Callie Taintor Wiser is a director, producer and writer based in Boston, Massachusetts. Her passion lies in telling stories that inform our collective history through the experiences of individuals.
She spent three years working on a pair of two-hour films about the Amish in America for the PBS series American Experience. The resulting films, The Amish and The Amish: Shunned, were each nominated for a Primetime Emmy award in the category of Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking.
Following those two films, Wiser directed, produced and co-wrote Klansville, U.S.A., a film that explores the rise of the Civil Rights-era klan in North Carolina. The film offers a rare glimpse beyond the bizarre ritual and horrific violence of the klan, examining its long history in American culture and its appeal to average working class whites in the mid-1960s. The Boston Herald described the film as “new, compelling, and utterly unsettling.”
Her most recent production, Blackout, is a one-hour documentary that tells the story of New York City during the massive power outage of 1977. Told by a host of first-person interviews, including first responders, store owners, restaurant workers, power company officials, private citizens and historians, the film weaves these seemingly small, personal stories into a larger narrative that examines the implications of class divisions on the durability of the fabric of urban life.
While Wiser’s films often take on historical issues, critics and viewers describe her films as surprisingly relevant, timely, and valuable. Klansville, U.S.A. and Blackout both aired on American Experience in 2015 and provided historical insight into topics whose relevance has not faded: racism, political extremism, class divisions and economic inequality.
She began her career in documentary journalism working on a number of films for FRONTLINE, including documentaries about American politics as well as Storm Over Everest—an investigation of the 1996 Everest tragedy. Wiser’s other work for American Experience includes producing the three-and-a-half hour documentary George H.W. Bush and co-producing the first two episodes of the six-part series God in America, a co-production of American Experience and FRONTLINE.
She grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee and attended the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar. She graduated with degrees in political science and journalism.