Meet the filmmakers behind ‘Borderland’

March 7, 2014 12:00PM ET

Learn about the creators of Al Jazeera America’s original series


“Borderland” premieres Sunday, April 13 at 9E/6P

Mark Rogers

Ivan O’Mahoney
Director/executive producer/writer (co-founder, In Films)

Ivan O’Mahoney received the 2013 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award for best documentary series and the 2012 Australian Directors Guild Award for best direction in a documentary series. He has directed and produced films for HBO, BBC, ARTE, Channel 4, PBS and the Discovery Channel. A former lawyer and U.N. peacekeeper in Bosnia, he holds degrees in international law (Leyden) and journalism (Columbia).

O’Mahoney’s other acclaimed projects include “Baghdad High,” about teenagers in Iraq (HBO); “How to Plan a Revolution,” following democracy activists in Azerbaijan (BBC); and “Surviving Hunger,” a film on famine in Ethiopia (CNN). His films have won the Rose d’Or, Prix Europa, Japan Prize, Golden Nymph, R.F. Kennedy Journalism Award and Amnesty International Media Award.

His work is regularly screened at major festivals like Tribeca, Sheffield, Michael Moore’s Traverse City festival and the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival.

O’Mahoney guest-lectures at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School; produced for the flagship Australian current affairs show “Four Corners”; developed the Logie-winning SBS series “Law and Disorder” (on whistle-blowers); and produced the ABC series “Great Southern Land.” He co-authored that series’ accompanying book, which has just been published by Harper Collins. Recently he was appointed an applications assessor with Screen NSW.

Nial Fulton
Executive producer/writer (co-founder, In Films)

Nial Fulton is a principal partner and co-founder of In Films, an independent production company based in Sydney, Los Angeles and Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has produced films for some of Australia’s leading production companies, including Cordell Jigsaw and Essential Media and has delivered content to a wide range of broadcasters, including BBC, Channel 4, ABC, RTE, National Geographic, Discovery, ARTE, France 5, SBS, Nine and Ten.

In 2008 he produced and wrote the “The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce,” which was nominated for best drama at the 2009 Irish Film and Television Awards, the 2009 AFI Awards and the 2010 Rose d’Or; won best documentary at the 2009 Inside Film Awards; and has screened and won awards at film festivals around the world. He has twice been a member of the International Emmy Awards documentary jury and regularly sits on the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television awards jury for drama and documentary. 

Fulton produced the 2009 AFI Award–winning documentary “Solo” with Jen Peedom and in 2010 produced the Logie-nominated series “Miracles,” a four-part series for National Geographic, France 5 and ABC. The series was shot on location in Laos, Thailand, New Zealand and Australia. In 2013 he joined forces with Ivan O’Mahoney to create In Films, specializing in high-end documentary and fact-based drama. In its first year of operation, In Films produced the drama “The Outlaw Michael Howe” with ABC and the four-part immersive documentary series “Borderland,” the first original content commission for Al Jazeera America.

Darren Foster is a documentary producer and director. He is a co-creator and series producer of “Inside: Secret America,” an investigative documentary series for National Geographic Channel.

He has produced and directed films that have led him into the swamps of Nigeria looking for oil rebels, into the Amazon in search of the fabled kambo frog and into his own backyard to report on the takeover of California’s marijuana trade by Mexican drug-trafficking organizations, during which he was the first to film an assault and arrest of growers in the Sierra.

He was a founding member and senior producer of “Vanguard” on Current TV. The series’ documentary “The OxyContin Express,” the first undercover investigation of Florida’s “pill mills,” received a 2009 Peabody Award, a Television Academy Honor and an Emmy nomination. That same year, he was named a finalist for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists for his reporting on the Iraq-Iran border.

Foster is co-founder of the production company Muck Media. His work has appeared on PBS, CNN, CBS, Channel 4 (U.K.) and the CBC. He has an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.  

Alex Simmons is an Emmy-nominated director-producer and a recipient of Overseas Press Club and Prism awards. He has worked with Discovery, ABC News and Grantland for ESPN.

He directed and series-produced “Inside: Secret America,” which recently aired on National Geographic. He has directed documentaries on topics ranging from soldiers with PTSD to anti-gay legislation in Uganda to Brazil’s race to clear Rio’s slums of crime, and the criminals themselves, before hosting the World Cup and Olympics.

Simmons has produced and directed dozens of music documentaries and concert films, including “Sigur Ros Live @ MoMA,” “Death Cab for Cutie — Open Windows” and “Mos Def in Japan,” selected as one of Rolling Stone magazine’s best of the year. He is currently directing a documentary about Victor Carranza, the “emerald czar” of Colombia.

Jeffrey Plunkett is an Emmy-nominated and Overseas Press Club Award–winning producer and director who has worked with MTV, HBO Real Sports, CNBC, Discovery and Current TV. 

He is currently directing a film for ESPN’s “30 for 30″ documentary series about the collision of soccer and politics after Chile’s 1973 coup. Previously, he has embedded with the far-right English Defense League to illustrate Europe’s growing fear of Islam, followed the lives of two undocumented immigrants in California, posed as a soccer agent in Ghana and France to learn about the illegal trade in young African players, and was thrown out of a tobacco industry conference in Jakarta while detailing Big Tobacco’s push into the developing world. 

A product of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Plunkett has written for Time magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, the South China Morning Post and the East Bay Express.

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