A New York City native, Richter attended a Telluride Association junior college in California, received a B.A. from Reed College in Oregon and was a member of the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop M.F.A. program where he began his professional career under the aegis of the screenwriter of all the early James Bond films. While on a CBS Foundation News Fellowship at Columbia, where he received an M.A. in Public Law and Government, he joined the Edward R. Murrow-Fred Friendly documentary unit and produced prime time documentaries and news features with Walter Cronkite. Charles Kuralt, Eric Sevareid, Mike Wallace, Dan Rather and other correspondents. He is the last producer in the Murrow/Friendly CBS unit still making documentaries. After CBS he produced prime time documentaries for ABC with Peter Jennings as correspondent, for NBC with Phil Donahue, for PBS "Nova" and for other PBS telecasts. For ten years he was volunteer President of the nationwide 5,000 member Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, and on the International Documentary Association board as their New York representative for seven years. He is a member of the Writers Guild East, Society of Professional Journalists, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He was awarded a 2008 National Emmy for "exceptional merit in nonfiction filmmaking" as Executive Producer of the HBO version of his The Last Atomic Bomb. He is currently producing a documentary about the largely forgotten and pivotal trial of Huey Newton.
When I was a college student, I saw Edward R. Murrow's exposé of Joseph McCarthy, a television breakthrough that helped bring down the notorious Senator. It inspired me to want to produce documentaries that made a difference, and to do them for Murrow and his CBS News unit. It took nine years for me to make that dream come true. After five years at CBS I looked for a way out. It came with the visionary environmental leader David Brower, whose eloquent words had ended up on the cutting room floor when I was forced to cut a CBS one-hour documentary to one half-hour, to make room for a paid political announcement. Brower urged me to start making documentaries on global environmental subjects, a novel idea at that time. With his help I set up my own independent company, focusing at first on environmental subjects and soon branching out to many others, including those in the New Day collection.
I make films to communicate what I believe is valuable information that I hope will motivate people to do something positive in response. I am inspired by people like Brower and others who risk a lot to achieve something worthwhile, people like Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, who faced prison for his Ban the Bomb activities during the Cold War; and Dr. Benjamin Spock, who helped raise millions of us with the biggest best seller in history and became an anti-war leader during the Vietnam era. Both were the focus of PBS documentaries I produced.
I joined New Day in the 1986 because I believe it is important for independent filmmakers to help each other through a community with common goals.
I have been a New Day member for 30 tears,
Films by Robert Richter
Renu, a teenager in Rankhandi—a north India village, plans to be a big city teacher. Instead, after traditional marriage she must move to her husband’s village. Women talk frankly about love, sex, marriage, abuse—and women’s rights. Anthropologist Mike Mahar, intermittently living in Rankhandi over 50 years, guides us.
In Manufacturing Consent, Noam Chomsky wrote WNET lost Gulf and Western funding after broadcasting Hungry for Profit. Chomsky added that even before it was shown, “in anticipation of negative corporate reaction, station officials ‘did all we could to get the program sanitized (according to one station source).’ CEO Bludhorn of Gulf & Western complained the program was “viruntly anti-business,” and that airing the program was “not the behavior of a ‘friend’ of the corporation.”
The British Economist magazine wrote “Most people believe that WNET would not make the same mistake again.”
In contrast, the American Association for the Advancement of Science wrote a glowing review, stating Hungry for Profit is "Clear and convincing. Excellent for studies of population, land use, food economics, international banking, social organization, history and comparative government."
A global examination of agribusiness, that grows food as cheaply as it can, and sells it for the highest profit it can, regardless of the human impact in the developing world.
Nagasaki and Fukushima survivors interlaced with experts link nuclear weapons and nuclear power. A wake up call!
The daring actions and personal sacrifices of a Vietnam war hero turned priest, who struggles to find and reveal the truth about a CIA/Pentagon secret torture training school.