Juanita Anderson is a veteran producer, documentary filmmaker and still photographer who was born and raised in Detroit. Her multi-faceted career includes a combined 17-years at public television stations WSIU (producer/director, production manager) WTVS (executive producer) and WGBH (series producer), before becoming an independent producer/filmmaker in 1993. A long-standing advocate for diversity in public media, Anderson was a co-founder of the National Black Programming Consortium in 1979 (now Black Public Media), and served on the board of directors of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) from 1998-2005. She is currently a member of the board of directors of American Documentary, Inc., the producing organization of the public television series, POV and America Reframed.
Over the course of her career, Anderson has served as a mentor to multiple generations of emerging and established filmmakers, and has launched some 15 projects into national public television distribution. As a station producer, she garnered three NBPC Prized Pieces Awards and seven regional Emmys for her work on the groundbreaking African American television series Detroit Black Journal and Say Brother. She was the executive producer of the NBPC-co-produced PBS news and public affairs specials The State of Black America 1984, Forum on Black America 1985, and Black America: Facing the Millennium (1997) which she also directed.
Anderson is best known for her work as executive producer of the 1988 Academy Award-nominated feature film Who Killed Vincent Chin? (a film by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima), which garnered a duPont Columbia Silver Baton, a George Foster Peabody Award, and was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2021. Her executive producer credits also include the four-hour ITVS-commissioned series Positive: Life With HIV (1995), and the Favorite Poem Project Video Anthology (2000, 2006, 2014), conceived by U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, and originally commissioned for the bicentennial of the Library of Congress.
Anderson has also produced and directed a range of short films and video essays including 18th and Vine: A People’s Journey, commissioned in 1997 for permanent exhibition at the Museums at 18th and Vine in Kansas City, MO. Her recent directorial credits include the documentary short, Sydney G. James: How We See Us (2022), produced for the Firelight Media/American Masters short film series, In The Making. Anderson is also a 2022 Firelight Media Spark Fund recipient for her humanities-themed documentary feature film Hastings Street Blues, which is currently in production.
A long-standing champion of the arts, Anderson is a past national president of the National Conference of Artists, the nation’s oldest African American visual arts organization. She is an accomplished still photographer whose work is included in the collections of Fayetteville State University, Southern Methodist University and the Mott-Warsh Collection. She has been awarded fellowships from the American Dance Festival Dance/Television Workshop, the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on African Cinema, and the Television Academy Foundation. The 2019-2020 Wayne State University Murray E. Jackson Creative Scholar in the Arts, she is currently Resident Artist in Media Arts for The Carr Center in Detroit.
Degrees and Certifications
M.A. in Speech, Communication and Theatre (Radio-TV-Film), University of Michigan
B.A. in Journalism; Radio-TV-Film, University of Michigan
Primary Research Interest
African American and African world culture and history, the arts in society, urban issues, African and African world cinema, documentary studies, multiculturalism in public media, public broadcasting studies