After a decade in print and television journalism, Jonathan Silvers founded Saybrook Productions in 1996 to explore international justice, conflict, and human rights. At the helm of Saybrook, Silvers has produced scores of feature documentaries and investigative reports for PBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, BBC, Arté, and other global broadcasters. His work has been honored with the Emmy, among other accolades.
Silvers's latest documentary, The Fire and the Forgotten, premiered on PBS in May 2021. The film was an unprecedented investigation of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and its impact on present day race relations in America.
In 2019, Silvers completed Inheritance, a intimate exploration of women struggling to avert the onset of hereditary cancers which plagued their female ancestors and relatives. At the film's center is the BRCA genetic mutation, which raises by magnitudes the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in the women who carry it.
In 2016, after three years of production in a dozen countries, Silvers completed Dead Reckoning, a three-part PBS documentary series on war crimes and international justice from The Second World War to The War on Terror.
Other recent Saybrook documentaries include: Red Metal, an exploration of a 1913 Michigan labor strike that ended in the largest unsolved mass murder in U.S. history; and After Newtown, an investigation of gun violence in America.
Another noteworthy PBS documentary, Elusive Justice, explored the six-decade effort to bring fugitive Nazi war criminals to justice -- in the face of apathy, institutional resistance, and violence. The Wall Street Journal proclaimed the two-hour film "spellbinding" and one of the year's best programs.
Silvers has devoted much of his career to the global health issues, notably 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 conceived, financed, and undertook these assignments independently.
Silvers has also reported extensively on population issues in the developing world. In three documentaries Changing Nature, Lives Together, Worlds Apart and Population: 6 Billion -- he examined such essential population-related issues as global warming, resource scarcity, gender inequity, and reproductive health in developing countries. Produced in collaboration with the United Nations, these films aired on PBS and numerous European networks, to popular 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 major figures in the arts and sciences, including Candice Bergen, Ted Koppel, Michel Martin, Deborah Amos, Wynton Marsalis, Brian Barron, Emmy Lou Harris, Kathy Bates, Steve Earle, and Muhummad Ali.
In addition to his broadcast work, Silvers's reportage and photography appear frequently in US and UK publications, including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The Sunday Times Magazine, The New Republic, Playboy, The Independent, and The New Statesman.
Silvers graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in economics and engineering. He is committed to substantive journalism that challenges complacency.