MakeWright Films

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MakeWright Films partners Kathy Conkwright and Mary Makley have produced award-winning films on the history and culture of their community for more than a decade. Drawing on the sensibility of the Southern storytelling tradition. MakeWright Films strives to tell character-driven narratives that go beyond the surface. Like the best of Southern stories, the heart of our films lies not in the black and white but in the grey areas of life and experience.

Kathy Conkwright is a national and regional award-winning documentary filmmaker and educator. Her work has broadcast on American public and network television and screened at numerous film festivals, conferences, and community/university events.

Conkwright and her film partner Mary Makely founded MakeWright Films in 2007 and have made eight films together. Their most recent film Training for Freedom was made in partnership with Miami University (Oxford, OH-USA).

Before becoming an independent producer, Conkwright worked as a staff producer for Nashville Public Television (NPT) and spent a decade in New York working with Bill Moyers and Frontline at PBS, Turning Point at ABC, and Dateline at NBC.

Several programs she worked on received international and national honors including two Columbia duPont Batons, two national Emmy Awards and the National Headliner and Overseas Press Award.  As a director for NPT her work has won four Regional Emmys, two national Gracies, and two National Educational Telecommunication Association Awards.

Conkwright has also taught documentary film at the post-secondary level for the past fifteen years and received her MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College in New York City.  She is currently in research and development on two hybrid projects and works full-time as the Creative Documentary Teacher at the European Film College in Ebeltoft, Denmark

Mary Makley is an independent producer, editor and founding partner of MakeWright Films. Her award winning projects have aired on PBS stations locally and nationally.

With her partner in MakeWright films, she produced and edited Training For Freedom: How Ordinary People in an Unusual Time & Unlikely Place Made Extraordinary History for Miami University. They also produced the feature-length documentary, Southern Belle, which premiered at the Nashville Film Festival and aired on public television stations across the country. In 2012, Southern Belle was one of only 5 US films selected to screen at the international public television conference, INPUT, in Sydney, Australia. Conkwright and Makley also worked together on the Emmy winning documentary The Carter Family: Will the Circle be Unbroken, which aired on PBS’s American Experience series.

For 20 years, she worked with Nashville Public Television on many documentaries, including By One Vote: Woman Suffrage in the South (premiered November 2019) and Cheekwood: A Masterpiece by Man & Nature. From 2013-16, she helped launch their Aging Matters series. She produced the nationally distributed End of Life and Living with Alzheimer’s & Dementia episodes as well as The New Old Age episode. She executive produced the Caregiving episode. From 2009-12, she produced and executive produced a series of seven documentaries titled Children’s Health Crisis for NPT. She won two MidSouth regional Emmy’s, and a 2010 NETA award for Science programming for the first programs in the series and the entire project won a Community Service Emmy.

Makley has also worked with a number of clients to produce informational and training videos. Clients include: the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University, the DADA2 Foundation, the Johnny Cash Museum, Vanderbilt Center for Bioethics & Society. Prior to becoming independent, Makley worked for eleven years at WGBY TV (PBS) in Springfield, MA, producing and editing documentary and educational programs.

Kathy Conkwright is a national and regional award-winning documentary filmmaker and educator. Her work has broadcast on American public and network television and screened at numerous film festivals, conferences, and community/university events.

Conkwright and her film partner Mary Makley founded MakeWright Films in 2007 and have made eight films together. Their most recent film Training for Freedom was made in partnership with Miami University (Oxford, OH-USA).

Before becoming an independent producer, Conkwright worked as a staff producer for Nashville Public Television (NPT) and spent a decade in New York working with Bill Moyers and Frontline at PBS, Turning Point at ABC, and Dateline at NBC.

Several programs she worked on received international and national honors including two Columbia duPont Batons, two national Emmy Awards and the National Headliner and Overseas Press Award.  As a director for NPT her work has won four Regional Emmys, two national Gracies, and two National Educational Telecommunication Association Awards.

Conkwright has also taught documentary film at the post-secondary level for the past fifteen years and received her MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College in New York City.  She is currently in research and development on two hybrid projects and works full-time as the Creative Documentary Teacher at the European Film College in Ebeltoft, Denmark

Mary Makley is an independent producer, editor and founding partner of MakeWright Films. Her award winning projects have aired on PBS stations locally and nationally.

With her partner in MakeWright films, she produced and edited Training For Freedom: How Ordinary People in an Unusual Time & Unlikely Place Made Extraordinary History for Miami University. They also produced the feature-length documentary, Southern Belle, which premiered at the Nashville Film Festival and aired on public television stations across the country. In 2012, Southern Belle was one of only 5 US films selected to screen at the international public television conference, INPUT, in Sydney, Australia. Conkwright and Makley also worked together on the Emmy winning documentary The Carter Family: Will the Circle be Unbroken, which aired on PBS’s American Experience series.

For 20 years, she worked with Nashville Public Television on many documentaries, including By One Vote: Woman Suffrage in the South (premiered November 2019) and Cheekwood: A Masterpiece by Man & Nature. From 2013-16, she helped launch their Aging Matters series. She produced the nationally distributed End of Life and Living with Alzheimer’s & Dementia episodes as well as The New Old Age episode. She executive produced the Caregiving episode. From 2009-12, she produced and executive produced a series of seven documentaries titled Children’s Health Crisis for NPT. She won two MidSouth regional Emmy’s, and a 2010 NETA award for Science programming for the first programs in the series and the entire project won a Community Service Emmy.

Makley has also worked with a number of clients to produce informational and training videos. Clients include: the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University, the DADA2 Foundation, the Johnny Cash Museum, Vanderbilt Center for Bioethics & Society. Prior to becoming independent, Makley worked for eleven years at WGBY TV (PBS) in Springfield, MA, producing and editing documentary and educational programs.

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