ITVS-Funded Documentary, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, Receives 2010 Academy Award® Nomination for Best Documentary Feature

How One Man Risked it All and Transformed the American Political Landscape

“A must-see. Crams a wealth of material into 90 minutes without losing clarity or momentum. … A unique fusion of personal and social drama.” – Ronnie Scheib, Variety

Fill 54 Created with Sketch. PDF Download

(San Francisco, CA) — Independent Television Service (ITVS) announced today that one of its acclaimed productions, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, was nominated for a 2010 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature. Directed by Rick Goldsmith and Judith Ehrlich, the film will have its television premiere later this year on the PBS primetime series POV (check local listings). This marks the 11th Academy Award® nomination for ITVS. 

The Most Dangerous Man in America challenges people everywhere who want to better understand the world of power and who are looking for ways to make a difference in our world,” said Sally Jo Fifer, president and CEO of ITVS. “It’s a great honor that the Academy has recognized the film with this important distinction. The nomination exemplifies the quality and integrity of public media and independent film.” 

In 1971, Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, a top war planner, leaked top-secret documents to The New York Times, an act that many believe led to the toppling of President Nixon and the end of the Vietnam War. The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers reveals how one man risked it all and transformed the American political landscape. Ellsberg’s leak of the top-secret Pentagon Papers to The New York Times sets into motion an extraordinary series of events. The Nixon Administration starts by going after the nation’s press, resulting in a First Amendment battle that, within two weeks, ends up in the Supreme Court. Ellsberg goes underground to avoid a nationwide FBI manhunt. When he emerges, he is hailed as a hero, accused of being a traitor, ostracized by friends, and finds himself on trial for his life. 

The Academy Award nomination for Most Dangerous Man builds on ITVS’s prior Academy nominations, including Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, a Documentary Group production for the CPB and a co-production of the ITVS presented by WETA (2008); My Country, My Country by Laura Poitras and Jocelyn Glatzer (2007); Street Fight, by Marshall Curry (2006); Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2006), by Alex Gibney; Weather Underground, by Sam Green and Bill Siegel (2004); Daughter from Danang, by Gail Dolgin and Vicente Franco (2003); Promises, by B.Z. Goldberg, Justine Shapiro and Carlos Bolado (2002); For Better Or For Worse, by David Collier (1993); and Why Can’t We Be A Family Again?, by Roger Weisberg and Murray Nossel (2002). 

About ITVS 
The Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy® Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10pm on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens, and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue, and provide for underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information about ITVS can be obtained by visiting ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. 

About POV 
Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and beginning its 23rd season on PBS in 2010, the award-winning POV series is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers. Airing June through September, with primetime specials throughout the year, POV has brought more than 275 acclaimed documentaries to millions nationwide, and has a Webby Award-winning online series, POV's Borders. Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today's most pressing social issues. More information is available at 

About PBS 
PBS is a media enterprise that serves 354 public noncommercial television stations and reaches almost 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and to the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS's premier kids' TV programming, and its website, PBS KIDS Online (, continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet. 

CONTACT: Voleine Amilcar, 415-356-8383 ext. 244,

Posted on February 2, 2010