Fandor Festival Podcast Ep. 43: Obie Benz, Producer & Director

The team sits down with Obie Benz, Producer, and Director.

Benz was born in 1949 in New Jersey. After graduating from Middlebury College in 1971, he founded the Vanguard Foundation, a San Francisco-based philanthropic group that granted over $400,000 a year to social change organizations. Benz served on the boards of progressive organizations: TVTV, one of the first groups producing PBS programming with videotape; The Film Fund, a foundation supporting documentary films; and the Funding Exchange, a national network of community foundations supporting social activism. He was a founder of Pacific Alliance, the country’s first benefit concert production company, and the MUSE Foundation, which produced the feature “No Nukes“, a concert film supporting various anti-nuclear causes. He served on the boards of the Council on Foundations and KQED, San Francisco’s PBS station.

Obie Benz began his film career in 1981 by directing and producing “Americas In Transition“, a 30-minute documentary, narrated by Ed Asner, that traced U.S. involvement in Latin America in the 20th century. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short, won numerous prizes, and is still in active distribution over 45 years later. His works include: “Heavy Petting“, “Celebration”, “My Generation“, and “Ashtanga, NY.”

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