Craig Renaud is one half of the Renaud Brothers, a team of documentary filmmakers that shoot, edit, and produce films for HBO, NBC, Discovery, PBS, The New York Times, and VICE News. Their Last Chance High series for VICE News won a Peabody Award and was nominated for an Emmy, as was their HBO doc, Dope Sick Love.
Rather than doing surface-level coverage, the brothers prefer to do in-depth explorations of complex issues like drugs, the Iraq War, race relations, education, and so on, sometimes spending a year or more with the subjects they portray in their films. Their latest film is Shelter, which premiered at the New Orleans Film Festival and won a Special Jury Award and an Audience Award there.
People can sense when you’re being earnest and sincere. People can sense when you have an agenda, and so if you’re really pure in terms of the story you’re trying to tell, and if you’re really just honestly trying to tell their story, then I think they can sense that, and you build a relationship with them.“ – Craig Renauld
Craig came on the podcast to discuss the work he’s done with his brother. Some of the things we discuss include
- How to pitch projects to companies like HBO, The New York Times, and VICE News
- Tips for surviving when shooting in dangerous conflict zones
- Ways to explore hot-button issues in an in-depth way
- How to record audio for documentaries without calling attention to your presence
- Building close relationships with your subject
- Ethics regarding when to put someone on screen and when to intervene
Brent Renaud (left) and Craig Renaud (right)
Listen to the Episode
- Renaud Brothers website
- Renaud Brothers on Twitter
- Shelter Facebook page
- Their New York Times video about reporters covering the drug cartels
- Some related territory covered on this episode with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Rick Bragg
Craig Renaud on patrol in Juarez, Mexico with Mexican Army
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