Rain Media Wins a Peabody Award

United States of Secrets, FRONTLINE’s two-part investigation of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities post-9/11, has been honored with a Peabody Award for excellence in documentary filmmaking. Rain Media produced Part Two of this series, examining how Silicon Valley feeds the NSA’s global surveillance dragnet.

“With extensive, candid interviews from both critics and defenders, FRONTLINE provided a great public service, revealing in clear, comprehensible detail how the U.S. government in its post-9/11 zeal came to monitor and collect the communications of millions of people around the world – and here at home – and the lengths to which officials have gone to hide the massive surveillance from the public,” said the announcement on the Peabody Awards website.

The Peabody Award for United States of Secrets will be presented on May 31, 2015.

Rain Media Wins Emmy for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting – Long Form

Emmy Award

Rain Media was a winner at the 35th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards with The Retirement Gamble (2013), an investigation into whether your IRA or 401(k) accounts will ensure a safe retirement. The film won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting – Long Form. The Retirement Gamble was produced by Rain Media’s Marcela Gaviria and featured Martin Smith as correspondent. You can stream the film for free any time on FRONTLINE’s website. Congratulations to all of the winners!

Martin Smith Receives the 2014 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism

Martin Smith in Afgahnistan

Rain Media is very proud to announce that founder Martin Smith is the recipient of the 2014 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism, presented by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Smith was selected in recognition of his courageous and insightful reporting on some of the most complex stories of our time: everything from revolutions in Central America and the fall of communism in Russia, to the rise of Al Qaeda and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The John Chancellor Award is presented each year to a reporter for his or her cumulative accomplishments. The prize honors the legacy of pioneering television correspondent and longtime NBC News anchor John Chancellor. Selected by a nine-member committee, Smith receives the 2014 award with a $25,000 cash prize. The award will be presented at a dinner ceremony at Columbia University’s Low Library in New York on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014.

“Over the course of his long and distinguished career, Martin Smith has produced a truly unique body of work with independence and credibility,” said Steve Coll, dean of the journalism school. “Smith’s work represents the best of public interest journalism, and embodies the spirit of the John Chancellor Award.”

“Whether presciently reporting on Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden both before and immediately after 9/11, trying to understand the collapse of a new economy in Dot-Con, or laying out in delicious detail The Madoff Affair, Marty Smith has shown the kind of range and reportorial chops that any of us would envy,” said David Fanning, FRONTLINE executive producer.

“Marty is an astonishingly insightful, tenacious and courageous journalist and filmmaker whose reporting makes the world a better place,” said FRONTLINE deputy executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath, 95’. “It’s an honor to work with him, and we’re thrilled to premiere his next documentary, The Rise of ISIS, on October 28.”

 Click here to read Martin’s full biography.

Rain Media Nominated for 3 Emmy Awards

Rain Media has been nominated for three News & Documentary Emmy Awards this year. The winners will be announced announced on Tuesday, September 30, 2014, at a ceremony at Frederick P. Rose Hall in the Time Warner Center in New York City.

Rain Media’s Egypt in Crisis was nominated in the Outstanding Coverage a Current News Story—Long Form category. The film was produced by Martin Smith and Marcela Gaviria, with GlobalPost‘s Charles Sennott as correspondent.

Meanwhile, two Rain Media films were nominated in the Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting—Long Form category. The Retirement Gamble, produced by Marcela Gaviria with Martin Smith as correspondent received the first nomination; while The Untouchables, produced by Martin Smith and co-produced by Linda Hirsch and Ben Gold received the second nomination.

Rain Media Nominated for 2 Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism

Rain Media was recently nominated for two Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism.

The Untouchables, which explores the lack of Wall Street prosecutions in the wake of the financial crisis, is a Video/Audio Category Finalist. Federal Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who handles Wall Street criminal cases out of his seat in the Southern District of New York, recently cited The Untouchables in his New York Review of Books essay “The Financial Crisis: Why Have No High-Level Executives Been Prosecuted,” in which he claims that Lanny Breuer, the former leader of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, “totally misstates the law” during his interview on the program.

Meanwhile, The Retirement Gamble, FRONTLINE’s thorough primer on the uphill battle to retirement, is a Personal Finance Category Finalist. As TIME Magazine said, “You are all but certain to identify with one or more subjects in the program, and it may provide just the jolt you need to start paying attention to investment costs and save 10% of every penny you earn.”

Both films can be streamed for free on the PBS FRONTLINE website.

Congratulations to all of the finalists!

United States of Secrets, Pt. 2 to Air Tuesday, May 20 at 10 P.M. on PBS

When NSA contractor Edward Snowden downloaded tens of thousands of top-secret documents from a highly secure government network, it led to the largest leak of classified information in history — and sparked a fierce debate over privacy, technology and democracy in the post-9/11 world.

