Video/Action’s founder and president, Robin Smith, is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker with 35 years of experience. A graduate of Ohio University (BFA '72) and Boston University (MS '78), her first documentary was a story about her father, a Marine Corps fighter pilot declared missing in action when his plane was shot down over Vietnam in 1969. CBS bought rights to the film and she began her producing career, first in New York City with Charles Kuralt on CBS News Sunday Morning (1978-1985) and later in Washington, D.C. with Roger Mudd and Connie Chung at NBC News on American Almanac and 1986 (1985-1987).
In 1990, Robin left the world of network news and established Video/Action, a nonprofit production company through which she could create educational films and multimedia programs on issues affecting women and at-risk children.
Video/Action’s first release, the Emmy Award-winning documentary, SHOOTING BACK: PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOMELESS CHILDREN, was shot entirely in the Washington metropolitan area and was broadcast nationally on PBS. Other award-winning films include:
COME WALK IN MY SHOES - a 56-minute documentary featuring civil rights activist and congressman John Lewis as he leads an emotional pilgrimage to the churches, parks and bridges where young people played a pivotal role in the struggle to desegregate the South. The film is currently being presented by WHUT and distributed by APT (American Public Television) to public television stations across the country (2008-2012). It was an official selection in 15 film festivals and winner of Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Charlotte Film Festival; Chris Award for Best in Humanities at the Columbus International Film Festival; and Special Jury Award at Reel Politics Film Festival in Alexandria, Virginia.
WOMEN OF SUBSTANCE – a 56-minute documentary narrated by Joanne Woodward follows the struggles and triumphs of three women addicts seeking residential treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. It provides insight into the complex world of drug treatment, family and recovery. The film was honored with an array of national awards and was broadcast on public television stations across the country.
A CALL TO CARE – a 56-minute documentary that celebrates the courage and vision of Catholic Women Religious who helped establish health care in America. This Emmy Award-winning film was presented by KQED and distributed by American Program Service (APS) to public television stations across the country.
WHO'S GONNA SING OUR SONG? - a 30-minute documentary in which Washington, D.C. artists, musicians, storytellers and older residents use oral traditions to share their personal perspectives on African American history. This film was broadcast on WHMM and WETA (Washington, DC) and distributed by Pacific Mountain Network to public stations across the country.
ONE BLOCK AT A TIME –a 30-minute public service documentary on community-based efforts to combat substance abuse and related problems in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area funded by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of the National Capitol Area for Drug-Free Zones Campaign. Broadcast on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.
Since its founding in 1990, Video/Action has completed more than 230 productions. Her work has been featured on CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, FOX, BET and The Learning Channel and has been honored with an array of awards, including a CPB Gold Award for Excellence in Documentary Television Programming, Capital Region Emmy Awards, CINE Golden Eagles, Telly Awards, Auroras, Omnis, and ITVA’s Distinguished Achievement Award.
Current Video/Action productions are exploring issues related to children who have been exposed to violence, drug endangered children, and domestic violence in Indian Country.
An active member of Women in Film and Video, Robin served as president of the Washington, D.C. chapter and received its prestigious Woman of Vision award. She was named a Distinguished Alum in the School of Fine Arts at Ohio University in 2003 and received the University’s Medal of Merit in 2006.
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