Nina Gilden Seavey, Director

Nina Gilden Seavey

Nina Gilden Seavey is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and a nearly 30-year veteran of the documentary world. Her films can be seen in theaters, on television, in ancillary media, and in museum exhibitions across the globe.

Some of her films include: A Paralyzing Fear: The Story of Polio in America, The Ballad of Bering Strait, The Matador, A Short History of Sweet Potato Pie and How It Became a Flying Saucer, The War at Home, and 4th & GOAL. Her most recently completed film is Parables of War and she is currently in production on My Fugitive. 

Seavey is the director of The Documentary Center in the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University, which she founded in 1990. She concurrently serves as the Co-Director of the Center for Innovative Media. She holds the academic rank of full Research Professor of History and Media and Public Affairs with appointments both in the Department of History and in the School of Media and Public Affairs in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at GW.

In 2002, Seavey became the Founding Director of SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival (now AFI Docs). She continued with the festival as Executive Producer, strand programmer, and senior member of the management team until 2009.

Seavey’s films have appeared in domestic and international festivals and have won numerous awards including five National Emmy nominations (one statue awarded), the Erik Barnouw Prize for Best Historical Film of the Year, The Golden Hugo, Cine Special Jury Prize, The Telly, The Italian National Olympic Cup for Best Sports Film, among many others.

In addition to awards for her films, Seavey has received a number of professional accolades including being named one of the top 50 professors of journalism in the U.S. Further, she was named a “Woman of Vision” by Women in Film and Video. And she received a commendation for “Outstanding Service to the Industry” by Discovery Communications.

Seavey regularly serves as panelist and advisor to many projects including efforts on behalf of the International Documentary Association, the Duke Ellington School for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, The John Heinz Family Foundation, The Anthony Radziwill Documentary Fund of the IFP, and the Southern Humanities Media Fund. Seavey was the 2006 Woman of Vision for Women in Film and Television in Washington, DC.

Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Seavey had a career in politics from 1972 until 1980. She served on the Missouri campaign staff for the presidential campaigns of George McGovern and Morris Udall and for the senatorial campaign for Thomas Eagleton (D-MO). Seavey moved to Washington and served as foreign and military policy advisor to Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder (D-CO) and in 1979 became a political appointee in the Office of the Secretary of Defense during the Carter Administration.

Seavey earned her BA in History and French Literature from Washington University in St. Louis and an MA in History, with an emphasis on late 19th Century American social history, from George Washington University.