Now, in United States of Secrets, FRONTLINE goes behind the headlines to reveal the dramatic inside story of how the U.S. government came to monitor and collect the communications of millions of people around the world—including ordinary Americans—and the lengths they went to trying to hide the massive surveillance program from the public.

In part one, a two-hour film premiering Tuesday, May 13 at a special time (9 p.m.), FRONTLINE went inside Washington and the National Security Agency, piecing together the secret history of the unprecedented surveillance program that began in the wake of September 11 and continues today – even after the revelations of its existence by Edward Snowden.

Now, in part two, premiering Tuesday, May 20 at 10 p.m., veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker Martin Smith (The Untouchables, To Catch a Trader) continues the story, exploring the secret relationship between Silicon Valley and the National Security Agency, and investigating how the government and tech companies have worked together to gather and warehouse your data.

Smith investigates the ways Silicon Valley has played a role in the NSA’s dragnet, and blurred the boundaries of privacy for us all.

“As big technology companies encouraged users to share more and more information about their lives, they created a trove of data that could be useful not simply to advertisers—but also to the government,” Smith says. “Privacy advocates have been worried about this since the early days of the Internet, and the Snowden revelations about the scope of government spying brought their fears into high relief.”

“If the FBI came to your door and demanded photos of your wedding, the names and daily habits of your children, the restaurants you frequent, who you’ve called and texted for the past month, and where you’ll be staying on your upcoming vacation, you’d call your lawyer,” Smith says. “But that’s exactly the sort of information we’re all sharing by living our lives digitally — and the government has taken notice in a big way.”

To Catch a Trader to Air Tuesday, January 7 at 10 p.m. on PBS

The $8 billion fortune amassed by the hedge fund titan Steven A. Cohen was stunning: a 35,000-square-foot mansion on Connecticut’s “Gold Coast”; a $62 million beach house in the Hamptons; a $115 million duplex in New York City, furnished with some of the world’s most valuable art.

Was Cohen’s firm, SAC Capital, simply smarter than the other players on Wall Street? Or, as the U.S. Justice Department began to suspect, was there another explanation for how SAC managed to beat the stock market and bring in sky-high returns for Cohen and his investors year after year?

From the team behind FRONTLINE’s The Untouchables and Money, Power and Wall Street comes To Catch a Trader (premiering Tuesday, Jan. 7, on PBS; check local listings), the suspenseful and compelling story of the unprecedented government investigation that led to the largest insider trading case in U.S. history.

Drawing on exclusively obtained video of Cohen, FBI wiretaps of other hedge fund traders, and interviews with both Wall Street and Justice Department insiders (including U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the “sheriff of Wall Street”), To Catch a Trader traces the rise of Cohen’s empire and goes inside the government’s ongoing, seven-year crackdown on insider trading in the hedge fund industry.

“Our investigation found that in 2006, for the first time, the FBI started to go after hedge funds the same way they went after the mob,” says FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith, who, along with director and producer Nick Verbitsky, spent six months digging into the government’s cases against traders at SAC Capital and other hedge funds.

“They began investigating Cohen and his peers in the same fashion—wiretapping, flipping informants, basically using these methods to target white-collar criminals for the first time,” Smith says.

As FRONTLINE reports, since prosecutors first set their sights on the hedge fund industry, the FBI’s crackdown has uncovered institutional, widespread malfeasance.

As one agent tells FRONTLINE, “We likened it to the first Jaws movie, that we’re ‘going to need a bigger boat.’”

To date, the government has convicted 76 people of securities fraud and conspiracy. In November 2013, SAC Capital agreed to plead guilty to what prosecutors called “insider trading that was substantial, pervasive, and on a scale without precedent in the history of hedge funds.” Under an agreement still pending a judge’s approval, the firm will cease to operate as a hedge fund and will pay a $1.8 billion penalty.

Steven Cohen has not been charged with insider trading; he instead faces civil charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly failing to supervise his employees and prevent misconduct.

U.S. Attorney Bharara tells FRONTLINE that the government’s investigation into insider trading at hedge funds will continue.

“Our responsibility and obligation is to make sure that everybody understands that no one is above the law,” Bharara says, “that it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, who you’re connected to, you have to play by the same rules as everyone else.”

Unfolding with the urgency of a crime novel, To Catch a Trader is a must-watch primer for what happens next.

The 34th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards; 10/1/13

Rain Media Wins an Emmy for Money, Power and Wall Street

PBS FRONTLINE’s four-hour special chronicling the history of the 2008 financial crisis, Money, Power and Wall Street, took home last night’s News and Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting – Long Form. Rain Media shared the award with the Kirk Documentary Group. Congratulations to all the winners, including FRONTLINE founder and Executive Producer David Fanning, who won the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rain Media Earns Four News & Documentary Emmy Nominations

Rain Media earned four News & Documentary Emmy nominations yesterday for its work for PBS FRONTLINE in 2012.

The Regime Responds was nominated for Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story in a News Magazine.

