Andrew Gersh

Documentary Editor for the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond

ALONE: Teens in Solitary Confinement

It’s an epidemic of what some call state-sanctioned torture in America: the solitary confinement of thousands of incarcerated teenagers, locked in cells the size of small bathrooms for up to 23 hours a day. ALONE: Teens in Solitary Confinement investigates New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, where unconvicted teens often find themselves confined in ‘the box’ for months at a time. It takes a candid and critical look at one of the most controversial forms of incarceration affecting adolescents in the United States; a form of punishment shrouded in secrecy.

ALONE is featured in the premiere episode of  “REVEAL,” a new, four-part series for public television presented by Oregon Public Broadcasting. It has also shown at film festivals around the world, including the 2014 Social Justice and UNSPOKEN Human Rights film festivals.

ALONE: Teens in Solitary Confinement was produced and directed by Daffodil Altan for the Center for Investigative Reporting. Read more here.

Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness

Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness is a one-hour documentary about a town coming together to take action after anti-immigrant violence devastates the community. In 2008, a series of attacks against Latino residents of Patchogue, New York culminate with the murder of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant who had lived in the Long Island village for 13 years.

Over a two-year period, the story follows Mayor Paul Pontieri, the victim’s brother, Joselo Lucero, and Patchogue residents as they openly address the underlying causes of the violence, work to heal divisions, and begin taking steps to ensure everyone in their village will be safe and respected.

Directed by Patrice O’Neill of The Working Group.  Watch the entire film at

In an Ideal World

An intimate and stirring portrait of three men on the front-lines of power and race in America, IN AN IDEAL WORLD goes deep inside a California prison to explore — and honor — the human drama at the core of America’s locked down racial order.

Shot over seven years with unlimited access, IN AN IDEAL WORLD is an immersive story told firsthand, without outside experts or narration. A white warden at ease with authority, a separatist mafioso and a black gangbanger – all three men come from different worlds. Yet all have spent their entire adult lives in prison, sharing a culture of race and power that has, in just that time, institutionalized the American racial landscape in ways that we are only beginning to understand, and that may prove very difficult to undo. Each came into the system very young, learned the convict/cop “codes” from their groups, and over three decades gained power and influence in prison. At the same time, crime control in the U.S. came to rely almost exclusively on locking people up, increasingly and disproportionately people of color.  John, Sam and the warden learned how to navigate prison’s complex, violent and deeply entrenched, racially divided culture, but now find themselves on the cusp of potentially radical change.

Produced and Directed by Noel Schwerin for Backbone Media. Read more here.

Generation Z: Child Soldiers of the Zetas

Generation Z: Child Soldiers of the Zetas investigates a terrifying aspect of the drug wars that have raged along the US-Mexico border: the recruitment of child soldiers by the Zetas, the notoriously violent gang of ex-military commandos. For more than a decade, drug cartels have been battling for control of smuggling routes along the border. The violence has devastated nearby towns and claimed the lives of some 60,000 people. The Zetas seized control of one of the key cities in the region, Nuevo Laredo, and dominate the highly lucrative smuggling route across the Rio Grande into Laredo, Texas. To sustain their power, the Zetas have turned increasingly to the recruitment of adolescents – on both sides of the border – to serve as lookouts, extortionists, drug mules and killers. Generation Z explores the rise of the Zetas and their leader, Miguel Treviño, who aggressively pursued the strategy of recruiting child soldiers.

Generation Z is featured in “REVEAL,” a new, four-part series for public television presented by Oregon Public Broadcasting. It received the Grand Jury Award For Best Short Documentary at the 17th United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF).

Generation Z: Child Soldiers of the Zetas was produced and directed by Josiah Hooper for The Center for Investigative Reporting.

NOVA: The Tribe that Time Forgot

For nearly 400 years, a group known as the Arara Indians, or the Jaguar People, have lived throughout the Amazon Basin. These indigenous people have defended their livelihood, culture, and beliefs against the Portuguese, Brazilians, and, until recently, North Americans. The Arara have managed to avoid contact with other groups and have protected themselves from extinction by constantly moving throughout the rain forest. This episode of NOVA follows a two-man crew, equipped only with specialized camera equipment, on a journey into the Brazilian Amazon to explore the mysteries of the Arara.

Produced and Directed by John Miles. Originally broadcast November 8, 1994.

The Delano Manongs


While the California farm labor movement’s biggest names are Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, few know the crucial role that organizer Larry Itliong and a group of Filipino farm workers played in the establishment of that famous movement.

Itliong’s Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee instigated one of the American farm labor movement’s most defining moments, the Delano Grape Strike of 1965. Itliong — a five foot five, cigar-chomping union veteran — organized 1,500 Filipino laborers to strike against the grape growers of Delano, California for the federal minimum wage. They fought alone until Itliong persuaded Cesar Chavez and his group of Latino farmworkers to join the strike.

What happened after that made civil rights history: the two groups merged together to created the United Farm Workers Union (UFW), with Cesar Chavez as director and Larry Itliong as assistant director. Yet Larry’s story and the story of the Filipinos and their union organizing efforts that began in the 1920s in the US have virtually been forgotten.

Andrew Gersh co-wrote and edited a first cut of the film and a fundraising sampler/trailer which was awarded funding through the Independent Television Service (ITVS). Produced by Niall McKay. Directed by Marissa Aroy. Read more at the official site.


Neurosurgeon Dr. Jam Ghajar has a controversial technique he says is key to survival in the first week after major head trauma – but dangerously missing from standard procedure at some 70 percent of hospitals across the country. A co-production of WGBH/Nova and ABC News/PrimeTime Live. Produced by Linda Garmon.

RUMI: Poet of the Heart

Why does the 13th century Persian mystic Jelaluddin Rumi remain the bestselling poet in America? Featuring poetry and conversation with preeminent Rumi translator Coleman Barks, poet Robert Bly, Deepak Chopra, storyteller Michael Meade, mythologist Huston Smith and others. Musical performances by Grammy nominated artists Hamza El Din and Jai Uttal. Narrated by Academy award nominee Debra Winger. Directed by Haydn Reiss.


A feature-length documentary and proposed television series exploring the creative process and collaboration between musicians of different generations, backgrounds and musical styles. Featured musicians include Ron Carter, Steve Turre, Broun Fellinis, Tom Ze, Tortoise, Isotope 217, Pharoah Sanders and John Faddis. Directed by Michael Jordan.