.

FUNDRAISING UPDATE
Bay Creek Tennis Camp is currently in post-production having wrapped an August 2022 shoot on a RED camera. Our cast includes a diverse group of nonbinary youth actors alongside professional actor Paul Kandarian as Coach Charlie. Director Michele Meek has seeded the project with $3,000 and is seeking another $2,700 in donations/contributions to the film. 

 
For more information, contact Michele Meek at mm@michelemeek.com or visit https://michelemeek.com
 

All children need food, a safe and stable place to live, and health care. But today, millions of American kids lack these basic needs. And as a result of the pandemic, an increasing number of families have lost health insurance, lack food, and face eviction or foreclosure ending with homelessness.

In the midst of this increasingly dire situation, some children fall victim to the physical and sexual abuse by family members. Many more find themselves going without basic needs due to poverty or other circumstances. 

In 2020, according to federal HHS statistics, 213,964 children or one in 300 kids, were removed from their home and placed in foster care. However, only one-in-seven cases involved abuse. In six-out-of-seven cases, kids were removed from their homes for neglect, frequently involving circumstances resulting from poverty.

For many children, separation from their families and placement into the often sparsely regulated foster care system, can result in their situations becoming even more dire.
 
States spend billions of dollars a year on children once they are in foster care, but often only pennies on the dollar to help families that are struggling with poverty to provide sufficient food, health care or shelter for their kids. In those cases, the solution all too often is to remove these children from their homes.  
 
How can it be that the U.S. child welfare and protection system has ended up an acknowledged failure for decades when it comes to caring for children in need, protecting them against abuse and neglect, and strengthening families?

How can it be that a state like Massachusetts, home to Harvard University, Children’s Hospital and other world-class institutions brimming with expertise in child wellness and development, has been among the states at the bottom of the barrel for decades when it comes to preventing the abuse and neglect of kids and strengthening families? And why has the state been unable to stop a litany of horrific, high-profile deaths of kids placed in state care for their safety that have dominated the news over the past decade?

How can it be that New Jersey, once among the worst in the nation for child welfare and protection, has emerged as a recognized best state in the country following a 20-year renovation of its child welfare system? 

What would it take to fix the nation’s child welfare system, in order to ensure that all children get the care and protection they need and deserve?  

An unprecedented reporting team composed of seasoned journalists with decades of experience covering child welfare nationally, intrepid student journalists doing enterprise reporting on this story, and leading national experts is working to identify and expose the underlying systemic problems in the child welfare system. This includes the unfair and disproportionate impact of the failed system on parents who have disabilities, mental health, and substance abuse issues; victims of domestic violence; people of color; and those facing economic hardship. 
 
Finally, this non-profit independent documentary production, slated for festival, theatrical and public television release, will be accompanied by a deep community and educational outreach campaign to engage the public in seeking changes that can and will help protect and care for children in need and strengthen families. Thrownaway Kids will shed light and propose working solutions — and by doing so will save lives. 

Please make your critical donation now — and then spread the word to your friends and family and through your social media network. 
 
All donations are tax-deductible and are administered by our 501(c)(3) non-profit fiscal sponsor, Filmmaker Collaborative.

 

I have made a deeply personal film about my family becoming war refugees (WWII) and the six years afterwards in the Allies’ “Displaced Persons” camps, experiencing starvation, sickness, living in rubble, witnessing such things as a woman lay down on the tracks and her body parts flying in the air, an image that haunted me for years into my adulthood. This documentary is told from my point of view as a child, of what I saw and witnessed while growing up. It is also the story of my grandmother who was determined to survive Hitler and then afterward struggle to suvive the refugee camps among 12 million starving people searching for food and living in bombed out buildings. This documentary also parallels my father’s journey, a man who served in the Red Army and who returns from fighting the Japanese in August of 1945 only to be snatched off the street at gunpoint, stuffed into a cattle car with many other men, and sent to Stalin’s forced labor camps, called the Gulag.
Many people dont know about this time in history. The Ukraine crisis has awakened some. Understanding unending wars’ unique destruction to children and families is what I hope to communicate. Most stories about WWII are told about the historical battles but not about the aftermath of women and children.

Set in Washington, DC, The Dream and The Come Up tells the story of Rob Johnson, an up-and-coming comedian as he fights to save a struggling comedy career and a failing relationship in the midst of a pandemic.

A college dropout, Rob’s life-long dream is to make it big as a comedian and leave the city where “nothing seems to be happening for him.” Against all odds, he embarks on a journey to record his first comedy special during the COVID-19 pandemic – a move he believes will take him out the city and launch him into the spotlight. But when his mother’s health begins to wane and his relationship begins to crumble, Rob finds himself striving to stay focused on his dream.

In the final moment of the story, Rob finally gets the opportunity to record his special and make his dream a reality. He is even invited to open for an internationally-renowned comedian at a sold-out show, but just before he is set to leave the city, he finds out his girlfriend’s life is hanging on a thread. In the end, Rob’s perception and priorities are changed forever as he realizes that a life of success and superstardom is worthless without someone with whom to share it. It is The Big Sick meets About Last Night and Think Like A Man.

Can you imagine how painful it must be to look in the mirror and find a stranger staring back?

Johnny Depp, a fierce advocate, unwavering friend and staunch Ally of the LBGTQ+ community, donates his time, energy and considerable talents to narrate and add original music to the feature length documentary, This is Me. 

This is Me explores the challenges, both from within and from society, that face the LBGTQ+ community and most specifically Transgender men and women that on top of having to summon up the incredible courage to transition, must also endure the cold realities of being disowned by family, discarded by friends, face the hatred of strangers, and survive their own internal struggles… all to find the love, acceptance and happiness that the rest of us take for granted.

In This is Me, we meet transgender men and women from all over the country. They are all of different races, ages and backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common; they have all looked in that mirror and found a stranger staring back. 

OUR TURN TO TALK features high school senior Anastasia Vlasova whose obsession with Instagram led to a full-blown eating disorder. Silence and shame followed. Anastasia discovered that once she started talking openly about her mental health, she started healing. That inspired her to launch a podcast and travel across the country to invite other teens to share their own stories about how depression, anxiety, racism, LGBTQ discrimination, and the COVID-19 pandemic are taking a toll – on them and on their whole generation. Driven by the evidence that storytelling saves lives, Anastasia and her peers show us the courage and power of something as simple as talking.

Directed and Produced by Beth Murphy& Patrice Howard