Six Billion Dollar Bet and Cell Tower Deaths, a FRONTLINE-ProPublica collaboration, were both nominated for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting in a News Magazine.

And the four-hour series Money, Power & Wall Street was nominated for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting — Long Form. Rain Media shares this nomination with the Kirk Documentary Group.

Read more…

About Rain Media

Rain Media is an independent documentary production company based in New York City. The company was founded in 1998 by veteran filmmaker and journalist Martin Smith. Rain’s films have covered the most important news events of our time, from the rise of Al Qaeda and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the global financial crisis.

Since founding Rain, Smith and his producing partner Marcela Gaviria have produced and reported dozens of hours for PBS FRONTLINE and other recognized outlets. Rain’s films have won every major award in broadcast journalism, including multiple Emmys, duPont-Columbia Gold Batons, George Polk Awards, Peabody Awards, Overseas Press Club and Writers Guild Awards. Rain Media is committed to powerful storytelling, exceptional production values and intelligent reporting.

Complete Filmography

Chasing Heroin, February February 23, 2016 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Inside Assad’s Syria, October 27, 2015 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Obama at WarMay 26, 2015 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Firestone and the Warlord, November 18, 2014 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Rise of ISIS, October 28, 2014 (PBS FRONTLINE)

United States of Secrets, Pt. 2: Privacy Lost, May 20, 2014 (PBS FRONTLINE)

To Catch a Trader, January 7, 2014 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Egypt in Crisis, September 17, 2013 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Retirement Gamble, April 23, 2013 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Untouchables, January 22, 2013 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Regime Responds, September 18, 2012 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Six Billion Dollar Bet, May 22, 2012 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Cell Tower Deaths, May 22, 2012 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Money, Power and Wall Street, April 24, 2012 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Regime, November 11, 2011 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Interrogator, September 13, 2011 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Educating Sergeant Pantzke, June 28, 2011 (PBS FRONTLINE)

WikiSecrets, May 24, 2011 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Private Life of Bradley Manning, May 6, 2011 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Brothers, February 22, 2011 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Spy Who Quit, January 18,  2011 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Spill, October 26, 2010 (PBS FRONTLINE)

College, Inc., May 4, 2010 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Quake, March 30, 2010 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Obama’s War, October 13, 2009 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Madoff Affair, May 12, 2009 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The War Briefing, January 12, 2009 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Heat, October 21, 2008 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Living on the Edge, June 24, 2008 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Telling the Truth, January 28, 2008 (Columbia University)

The Medicated Child, January 8, 2008 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Gangs of Iraq, April 17, 2007 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Telling the Truth, January 28, 2007 (Columbia University)

Return of the Taliban, October 3, 2006 (PBS FRONTLINE)

State of the Union, June 30, 2006 (ABC News)

Inside Hamas, May 9, 2006 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Telling the Truth, January 26, 2006 (Columbia University)

The Storm, November 25, 2005 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Private Warriors, June 21, 2005 (PBS FRONTLINE)

House of Saud, February 8, 2005 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Reporting the War, January 11, 2005 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Choice, October 12, 2004 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Beyond Baghdad, February 12, 2004 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Truth War and Consequences, October 9, 2003 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Kim’s Nuclear Gamble, April 10, 2003 (PBS FRONTLINE)

In Search of Al Qaeda, November 21, 2002 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Great Divide, September 6, 2002 (ABC News)

Dot Con, January 24, 2002 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Saudi Time Bomb, November 15, 2001 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Looking For Answers, October 11, 2001 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Hunting Bin Laden, September 13, 2001 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Medicating Kids, April 10, 2001 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Drug Wars, October 9, 2000 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Terrorist and the Superpower, April 13, 1999 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The American Game, July 20,1998 (Peter Jennings Reporting, ABC News)

Who is Tim McVeigh?, April 10, 1997 (Peter Jennings Reporting, ABC News)

Pot of Gold, March 13, 1997 (Peter Jennings Reporting, ABC News)

Rage and Betrayal, April 11, 1996 (Peter Jennings Reporting, ABC News)

Hiroshima: Why We Dropped the Bomb?, July 27, 1995 (Peter Jennings Reporting, ABC News)

In the Name of God, March 16, 1995 (Peter Jennings Reporting, ABC News)

Springfield Goes to War, November 20, 1990 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Inside Gorbachev’s USSR, May, 1989 (WGBH)

Who Pays for Aids?, June 7, 1988 (PBS FRONTLINE)

The Bombing of West Philly, May 5, 1987 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Who’s Running This War?, March 18, 1986 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Crisis in Central America: Revolution in Nicaragua, April 11, 1985 (PBS FRONTLINE)

Toxic, July 1983, (Our Times with Bill Moyers, CBS News)

CBS Reports: Guatemala, September 1, 1982 (CBS News)

CBS Reports: Central America in Revolt, March 20, 1982 (CBS News)