After a decade in print and television journalism, Jonathan Silvers founded Saybrook Productions in 1996 to develop and produce programming on international affairs and human rights issues. At the helm of Saybrook, Silvers has produced seven full-length documentaries and countless long-form segments for leading American and international broadcasters, including PBS, ABC, CNN, and BBC.
Saybrook's current documentary, "Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals," will premiere on PBS in November 2011. Silvers produced, wrote, and directed the the two-hour film, which explores the six-decade effort to identify, prosecute, and punish fugitive Nazis around the world. The film is narrated by Candice Bergen and funded in part by Steven Spielberg's Righteous Persons Foundation.
Silvers has devoted much of his career to the AIDS pandemic. Extensive filming between 1999 and 2003 in sub-Saharan Africa resulted in an Emmy Award-winning series of reports (for BBC, ABC, CNN, and PBS) on the impact of AIDS on three generations of Africans: children, parents, and grandparent. These segments examined the plight of AIDS orphans (Zambia) and AIDS widows (Malawi), as well as misinformation about HIV transmission among children in high-risk areas. It’s worth noting that Silvers undertook these assignments on his own initiative, without financial support or editorial approval from the broadcasters that subsequently acquired the reports.
Silvers has also reported extensively on population issues in the developing world. His previous hour-long documentaries – “Changing Nature,” “Lives Together, Worlds Apart” and “Population: 6 Billion" -- examined such essential population-related issues as resource scarcity, gender inequity, and reproductive health in developing countries. These films were produced in collaboration with the United Nations and aired on PBS and numerous European networks, to significant population and critical acclaim. These documentaries also won numerous awards, including the Award of Excellence at the International Global Health Film Festival.
Over the years, Saybrook has had the honor of collaborating with leading figures in the arts and sciences, including Ted Koppel, Wynton Marsalis, Brian Barron, Emmy Lou Harris, Kathy Bates, and Muhummad Ali.
In addition to documentaries, Silvers continues to produce long-form reports for leading broadcast newsmagazines such as “Nightline” (ABC News), “Newsnight” (BBC), and “Insight” (CNN). His reportage and photography appear frequently in international publications, including The Atlantic Monthly and The London Sunday Times Magazine. More to the point, Silvers is committed personally and professionally to human rights and substantive journalism. With much of the world's population in urgent need of health care, food, education, and economic opportunity, television documentaries on often neglected issues can stimulate public discourse and bridge fault lines between people and nations. In the post-9/11 world, Silvers believe this awareness stimulates discourse and generates the kind of public engagement that leads to sustainable development and improvements in standards of living.