Daniel H. Birman is a documentary writer, producer and director. He is currently developing The Hinges of History, a historical series based on the New York Times Best Seller books by Thomas Cahill about pivotal moments and people in history that shaped Western civilization. He most recently completed St. Patrick’s Greatest Gift for CuriosityStream, a documentary about the little-known story of St. Patrick and his heroic efforts to save literacy. He also recently completed Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story, a feature documentary in collaboration with Netflix about a young Tennessee woman who was sentenced to life in prison for murder. On the Netflix Top 10 for the first week of broadcast, this project was based on the acclaimed PBS Independent Lens documentary, Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story, also produced and directed by Birman.
Some of Birman’s other notable projects include The Earliest Americans, about a controversial finding about the first peopling of the Americas, and The Hunt for Dark Matter, about recent advancements in space exploration, for CuriosityStream; and Perfecting Flight, a feature documentary about legendary aviator Bob Hoover, who flies for the last time at age 91 and tells his story.
Birman was a contributing producer for The Big Bang Machine for NOVA-PBS about one of the great scientific discoveries, the Higgs boson, a tiny particle that explains how the universe was formed. Chasing Speed: Leslie Porterfield for Velocity is about the world’s fastest woman on a motorcycle. He also produced Brace for Impact: The Chesley B. Sullenberger Story for TLC and Discovery.
Birman is a professor of professional practice at USC Annenberg, where he teaches documentary production, and is the executive producer of Impact, a student-produced documentary series.
Additionally, Birman is on the Board of Governors for the Television Academy, representing the documentary peer group.
St. Patrick’s Greatest Gift (CuriosityStream, 2020).
Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story (Netflix, 2020).
The Earliest Americans (CuriosityStream, 2018).
The Hunt for Dark Matter (CuriosityStream, 2017).
The Big Bang Machine (NOVA-PBS, 2015).
Brace for Impact: The Chesley B. Sullenberger Story (Discovery and TLC, 2010).
“Reflecting on the Case of Cyntoia Brown: Talking with the director of ‘Murder to Mercy’” (The Conversation, 2020).
“Should we put juveniles away for life? Meet Cyntoia Brown, the teen who sparked a debate” (The Conversation, 2017).
JOUR 405: Non-Fiction Television
JOUR 490x: Directed Research
JOUR 521: Documentary Pre-Production
JOUR 590: Directed Research