Director/Producer, 2004. Won the 2003 Burke Award for Best Documentary.
"Stand Up Rise Up"
"Days of Resistance"
"Is War the Answer?"
"The Panama Deception"
for Best Documentary Feature, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Gold
Apple/Best Documentary, National Educational Film and Video; Blue Ribbon /Best
Documentary, American Film and Video; 2nd Prize, Riminicinema, Italy; 1st Prize
for Film, AMASCULTURA: Encontras Intemacionais de Cinema Documental, Lisbon,
"COVERUP: Behind the Iran-Contra
Affair" Director/Producer, 1988
AWARDS: Gold Hugo, Chicago; Prix Du
Public, Film des Femmes, France; Blue Ribbon/Best Documentary, American Film and
Video; Gold Apple/Best Documentary, National Educational Film and Video; Leigh
Whipper Gold Award, Philadelphia International.
AWARDS: Best Documentary, Philadelphia
International; Silver Award, Houston International; Merit Awards, Columbus and
"Bus to Topanga" Associate
You Cross That Line: American
Activists Talk About the Process of Change - St. Martin's Press, published
Fall 2000. One chapter composed of an interview by author Marie Cieri.
Women of Courage: Inspiring
Stories from the Women Who Lived Them - New World Library, published Fall,
1999. One chapter in a compilation of personal stories written by a variety of
women illuminating the thoughts and events leading to a decision that has
greatly affected their lives.
Media in a Capitalist Culture
- Published in The Cultures of Globalization, by Duke University Press,
1998. An analysis of the need to extend activism to the level of global access
through the use of film and video technology, the essay explains the obstacles
that independent, activist filmmakers might face when they attempt to do work
that questions government policy from within capitalist culture. The essay
concludes with practical solutions to some of these challenges.
At Risk: The Anatomy of a
Decision - Published in The Search for "Reality," by Michael Wise
Productions, 1997. The essay explores the politics, possibilities, and
challenges of advocacy while elaborating upon the complexity of ethical decision
making in documentary film.
Taking it to the Theaters -
written with Joanne Doroshow and W. B. Peale. Published by the Empowerment
Project in association with National Video Resources, 1993. This booklet is a
user-friendly guide to theatrical and video self-distribution of issue-oriented
films and videos.
Trent actively tours, screening her
films and lecturing on civic responsibility, censorship, public and foreign
policy, filmmaking and activism. She leads workshops and speaks at festivals
that encourage independent filmmaking and aggressive film distribution. She has
been sponsored to speak at events by the American Film Institute, the
International Documentary Association, International Women in Film, the United
Nations Association, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
and Honors and Special Appearances
2004 - Inaugural John Huston
Lecture on Documentary Film; Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,
1999 - Humanist Arts Award;
Boulder Intl. Humanist Institute 2nd Annual Symposium.
1999 - Schmidt Public
Intellectuals Program; featured speaker, Florida Atlantic University, Boca
1998 - Lou Douglas Lecture
Series; featured speaker, Kansas State University, Manhattan.
1998 - United Nations
Association Film Festival; special retrospective in honor of Barbara's
1997 - Wesley Wallace Visiting
Lecturer; UNC at Chapel Hill.
Raw Footage - a one hour
interview of Barbara Trent by actor Alec Baldwin broadcast several times per
month during the spring on Bravo and the Independent Film Channel.
1997 - Schmidt Eminent Scholar
in Fine and Performing Arts; Super Chair, Florida Atlantic University, Boca
1993 - The Gaspar Octavio
Hernandez Decoration; Sindicato de Periodistas de Panama (Journalists Union,
Panama). The 1st time an award has ever been given to a non-Panamanian.
1993 - Academy Award; Best
Feature Documentary, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
1992 - Humanist Arts Award;
"For Courageous Advocacy of Progressive Ideals Through Video Documentary,"
American Humanist Association.
1991 - Videomaker of the Year;
1989 - American Film Institute
1983 - Present: Empowerment
Co-Founder/Co-Director; Chapel Hill,
Co-director of media resource center
serving filmmakers and videographers from the region, the nation and
internationally. Producer of outstanding documentary films and videos which are
used as tools for organizing for social change and media reform. Primary
spokesperson, lecturer, and workshop instructor for the organization at
festivals, colleges, and universities around the country and the world.
1996 - 1997: University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dept. of Communications, Wesley
Wallace Visiting Lecturer; Chapel Hill, NC
Designed and taught a class on the
development, production and distribution of documentaries regarding political
and social issues.
1981 - 83: Freelance Consultant,
Santa Monica, CA
Held various organizing positions,
including interim Executive Director, Ocean Park Community Center; interim
Executive Director, Mid-City Neighbors; and Co-organizer, Pilgrimage for Peace,
a caravan of 48 peace activists who traveled to major research and nuclear
weapons facilities enroute to the UN Special Session on Disarmament, 1982
(documented in Bus II, feature-length film by Haskell Wexler).
