John J. Valadez is a Peabody Award winning filmmaker who has written, directed and produced many nationally broadcast documentary films. He grew up in Seattle, taught photography in India, and studied filmmaking at New York University.
John’s films have tackled such diverse subjects as the false imprisonment of a leader of the Black Panther Party, Latino poets in New York City, gang kids in Chicago, the history of affirmative action, segregation in America’s schools, Latinos in World War II, the evolution of Chicano music, Latino civil rights, and the genocide of Native Americans in the Southwest.
His major works include: The Head of Joaquin Murrieta (2016), Prejudice and Pride (2013 Latino Americans/PBS), War and Peace (2013 Latino Americans/PBS), The Longoria Affair (2010 PBS/Independent Lens), The Chicano Wave (2009 Latin Music USA/PBS), The Last Conquistador (2008 PBS/POV), Arise (2006), High Stakes Testing (2005 CNN), Beyond Brown (2004 PBS), Visiones: Latino Arts and Culture (2004 PBS), The Divide (2003 Matters of Race/PBS), Soul Survivors (1997 Making Peace/PBS) and Passin’ It On (1994 PBS/POV).
In 2013 John Produced two hour-long film films, Prejudice and Pride, about the Chicano civil rights movement, and War and Peace, about Latinos in World War II for the nationally broadcast PBS series Latino Americans, for which he received the George Foster Peabody Award and the Imagen Award. The series received the largest Latino viewing audience in PBS history. His film The Longoria Affair, about the close, but often contentious relationship between Lyndon Johnson and Hector P. Garcia, and their struggle to forge civil rights for Mexican Americans aired nationally on the PBS series Independent Lens, was nominated for a national Emmy Award for best historical documentary and won the Imagen Award. In 2009 John wrote, directed, and produced The Chicano Wave. The film is a history of Mexican American music featuring Los Lobos, Linda Ronstadt, Little Joe, Freddy Fender, Richie Valens, Flaco Jimenez, Selena and Los Tigres del Norte. It aired nationally on the PBS series Latin Music USA, won the Gold Plaque Award at the Chicago International Film Festival, and a Cine Golden Eagle. In 2008 his film The Last Conquistador about an artists quixotic quest to build the tallest bronze equestrian statue ever created in human history and Native American efforts to stop the construction of what they understood to be a monument to white supremacy, aired on the nationally broadcast PBS series POV. In 2005 Valadez worked for CNN out of their Washington bureau. There he wrote, directed and produced High Stakes Testing for the national series CNN PRESENTS. The film chronicled the creation of the “No Child Left Behind” and its impact on American’s children. The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism honored the film with an award for outstanding coverage of race and ethnicity. It won a Cine Golden Eagle, and it helped will CNN PRESENTS win the Distinguished Documentary Achievement Award from The International Documentary Association. Valadez was a producer of the nationally broadcast PBS film Beyond Brown. The film was broadcast for the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Brown V. Board of Ed. It examined the re-segregation of America’s schools. The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism also honored Beyond Brown with an award for outstanding coverage of race and ethnicity. In 2003 John was a producer for the nationally broadcast PBS series Visiones: Latino Arts and Culture. The series won the Alma Award. Valadez directed and produced The Divide, first hour of the nationally broadcast PBS series Matters of Race. The film was a small southern Town fractured by racial divisions. Valadez directed and produced the first hour of the PBS series Making Peace with featured Chicano poet, writer and former gang leader Luis Rodriguez as he struggles to save a new generation of kids – including his son – from the gang life on Chicago’s streets. John’s first feature length documentary film Passin’ It On, told the story of a leader of the Black Panther Party who was falsely imprisoned for 19 years. The film received a national broadcast on the PBS series POV, received a national Emmy nomination for editing and won the Golden Gate Award at The San Francisco International Film Festival, The Grand Prize and the Best Non-Fiction Film Award at The USA Film Festival, The Gold Plaque Award at The Chicago International Film Festival, The Peoples Choice Award at The EarthPeace International Film Festival, The Silver Apple Award at The National Educational Film Festival, The Best Short Documentary Award at The Philadelphia International Film Festival, The Gold Award at Worldfest Houston, The Best Short Documentary Award at The Atlanta International Film Festival, The Best Documentary Award at The North Carolina International Film festival, The Bronze Plaque Award at The Columbus International Film Festival, The Best First Film of a Director at The Bombay International Film Festival, The Juror’s Choice Award at The Black Maria Film Festival, The Best Documentary at The Long Island Film Festival, A Student Emmy Award from The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, The Best Documentary at the Philadelphia International Film Festival, and First Place at The Upland Main Street Film Festival.
John’s films have been broadcast nationally and in Europe, and have been featured at major museums and cultural institutions including – Lincoln Center (NYC), The Berlin Film Festival, The George Pompidou Centre (Paris), The Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), The High Museum of Art (Atlanta), The National Gallery of Art (D.C.), The Mint Museum (Charlotte), The Schomburg Center (NYC), INPUT (Bristol UK), The Museum of Modern Art (NYC), The Phoenix Art Museum, The Modern Art Museum (Ft. Worth), The Robert Flaherty Seminar, The Hirshhorn Museum (D.C.), The Grammy Museum (Los Angeles), The Harlem Stage Performing Arts Center (NYC), The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, The Clemente Center (NYC), Anthology Film Archives (NYC), The Mexican American Cultural Center (Austin), The Full Frame Film Festival, The Human Rights Watch Film Festival, The Guanajuato International Film Festival etc…
John has been a Rockefeller Fellow, a PBS/CPB Producers Academy Fellow, and has twice been a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow. He served as Artist-in-Residence at Texas State University, as Distinguished Filmmaker-in-Residence at The University of Texas at Arlington, as a trustee of the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, and was Regents Lecturer at The University of California at Berkeley. He regularly speaks and screens his work at colleges and universities across the country.
MI 491/FLM491 Research, Writing and Development for Documentary Film
BFA New York University, Film and Television