Michael Harris is one of the most celebrated independent filmmakers and documentarians in the Pacific Northwest. His long-format documentaries and specials have garnered numerous industry honors, including several Regional Emmy Awards and nominations, and adeptly cover a wide range of subject matter. from wildlife to the arts. Many of his works on social justice and environmental issues have not only garnered critical acclaim and wide audiences, but have been credited with materially advancing and even directly impacting policy decisions by elected officials. In short, Baby Wild Films have made a difference.
"Killer Whales, Beneath the Surface"
The latest installment of the "Natural World" series produced by the world-renowned Natural History Unit of BBC
The Orca Captures, and Tucker the Pooper-Snooper Dog / Featuring Archive Footage and Project Consultation from Michael Harris, Baby Wild Films / Full-Length Film
Over the last five years, Baby Wild Films has been documenting an extraordinary international project in Argentina and Chile -- the first-ever trail stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts of Tierra del Fuego, some 150 miles, crossing borders, and, as its builders hope, helping to nurture peace on the planet. The "Peace Trail," as it's beginning to be known, has for decades been the vision of American developer and artist David Syre, once one of the largest private landowners in South America, and now has been taken up by wide and diverse range of Americans, Argentinos and Chileans and is at last breaking ground. This feature-length network film will trace the project from start to finish, examining the remarkable logistical and social challenges that still face its builders, and the grave need for peacemaking in "El Fin del Mundo," the End of the World, including the Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands) that make this undertaking so important. "The Peace Trail" also looks at the powerful cultural history of the Native people who once lived here.
This webcast documentary (and series demo) visits with small farmers in Yakima County, Washington, as they fight concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, and the loosely regulated mega-dairies fouling the air and water of their community. Emmy Award-winner for "Outstanding Advanced Media."
"ONE WORLD With Olivia Newton-John: THE GALAPAGOS"
"The world is connected by one body of water, one ocean..."
Michael Harris and seven-time ASCAP Award-winning composer Tim Truman teamed up to produce this international series of films hosted, narrated and co-written by Grammy Award-winning recording artist, actress, activist and former United Nations Ambassador of the Environment Olivia Newton-John. Olivia and her daughter Chloe visit "The Enchanted Islands" of The Galápagos, Ecuador, following the footsteps of famed naturalist Charles Darwin, exploring the amazing creatures here that inspired his On the Origin of Species and theories on evolution – almost as topical today as they were in Darwin’s time. Olivia joins researchers from the world-renowned Charles Darwin Research Station and the Galápagos National Park Service as they work to save some of the most fragile flora and fauna on Earth – from the world’s only marine iguana, flightless cormorant and tropical penguin (“lizards that swim and birds that can’t fly”) to the endangered Galápagos giant tortoise, the islands’ storied namesake. It’s a natural – and photographic paradise – and one that is still evolving, this time to accommodate survival of the Islands’ newest resident creatures, people.
As seen on Outdoor Life Network and Channel Nine, Australia's largest network.
"GIANTS of the Pacific Northwest"
Michael Harris produced, wrote, edited and hosted this experiential primetime special on KOMO 4 Television (ABC Seattle) exploring the whales, dolphins and porpoises of the Salish Sea and the wide range of attitudes about them, from whale huggers to whale hunters. The special includes a powerful – and controversial – segment shot in the Arctic, following a Makah whaler on a pilgrimmage north to witness the great Iñupiat bowhead hunt. For his work on that special, Michael was nominated for an Emmy Award in the coveted category of “Outstanding Host,” one of just four nominees this year across the five-state region.
"iSi Se Puede! Connecting Farmworker Communities"
Michael Harris, photojournalist Kevin Ely and producer Victoria Garcia literally immersed themselves in the world of the migrant farmworker to produce this extraordinary special, shot in eastern Washington State during the annual apple harvest. At a time when undocumented workers were in constant risk of being deported, the filmmakers were somehow able to quickly earn the trust of these pickers and hear their stories of hardship and hope. The resulting special put a face on the migrant farmworker, "The New Okies," and introduces to viewers a community they knew were out there, but really didn't know. Emmy Award-winner for "Outstanding Public Affairs Special." Emmy nominee for "Outstanding Photography/Program Length."