1978 - 81: Action Agency,
Expert Senior Training Specialist;
Designed and delivered training for
VISTA volunteers and supervisors in 6 states. Appointed during the Carter
1979 - 81: Rural Creative
Founder/Executive Director; Jackson
Established community-based planning,
problem solving and cultural expansion programs with a human service delivery
approach for area rural and Black populations. Developed an extensive arts and
recreation program throughout the county. Trained advocates in small rural and
pocket urban Black communities to identify individuals and families in need of
area services in order to plug them into services available and to assist them
in creating new community programs as needed.
1978 - 79: Jackson County
Community Mental Health Center
Community Developer/Counselor; Jackson
Community developer/counselor for the
Youth Service Bureau, responsible for implementing court diversion, prevention
and treatment for area youth. Initiated programming in rural and Black
1974 - 75: Aeon Alternatives,
Staff; Carbondale, IL
Collaborated in writing a court
diversion grant request for the lower 5 county region in Illinois. Assisted Aeon
in developing responsive programs for youth.
1970-71: Synergy, Inc.
Co-Founder/Core Staff; Carbondale, IL
Provided direct service to and trained
others in drug and life crisis intervention and counseling.
Governors State University,
Illinois, M.A., 1979, B.A., 1975.
1999 - 00: Citizens for
Independent Public Broadcasting, Board of Directors Member, Washington, DC
1998 - 00: United Nations
Associations Film Festival, Honorary Committee, Stanford, CA
1995 - 00: Roy W. Dean Film
Grant, Judge, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago
1994 - 00: Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences, Member at Large
1993 - 00: Empowerment Project
Board of Directors, President
1993 - 95: Association of
Independent Video and Filmmakers, Member
1990 - 92: International
Documentary Association, Board of Directors and Affirmative Action Committee
1986 - 89: ARDIS (Association
for Responsible Dissent), Advisory Board, Washington, DC; Association of
former CIA and FBI officers and agents speaking out about abuses in the name of
1982 - 84: Topanga Organization
for Parents and Students, Co-Chair, Topanga, CA
1980: Illinois White House
Council On Families, Chicago
1979: Southern Illinois Peoples
1977 - 79: Makanda Community
Development Council, Organizer
1974 - 76: Dept. of Corrections,
Group Home Advisory Board, Illinois
1970: Jackson County Alcohol
and Drug Abuse Council, Illinois
1965: International Conference
on Human Rights, New Jersey
1964: White House Conference On
Youth, Washington D.C.
To book Barbara to speak at your
institution contact: Empowerment
PO Box 2155
Chapel Hill NC 27515-2155
Trent is an Oscar®
winning filmmaker, seasoned activist, and trail blazer
for change. She has publicly exposed criminal activities
in the White House, Pentagon, and CIA; and has been the
target of at least three FBI counter intelligence
operations. Her personal story of courage risk and
achievement, starting in the 1960s is inspiring to
fights to expose the forces controlling our media as
well as our government's covert policies. Her films have
been acclaimed, exhibited, and broadcast around the
world. Broadcast resistance in the United States,
however, makes her presentation particularly relevant.
Drawing on a quarter century of filming and community
organizing, Ms. Trent engages audiences in an exciting
journey from skepticism to illumination to action. Her
urgent message inspires audiences to find methods that
will impact the federal government, the mass media, and
the public at large. Ms. Trent examines the present day
obstacles to having an independent and courageous media
in the United States. She educates audiences to "see
through" the daily news and assists them in identifying
ways to access alternative perspectives.
as an Expert Senior Training Specialist for the VISTA
program under Jimmy Carter, Trent has been decorated
with the Gasper Octavio Hernandez Award by the
Journalist's Union in Panama, and is a recipient of the
American Humanist Association's Arts Award for her
"courageous advocacy of progressive ideas." She received
the Academy Award in 1993. Trent co-founded and
co-directs the Empowerment Project, a media
resource center serving hundreds of progressive
videographers and filmmakers each year.
lifelong commitment to empowerment invariably inspires
her audiences to assume more active responsibility for
themselves, their society, and the world in which they
live. Trent's thoughts on ethics the media, government,
the drug crisis, women's issues, affirmative action,
unfettered capitalism, international and national
affairs are presented as a frank source of information,
personal experience, and inspiration.
has been featured in Women of Courage: Inspiring
Stories from the Women Who Lived Them, published
by Turner Publishing, The Cultures of
Globalization, published by Duke University
Humanity in an Age of Terror
published by Duke University Press,
The Search for "Reality": The Art of
Documentary Filming, published by Michael Wiese
Productions, Taking it to the Theaters,
published by the Empowerment Project in association with
National Video Resources, and coming in Fall 2000, You Cross That Line: American Activists Talk About
the Process of Change.
