Les GuthmanLes Guthman
Les Guthman is a multiple award-winning documentary producer and director, a writer and production executive. He has the distinction of both having produced three of the “20 Top Adventure Films of All Time,” according to Men’s Journal magazine, and having won the National Academy of Science’s nationwide competition to find the best new idea in science television, which led to his film, “Three Nights at the Keck,” with actor John Lithgow.
Mr. Guthman is currently producer, director and writer of the feature documentary, “LIGO,” produced by his Advanced LIGO Documentary Project, a three-year collaboration with Caltech, MIT and the National Science Foundation.
As founding Executive Vice President and Executive Producer of Outside Television, the production division of Outside magazine, Les Guthman produced 28 feature-length expedition, adventure and environmental documentaries, including Michael Brown’s “Farther Than the Eye Can See,” which was nominated for two primetime Emmy Awards — the awards for Outstanding Sports Documentary and Outstanding Sports Cinematography (on Mt. Everest). It tells the story of blind climber Erik Weihenmeyer’s renowned summit of Everest.
Outside was the second major American magazine that Mr, Guthman brought to national television. In 1991, he created and produced the “Discover Magazine” science series at the Walt Disney Company, based on Discover magazine.
Mr. Guthman has directed 12 documentaries, including “Messner,” the first documentary about Reinhold Messner, the world’s greatest mountain climber, since Werner Herzog’s “The Dark Glow of the Mountains” in 1984. “Messner” was an Opening Night selection of the Mountainfilm in Telluride festival. He also made two highly regarded environmental films with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., “The Hudson Riverkeepers” and “The Waterkeepers,” now combined into one feature documentary, “The Waterkeepers, With Robert F. Kennedy Jr.”
“Churning the Sea of Time: A Journey Up the Mekong to Angkor,” premiered at Lincoln Center in April 2006 and was an official selection of the Museum of Modern Art's "Directors Fortnight Expanded” in 2007. It was shown at the Royal Geographical Society in London, the Smithsonian in Washington, DC; and the Asia Society in New York, among other featured screenings.
Mr. Guthman spent nine years at NBC News in New York as manager of the NBC News Political Unit and a writer and producer for Tom Brokaw.
He began his career as a Story Editor of "Visions," the Peabody Award-winning landmark PBS independent film and national drama series. One of its films, “Alambrista,” won the Camera d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival. Michael Arlen, then the television critic for The New Yorker, wrote, “One might say that, halfway through its first year, Visions is already the most interesting and original regular American dramatic program that can be found anywhere on American television.”
Mr. Guthman lives in New York City with his wife, the artist Susan Kleinberg. He is a member of the Explorers Club and a Fellow of the Canadian Royal Geographical Society.