"THE INLAND SEA With Jean-Michel Cousteau: Where Have All the Orcas Gone?"
World-renowned oceans advocate Jean-Michel Cousteau hosts and narrates this critically acclaimed documentary looking at the history and current plight of Puget Sound's resident killer whales. Cousteau's first-ever television project relating to the region's totem species. Produced, written and edited by Michael Harris, with original music by Tim Truman,. Emmy Award-winner for "Outstanding Writer/Program Length" and "Outstanding Editor/Program Length." Emmy Award-nominee for "Outstanding Original Composition"
"THE INLAND SEA With Jean-Michel Cousteau: A Puget Sound Fish Story"
Jean-Michel Cousteau explores the undersea world of Puget Sound. Features never-before-seen footage of wolf eels, rockfish and all creatures great and small residing in the depths of the Salish Sea. Produced, written and edited by Michael Harris, with original music by Michael Harris and Tim Truman. Emmy Award-nominee for "Outstanding Documentary/Current Issues" and "Outstanding Original Composition."
This documentary sent Michael Harris and photojournalist Kevin Ely to the jungles of Cambodia, to investigate a proposed multinational titanium mining project slated for one of the last remaining stands of tropical forest in Southeast Asia – a project that many feared not only would accelerate climate change but could wipe out some of the most endangered wildlife in the world. Michael and Kevin traveled to the village of Chi Phat, the nearest settlement to the proposed mining site, which also was a major base camp and killing field for the Khmer Rouge. The first web broadcasts of excerpts of CLIMATE WARS / CAMBODIA were widely credited with helping to prompt the Prime Minister of Cambodia to reverse a previous decision and deny permission for the mine.
"THIS IS INDIAN COUNTRY With Billy Frank Jr." (Series Demo)
"The Iñupiat, Hanging On at the Top of the World"
"Native Alaska & The Big Spill"
This spectacular series is hosted by renowned Indian activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Billy Frank Jr. and is slated to premiere nationally in 2013 over First Nations Experience. Produced by Baby Wild Films and THIS IS INDIAN COUNTRY, a Native-directed 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, these films explore environmental and social activism from an indigenous perspective, from tackling the climate crisis to fighting for treaty rights to pressuring the world's largest corporation to finally clean up in mess in Prince William Sound. The sneak preview of "Native Alaska & The Big Spill" earned Billy Frank Jr. an Emmy Award in the coveted category of "Outstanding On-Air Host or Moderator," making him at 79 the oldest recipient in the Chapter's 50-year history. Most importantly, the broadcast of that special – and in fact, the news that a documentary was in the works – was credited for helping 187 tribes and Native communities in Alaska persuade the State of Alaska and the U.S. Department of Justice to seek $92 million in additional cleanup funds from Exxon. Produced in partnership with the University of Washington School of Law.
"Baby Wild Films Presents: The Killer Whale People"
One of the most popular specials ever produced by Baby Wild Films, winner of two Emmy Awards. The nationally syndicated show, hosted and narrated and featuring original music by Heart's Nancy Wilson, includes the first-ever interview with diver John Crowe, who was in charge of disposing of several orcas drowned in the nets during the infamous 1970 Penn Cove capture for SeaWorld off Whidbey Island, Washington. "The Killer Whale People" also includes a powerful dramatic reading of STORM BOY, the award-winning children's book by author Paul Owen-Lewis, and an Emmy-nomimated score by Baby Wild's Tim Truman.
"Baby Wild Films Presents: Sea Otters, The Old Men of the Sea"
This second in the Baby Wild Films series explores "perhaps the cutest animal on the planet," the wild sea otters of the Pacific Coast. Hosted and narrated by Nancy Wilson and featuring a new song written and performed by both Nancy and her sister, Ann – the first time the famed sisters of Heart sang together on camera in years. The nationally syndicated special also includes the only known broadcast footage of Washington State's reintroduced and extremely skittish population of sea otters, and another extraordinary, Emmy-nominated original score by Baby Wild's seven-time ASCAP Award-winning composer Tim Truman.
Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson perform "Baby Wild: The Old Man of the Sea."
"Orcas in the Balance"
Michael Harris produced, wrote, edited and contributed photography to this prime-time KOMO 4 News special on the threats to Puget Sound's resident killer whales. Emmy Award-winner for "Outstanding Documentary/Current Issues." Michael also appears prominently in the special, sharing some of his orca stories. The documentary was viewed in the White House and was credited in part for a decision by then-Vice President Al Gore to fund a permanent rescue tug for freighters and tankers coming into Puget Sound – since then, that rescue tug has responded to over 40 distress calls from ships, no doubt helping to avert a catastrophic spill in the Sound.
"Cry of the Orca"
Michael Harris teamed up with veteran KOMO 4 (ABC Seattle) producer Elaine Purchase for this truly unique, nationally syndicated special. Michael was co-produced, co-wrote and edited the show, as well as contributing a significant amount of original orca photography and appearing on-air in two different segments. Narrated by Jim Cissell. Emmy Award-winner for "Outstanding Public Affairs Segment."
This nationally syndicated, critically acclaimed film series was produced for renowned director Mark Dwyer and Belo Productions Inc. Shot entirely on 16mm film. Michael Harris was co-producer, co-writer and editor.
"Eddie Bauer: Heroes for the Earth"
This hour-long documentary was produced in 1991 by Michael Harris for international retailer Eddie Bauer Inc., for both in-store video display in the company's 167 outlets throughout North America as well as a regional broadcast in the Pacific Northwest television market. The doc features extraordinary footage from places like Borneo and Kenya, and profiles of "Heroes for the Earth" like pioneering orangutan scientist Dr. Birutė Galdikas and black rhino conservationist Michael Werikhe. Produced, written and edited by Michael Harris. Narrated by Gary Vance. International Telly Award-winner.
"Bridging the Technological Divide" (for Bill & Melinda Gates)
Michael Harris and Kevin Ely were commissioned by The Gates Center for Technology Access – soon to be renamed The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – to travel to Arkansas and Mississippi and document the work of the Gates Library Project, providing computers and training to libraries in some of the nation's poorest communities. Produced, written and edited by Michael Harris. Executive Producer: Willem Scholten. Features music by Robert Johnson and Woody Guthrie.
"Worlds Away from the Everyday"
This ambient piece was commissioned by Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre to assist in its fundraising activities, and features original content generated by Michael Harris and Baby Wild Films over the course of 17 years serving as the Theatre's principal documentarian.
"High School Musical Awards!"
(2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)
Long before "Glee" and "High School Musical," Michael Harris was turning out exhilarating half-hour specials culled from the annual statewide High School Musical Awards Show presented by The 5th Avenue Musical Theatre. What began as an assignment to produce "thank you" videos for the sponsor, Wells Fargo, became some of the most compelling half-hours airing on local television. With just two cameras and a tiny budget , Michael and veteran photojournalists Tom Speer and Kevin Ely literally capture lightning in a bottle - it's at times hilarious, often heartwarming, and absolutely powered by the singular energy of 2,300 screaming high school students and extraordinary, in-the-moment, Broadway-quality performances. All four specials earned Emmy Award nominations in the coveted category of "Outstanding Coverage of a Live Event (Non-Sports or News)," and even though none of them took home the Emmy, as they say at the HSMAs, all were winners!
"Ballard High School Art Collection"
This was a production that Michael Harris took on, largely because of a family connection to Seattle's Ballard High School. The local special was produced using entirely student crew and highlights the world-class, mostly donated collection of art that hangs on the walls of the school. Features interviews with participating artists Dale Chihuly, Brom Wikstrom and others, including the last interview with the great Alden Mason.