Reviewing the documentary
"Cover-up: Behind the Iran Contra Affair"
By Walter Jensen
Produced by Barbara Trent, Gary
Meyer, and David Kasper
Directed by Barbara Trent
Written by Eve Goldberg
Narrated by Elizabeth Montgomery
Music by Ruben Blades, Richard Elliot, Pink Floyd, and Lou Reed
Distributed by MPI Home Video
Time: 72 Minutes
Release Date: 07-13-1988
UPC Code: 30306-00183
From this video the world has attained proof
that Ronald Reagan and George Bush used the American hostages, held by
the Iranian government, as a political tool to win the 1980 election.
Through the "Freedom of Public Information Act" and the Center for
Constitutional Rights, we now know the following:
1. Ronald Reagan, in 1979, sent George Bush,
Richard Allen, and Donald Greg to two meetings, one in Paris France and
one in Washington DC, to insure Carter was not re-elected. They
negotiated with Manchari Gorbanifar (Iranian arms dealer), Bani Sadr
(president of Iran and political puppet of the Kohmeni regime), Albert
Hakim (arms dealer), and Hashem (diplomat of the Iranian government).
Reagan's team promised that the US federal government would sell over
one billion US dollars in American weapons to Iran if Iran would not
release the American hostages until after the 1980 presidential
2. The reason Iran needed the weapons was to
defend themselves from Iraq. Reagan sold Iran, with out the approval of
United States Congress, military weapons to ensure he would be elected
president of the United States, keep the campaign contarbutions from US
oil companies flowing, and relieve his unfounded fear that the former
Soviet Union was going to invade Iran and Iraq.
Since Reagan had no authority to make such a
deal, he had to hide this unethical transaction from the Congress and
the American people. He did this by using Oliver North, John M.
Poindexer, William Case, and National Security Agency to set-up and
maintained his cover-up. The illegal arms deal, starting on March 9,
1981 and continuing into 1986, was built upon an elaborate network of
dummy corporations (like Kendal Holding Limited and EATSCO) and numbered
bank accounts. The dummy corporation, controlled by Iranian
sympathizers, bought weapons from the US government and sold them to
another dummy corporation, at a small financial increase. The profits
made from the first dummy corporation selling to the second was filtered
through the CIA and given to the Contras. The Contras were another
political Military organization train by the
School of Americas,
to stamp out land reform in Central America, violently.
In light of all this information, two
questions still remain, "Why aren't the guilty members of this sinister
crime serving life sentences in a federal penitentiary, for violating
the human rights of the Iranian held American hostages?" AND "Why are
individuals like Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Oliver North not seen
in the same light as Charles Mansion, John Wayne Gacy, and Jeffery
Many nationalist and neo-Conservatives would
see the entire Iran/Contra affair not as a cover-up but a good use of
political power, an end that justifies the means. They would both see
the cover-up as a necessary way to preserve the political and economical
structure inside and outside America and a necessary way to maintain, in
their opinion, the most advanced society in history, the capitalist
system. Both sides believe this action maintained US control in the
middle east and kept the oil flowing, regardless of the human suffering
and countless human lives that were thrown away all in the name of
For those of you who can not believe the
Neo-Conservative trend has white washed the truth don't take my word for
it. Rent or buy "Cover-up: Behind the Iran Contra Affair" or read "The
Iran Contra Connection: Secret teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan
Era" by Peter Dale Scott and judge for yourself.
Q: When were the Iran Hostages released?
A: January 21, 1981.
The same day as Ronald Reagan's inauguration.
Q: Who picked Reagan's Cabinet?
A: No one really knows.
Paul Slansky, in his book 'The Clothes Have No Emperor: A Chronicle of
American 80s (ISBN 0-671-67339-4),' he gives his readers the idea that
it wasn't Reagan. See pages 11-16.
Q: How did Ronald Reagan avoid answering
Reagan mocked reporters and political opponents by misdirecting their
questions in order to make fun of a particular element of the question
which was asked before the crowd. In this way, Reagan avoided answering
the question and the laughter from his statement erased the question
from the mind of those who heard it. In other words, the laughter
disarmed a potentially damaging situation for Reagan (and/or his staff)
and kept the truth from being known and/or discussed. To conservatives,
Reagan was known as the 'Great Communicator.' However, this was not a
title of great respect but a nicely packaged way to ridicule Reagan.
Think of it this way: A 350 pound, 5 foot 2 inch tall man, asks a woman
if he is fat, she responds, 'No, you're are a slender reed. From that
point on, everyone called the fat man 'slender reed.' Even today,
conservatives are too dense to pick up on the severely sarcastic meaning
behind the phrase 'the Great Communicator.'