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Filmmaker Bio
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Filmmaker Bio


CARL COLBY, Director / Producer

Carl Colby is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has made films about such subjects as Franz Kline, William de Kooning, Bob Marley, Frank Gehry, George Hurrell and Franco Zeffirelli, among others.

After graduating with a B.A. in Philosophy from Georgetown University, he produced and directed Gene Davis, about the Washington artist, and Fat Tuesday, a film about Mardi Gras that became a favorite of the midnight festival circuit and winner of Best Film at the USA Film Festival. He directed a TV series of musical performance films on Kid Thomas Valentine and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Clifton Chenier and His Red-Hot Louisiana Band, and Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown. He went on to produce a TV version of “One Mo’ Time!” the Obie Award winning musical; serve as cinematographer for Bob Marley; and write, produce and direct Jack-A-Boy, an adaptation of a short story by Willa Cather, starring Jean Marsh and Fred Gwynne, with music by Jelly Roll Morton and Scott Joplin, broadcast on PBS, CBS Cable and Disney Channel. Colby has also directed commercials, corporate communications films and television specials, with credits including Museum narrated by Michael York, Thundering Hooves narrated by John Cullum, and Visiones Del Pueblo narrated by Ruben Blades.

Growing up as the son of former CIA Director William E. Colby, he lived abroad for most of his youth. His many documentary productions have taken him all over the world, on assignment in more than 30 countries. His work includes Franz Kline Remembered for PBS’s series “Strokes of Genius”; Liberty: The Legacy of Magna Carta; and Zeffirelli's Tosca, which won an Emmy Award. Other assignments found him on location aboard the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy; in Norway on “Avalanche Express” winter exercises with the US Marine Corps and Norwegian Army; at Bitburg Air Force Base, Germany with the USAF’s 36th tactical Fighter Wing; and on air-assault Blackhawk helicopter maneuvers with the 101st Airborne Division in Kentucky and Tennessee. After moving to Los Angeles, he continued producing and directing numerous documentary profiles including Legends in Light, a celebration of Hollywood glamour photographer George Hurrell.

He produced and directed the award-winning film Voyager: The Grand Tour which won First Prize at the 3rd International Animation Festival, in Hiroshima, Japan. His film The Astronomer's Dream is a high-definition profile of astronomer Johannes Kepler starring Lotharie Bluteau, and was first all-digital HDTV video project produced by Sony Corporation’s Visual Communication Center. He wrote, produced and directed two promotional films for D.A.R.E /America, narrated by Mel Gibson, with a recent updated version narrated by Ving Rhames, and produced multiple TV public-service announcements for D.A.R.E. starring tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams. He produced and directed a series of four short HDTV films for Sony’s Visual Communication Center, produced in collaboration with JPL/NASA and featuring the most accurate and sophisticated animation of extraterrestrial landscapes and terrains ever produced. They include Venus Unveiled narrated by Sigourney Weaver; Jupiter The Giant, narrated by Powers Boothe; and Destination Mars, narrated by Granville Van Dusen.

Additional credits include Ground Zero, a documentary on designs for the World Trade Center site; Mister Gehry Goes to Washington; Invisible: Abbott Thayer and the Art of Camouflage; and Out of the Shadows, a series of gripping documentary profiles of the unsung heroes of U.S. intelligence including legendary CIA, FBI, DEA, ATF and LAPD agents, developed for Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber of Spyglass Entertainment and CBS Entertainment.