Suzanne Méjean Pinney Cuts Two New PBS Programs

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Among the Public Broadcasting Service’s (PBS) educational slate of news, arts, and music are two programs about the impact of arts education to new perspectives on environmentalism, both cut by Emmy Award-winning editor and CalArts alum Suzanne Méjean Pinney (Film/Video-Art MFA 09).

Pinney recently lent her talents to Art Happens Here with John Lithgow, an hour-long special featuring the Oscar-nominated actor returning to school to “demonstrate the transformative power of arts education.” By exploring dance, ceramics, silkscreen printing, and a vocal jazz ensemble alongside teachers and fellow students, Lithgow celebrates how “arts education nurtures and inspires the hearts and minds of students of all ages.” The documentary, which aired on April 26, is the first from PBS SoCal brought to the national schedule in partnership with PBS National. 

At the Television Critics Association conference in February, Lithgow himself sang Pinney’s praises during a panel discussion: “Suzanne Méjean Pinney, who is a kind of genius editor, is the one who gave our film this extraordinary visual life.” 

Watch a preview of Art Happens Here with John Lithgow above, and the full special at the PBS website (viewable through Friday, May 24).

Pinney also boasts credit as the sole editor on PBS Terra’s Stop Saving the Planet?, which recently concluded its six-episode run. Based on environmentalist Jenny Price’s 2021 book Stop Saving the Planet!: An Environmentalist Manifesto, the series is hosted by ecologist Dr. Rae Wynn Grant, and explores “how humans can think differently about the way we change the world around us.” Find the full episode playlist on YouTube.

Earlier this year, Pinney was among the team nominated for the Los Angeles Emmy Award for Best Arts Programming for her work on Artbound: A Rubén Ortiz-Torres Story. Following the life and work of artist and fellow CalArtian Rubén Ortiz-Torres (Art MFA 92), the episode’s credits feature several alums: Pinney as editor, Juan Devis (Film/Video MFA 96)​ as executive producer, and Amun Levy (Art BFA 09) as motion graphics designer. The episode also received a nomination for the Radio and Television News Association (RTNA) of Southern California’s Golden Mike Award in Best Video Editing of a Feature Story, Series, or Special.

Since 2012, Pinney has worked on a consistent basis with KCET (now PBS SoCal), with Artbound among her recurring projects. In January 2023, she became one of two in-house editors at the station, and won two Emmy Awards the same year: Best Informational Series for California Graphic Design, and Best Arts Programming for the “Corita Kent: The Pop Art Nun” Artbound episode. (The latter also won a Golden Mike Award and two LA PressClub/National Entertainment Journalism Awards.) Pinney was also the recipient of a 2015 LA Film Award for Best Feature Documentary for One Hundred Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct (Artists Cut Film) and a 2012 Outfest Award for Outstanding Documentary Feature for Wildness.

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PUBLISHED BY Taya Zoormandan

As digital content and social media producer, Taya enjoys lifting up the stories and accomplishments of CalArts' students, alums, and faculty. She fancies herself a visual artist but is really more of an overzealous collector of art supplies.

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