Perry Miller Adato, whose documentaries on the arts for public television have won major honors, is recognized as a pioneer and innovator in the film biography genre. There are many “firsts” in Adato’s long career as producer/director/writer and as an Executive Producer of series which first brought the work of women artists, women directors, and that of young independent filmmakers to national network television. She has won four Directors Guild of America Awards for the documentaries Georgia O’Keeffe, Picasso – A Painter’s Diary, Eugene O’Neill – A Glory of Ghosts, and Carl Sandburg – Echoes and Silences. Adato’s award for Georgia O’Keeffe was the first ever given to a woman director; it put her in The Book of Women’s Firsts.
For her first directorial effort, Dylan Thomas – The World I Breathe, Ms. Adato won an Emmy and subsequently received Emmy nominations for Best Director and Best Film including those for Gertrude Stein – When This You See, Remember Me and Picasso – A Painter’s Diary. The New York Times called her film biography of Eugene O’Neill “the best documentary of the year.” Alfred Stieglitz – The Eloquent Eye, produced for THIRTEEN’s American Masters series, premiered at the Museum of Modern Art, gained distinguished awards at festivals and wide distribution on home video.
She was creator and Executive Producer of The Originals – Women in Art, the first national television series to celebrate women artists, producing and directing three of the seven films, including Mary Cassatt – Impressionist from Philadelphia and Frankenthaler – Toward a New Climate. She conceived and executive produced Art of the Western World, an international co-production of nine, one-hour programs on the history of Western Art. She also produced, directed and wrote A White Garment of Churches for this series.
Adato’s films have been honored with major awards from international festivals and prestigious professional organizations. In a special homage, four evenings were devoted to Adato’s films at the International Festival of Films on Art in Montreal, Canada. Later, in 2002 she received the Festival’s highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement award. Ms. Adato has received multiple grants for films from both the National Endowment for the Arts (4) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (6), and was honored with a film retrospective at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. In 2007 Perry Miller Adato was recognized for her accomplishments by The Paley Center for Media.
Adato recently completed the film she has wanted to make for more than 30 years: Paris The Luminous Years, a two-hour film that uncovers for the first time the vital role played by the city of Paris itself in the creation of the modern arts from 1905 to 1930, decisive years for our contemporary culture.