WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: KEITH SALKOWSKI
Keith Salkowski has been helping make movies, TV and videos for over 30 years. He’s lived and worked in New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Orlando. He cut his teeth in New York City from 1985 to 1991, where he became a union electrician, working on countless movies, commercials, music videos and videos.
He counts his time on movie sets as the most enjoyable and most valuable learning experiences of his career. Toiling on everything from Hollywood blockbusters to low-budget straight-to-video independent films, he learned production the old-fashion way: by showing up for work every day and spending countless 12-hour days setting lights, hauling cables and picking the brains of anyone who would talk to him. He’s been fortunate to work alongside many legendary directors and DPs including Oliver Stone, James Cameron, Spike Lee, Terry Gilliam, Ernest Dickerson, Laszlo Kovacks, Robert Richardson, Robert Elswit and Gordon Willis.
Salkowski began his professional writing career in 1990, and had his first professional producing gig in 1992. In 1997, he earned an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute Conservatory, ranked the number one graduate film program in the world by the Hollywood Reporter. While there, he won the prestigious Screenwriting Award for First Year Fellows, which included a $10,000 prize. He’s written six feature screenplays, four of which have been optioned.
From 1993 to 2006, he honed his non-fiction story-telling skills by writing, producing and editing several dozen documentary shorts for Maryland Public Television. From 2006 to 2014, he wrote and/or post-produced hundreds of long-form projects for Discovery Communications, home of the Discovery Channel and more than a hundred off-shoot channels around the world. One of his favorite projects during that time was an Animal Planet documentary about efforts to protect a small, endangered primate found only on Madagascar. Known as the Silky Sifaka, this beautiful, stunningly human-like lemur is one of the rarest animals in the world.
Salkowski has racked up numerous accolades for his short documentaries and videos, including eight Telly Awards, three ITVS Awards, and a Suncoast Emmy nomination.
History has been a life-long love. Salkowski earned his Bachelor’s in American History from Harvard University, where his teachers included Bernard Bailyn, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and Stephen Thernstrom, a Bancroft winner. He has never stopped reading history and owns more history books than he can count. While he has a particular fondness for World War II and American cultural history, he loves and reads about all facets of world history.
Salkowski also firmly believes in leading a well-rounded, enriching life. He has been involved in sports as an athlete, coach, administrator and on-field official since the age of 8. He currently works every Autumn weekend as an NCAA football official. An avid backpacker, hiker and mountaineer, he has climbed mountains on three continents, and plans on making it seven in the near future.
Given all of the above, it’s no surprise that Keith Salkowski feels that the opportunity to make a feature historical documentary on a case as important as The Groveland Four is a dream come true.