Ben Selkow is an award-winning, sixteen-year veteran filmmaker. He has directed and produced non-fiction pieces for HBO, CNN, PBS, Discovery Channel, Science Channel, Pivot TV, Esquire Network/NBCU, Sundance Channel and Fox Sports Net while working with Zero Point Zero, Matador Content, DreamWorks Television, KPI, Sharp, Blowback Productions, and Hock Films. Ben has worked on everything from long-form documentaries to feature film studio productions to commercials to music videos to television episodics. Working in all phases from development to delivery, from shoe-string to multi-million dollar budgets, has given Ben a vast technical and creative production experience. Working independently or collaborating, and drawing on a wealth of professional relationships and contacts, Ben is positioned to take any project from paper to screen and every platform in between.
Currently, Ben is the director, producer and writer of BURIED ABOVE GROUND (2015). This documentary film explores the harrowing stories of three Americans living with these burdens of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)—a combat-wounded Army Captain returning from Iraq with a Purple Heart, a native New Orleanian survivor of Hurricane Katrina, and a rape/domestic violence survivor. With three stories, BURIED ABOVE GROUND takes the realities of living with PTSD out of the shadows and allowing audiences to experience the emotional, medical, and financial costs of this mental health epidemic.
He also produced DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS, a feature-length documentary that looks into a Dominican Republican park ranger's gruesome murder and unfolds into a larger exploration of illegal Dominican-Haitian charcoal trafficking, mass deforestation, and escalating human conflict on the border. The film has been acquired by Participant Media and Univision.
Along with a vibrant documentary directing and producing career, Ben works in the non-fiction television spaces as a director and producer. He directed six episodes of the forthcoming CNN series BELIEVER WITH REZA ASLAN. He was also a director and producer on ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN (2014) for CNN and Zero Point Zero Productions. Ben worked as the senior producer on three episodes of Esquire Network/NBCU’s travel series THE GETAWAY executive produced by Anthony Bourdain and Zero Point Zero. Ben produced episodes with Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def in Morocco, Jim Rash & Nat Faxon in Tokyo, and Zachary Levi in New Orleans.
Ben is the executive producer and co-creator of the docu-series WELCOME TO FAIRFAX (2014) for Pivot TV with Matador Content. The series takes a behind-the-scenes look at the vibrant, artistic, singular culture that has emerged in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles, seen through the eyes of the young visionaries who inhabit it.
Previously, Ben was the senior story producer for Sundance Channel’s GET TO WORK with Emmy Award winning EP Jeff Grogan and Sharp Entertainment, as well as a post producer on Zero Point Zero Productions’ HAWAII AIR RESCUE docu-series for The Weather Channel writing and supervising the edits.
With Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning BRICK CITY and CHICAGOLAND creator and executive producer Marc Levin, Ben was the producer of the documentary PRAYER FOR A PERFECT SEASON. The film follows America’s #1 high school basketball team in 2011, parochial St. Patrick High School in hardscrabble Elizabeth, NJ. Narrated by Bobby Cannavale, the documentary take a no-holds barred look at the team’s trials, tribulations and observance of the mantra, “family over everything” in pursuit of the mythical high school national championship against their chief rival, St. Anthony’s coached by legendary coach Bob Hurley, Sr.
From 2010-2011, Ben produced all phases of first-time director Maggie Betts feature documentary THE CARRIER, which was distributed by Cinedigm and premiered in the World Documentary Competition at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. ), The film is about prevention of mother to child HIV transmission prevention and was shot on location in rural Zambia over four months. Supported by UNICEF and (RED), and screened at Zurich, Big Sky and Sedona Film Festivals, is distributed by Cinedigm and aired on PBS World.
In 2011, Ben was a post producer on Steven Spielberg and Danny Forster's RISING: REBUILDING GROUND ZERO for Discovery and Science Channel produced by DreamWorks Television and KPI. This prestigious six-part series which documents the emotions, people, and challenges behind constructing the 104-story One World Trade Center in the wake of the terror attacks of September 11.
A SUMMER IN THE CAGE was Ben’s first feature-length documentary. He was the director/producer/cinematographer/writer of this six-year study of a young man pre-diagnosis of bipolar disorder through his intense bouts with mania, depression and attempted suicide. The film premiered nationally on Sundance Channel in October 2007. A SUMMER IN THE CAGE won the 2009 Mental Health America (MHA) Media Award in the Documentary Category and received the award at the Centennial Conference in Washington, DC. The film was nominated for a 2008 Prism Award for Bipolar Disorder Depiction by the Entertainment Industries Council.
Ben was selected as a Fellow for The Carter Center’s 2010-2011Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism for his documentary BURIED ABOVE GROUND. The fellowship program is part of the Carter Center's Mental Health Program, which works around the world to reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses and to decrease incorrect and stereotypical information. The program also seeks to increase access to mental health services and inform mental health public policy.
Ben was honored as one of 50 Non-Fiction Filmmakers at the Current TV/Fader Films Symposium "A Day of Dialogue and the Future of Non-Fiction Film", featuring keynote speaker former Vice President Nobel Prize honoree, Academy Award winner and Current TV founder Al Gore, as well as luminary filmmakers Barbara Kopple, Albert Maysles, Alex Gibney, and Marc Levin.
For Hock Films, Ben worked as an associate producer on the Emmy-winning BEYOND THE GLORY (2000-2001) for Fox Sports Net. Ben also was a field producer/camera operator for a series of street basketball DVD's entitled STRAIGHT FROM THE STREETS (2000). He began his film experience as a production assistant and assistant director on feature films such as MEET THE PARENTS (2000), WHAT LIES BENEATH (2000), CENTER STAGE (2000) and RANDOM HEARTS (1999), television shows such as SEX IN THE CITY and THE SOPRANOS.
Ben is a member of the Independent Film Project (IFP) the International Documentary Association (IDA), as well as being fiscally sponsored by the IDA. Ben was born in Montreal, Canada and is a dual-citizen. He holds a double-major Bachelor of Arts with Honors in both Film Studies and African-American Studies from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut where he received the W.E.B. Du Bois Academic Award for Overall Excellence. He received a certificate from the School for International Training in Tanzania, East Africa.