BUFFALO, N.Y. – WNED-TV will begin production later this year on a documentary about the life, work and legacy of American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The 90-minute high-definition film “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America” will be created for national broadcast on PBS.
The program is a production of WNED-TV and Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc. Previous collaborations for PBS have included the landmark film “The War of 1812” (2011), and “Niagara Falls” (2006). Funding for “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America”comes from major grants from The National Endowment for the Humanities and The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, with additional support from HSBC Bank USA, Tiffany & Co. Foundation and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities.
“”Frederick Law Olmsted” is a compelling figure for a film biography. WNED is proud to forge another successful partnership with Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc. to share his astonishing story with the nation,” said Donald K. Boswell, WNED president and CEO. “The wide-ranging vision of this one man is of tremendous significance to past, present and future generations of Americans.”
As the designer of major urban parks, Olmsted made enormous contributions to the American landscape and is known as the father of American landscape architecture. He was co-designer of Central Park, head of the first Yosemite commission, leader of the campaign to protect Niagara Falls, designer of the U.S. Capitol Grounds, site planner for the Great White City of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, planner of Boston’s “Emerald Necklace” of green space and of park systems in many other cities. Olmsted’s pioneering design of the public parks and parkway systems in Buffalo, N.Y. is the oldest coordinated system in America and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To Olmsted, a park was both a work of art and a necessity for urban life. Olmsted’s work to preserve nature created an “environmental ethic” decades before the environmental movement became a force in American life.
Yet Olmsted held several careers throughout his extraordinary life. He was a seaman, farmer, traveler, journalist and author, publisher, managing editor of a seminal magazine, passionate social reformer and leader of a voluntary medical group. He strived – with frequent success – to reform 19th century America and also struggled with marked failure, loss and despair.
In addition to the national production, the Olmsted project will also include five short films about Olmsted parks for web distribution, a website, educational materials for schools and more. Since Olmsted’s visionary work made a profound impact on Western New York, WNED Buffalo-Toronto will also produce a 30-minute companion program which highlights his legacy to that particular region.
The executive producers for “Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America” are WNED’s John Grant and David Rotterman. The production team includes: Lawrence Hott (producer/director), Diane Garey (editor) and Ken Chowder (writer).
About WNED Buffalo-Toronto
WNED-TV is a leading producer of single-topic documentary programming for national broadcast on PBS including “Underground Railroad: The William Still Story,” “Chautauqua: An American Narrative,” “Elbert Hubbard: An American Original,” “The Adirondacks,” “The Marines,” “Window to the Sea,” “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo” and “America’s Houses of Worship.” Through WNED-TV, ThinkBright and Well/WORLD TV, Classical 94.5 WNED-FM and WBFO-FM 88.7 / WNED-AM 970, member-supported WNED Buffalo-Toronto provides high quality programming and services to local, regional and national audiences that enlighten, inspire, entertain and educate Western New York and Southern Ontario communities. Additional information about WNED can be found at wned.org.
About Florentine Films/Hott Productions Inc.
Florentine Films/Hott Productions Inc. is the production company of Lawrence Hott and Diane Garey, who have worked together since 1978. They are part of the Florentine Films group. Hott and Garey have received an Emmy Award, two Academy Award nominations, five American Film Festival Blue Ribbons, fourteen CINE Golden Eagles, a George Foster Peabody Award, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and the Erik Barnouw Award. Their work has been shown on PBS and screened at dozens of major film festivals. More information is available at florentinefilms.org.
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