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Art & culture, literature, visual arts, music, biography, history media programs

About Film Odyssey

Karen Thomas

Karen Thomas

Under the direction of producer, director and writer Karen Thomas, Film Odyssey has produced high-quality cultural and educational programming for the American television audience since its incorporation in 1986, exploring the visual arts and literature, American history and music, cinema and science, and featuring the nation’s most respected journalists and actors, including Rene Auberjunois, Ruby Dee, Barbara Feldon, John Heard, Dennis Hopper, Roger Mudd, George Page, Cliff Robertson, Wes Studi, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, and most recently Anjelica Huston and Kevin Kline.


Broadcast by PBS and distributed internationally, Film Odyssey’s nationally recognized programming has reached back hundreds of years to tell the story of the Makah Indians on the Olympic Peninsula; document the creation of the world’s sixth largest cathedral; chronicle the contributions of German filmmakers to American cinema; detail the life-changing contributions of the GI Bill; and profile important American artists and writers.


James McNeill Whistler & The Case for Beauty is Film Odyssey’s most recent production. Future projects include a documentary on social change in 19th-Century America, and a project on the visual arts.


Recognized for its steadfast commitment to cultural journalism and high production values, Film Odyssey has received project support over the years from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, and other major U.S. funders. The company’s productions have garnered accolades and coverage in the leading news media.


Counted among Film Odyssey’s productions are Cinema’s Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood, a two-hour documentary on the men and women forced from the German film industry by Adolf Hitler, and three specials broadcast in PBS’ Emmy award-winning AMERICAN MASTERS series: Isaac Stern: Life’s Virtuoso; Robert Rauschenberg: Inventive Genius and Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul. The Film Odyssey catalogue also includes The GI Bill: The Law That Changed America; Indian America: A Gift from the Past, two specials on the Bill of Rights, Search and Seizure: The Supreme Court and the Police and The Supreme Court’s Holy Battles; and Washington National Cathedral. Film Odyssey has provided production services for the television series Dinosaurs! and for a production with the Wanapum Indian Band of Hanford, Washington.


When bringing its productions to the PBS system, Film Odyssey has partnered with several of the major producing stations, including WNET, WETA, WHYY and KCET.


Film Odyssey, Inc. is a 501-c-3 organization based in Washington, DC.



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