Maggie Burnette Stogner is the Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking ( and a professor of Film and Media Arts. She brings over 30 years of filmmaking experience to the Center and to the classroom. During her nine years at National Geographic, she produced, directed and wrote numerous documentaries, and was senior producer of the award-winning weekly programs Explorer and Ultimate Explorer. In 2005, she launched Blue Bear Films and continues to direct, produce and write internationally broadcast documentaries such as Gold Mountain (2016) and independent films such as In the Executioner’s Shadow (2017/18). Her recent film, Unbreathable - The Fight For Healthy Air (2020) is a timely, powerful look at fifty years of the Clean Air Act, weaving historical, bi-partisan milestones with current day stories of environmental injustice and the continued struggle for healthy air. She also produces films and immersive media for world-touring cultural and anthropological exhibitions for National Geographic, the Smithsonian, LucasFilms, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and others. She is committed to creating opportunities for experiential learning through high-impact creative production labs that embrace diversity and inclusion. Her work embodies the belief that compelling storytelling and multi-format media have the power to inspire and to be a catalyst for meaningful change. Collaborating with the next generation of media makers is a critical part of this endeavor. Her scholarship explores engagement design in film, immersive media, and emerging media with a focus on exploring humanistic storytelling through 21st century media technologies. She has published articles in academic journals such as “Curator” and “The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts”, and is currently working on a research study about audience engagment and impact..

Maggie Burnette Stogner, Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, has been directing, producing, and writing award-winning documentaries for over 30 years and is founder of the independent production company, Blue Bear Films Her recent work includes the powerful independent documentary In the Executioner’s Shadow about justice, injustice and the death penalty, and the broadcast documentary Gold Mountain that reveals the real stories of pioneering Chinese in the old West. She also does media design and production for world-touring museum exhibitions, including: The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander the Great; Roads of Arabia; Tutankhamun and the Golden Pharaohs; Real Pirates; Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures; and, Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology with Harrison Ford.

Previously, Maggie was the Senior Producer of National Geographic’s weekly award-winning documentary showcase Explorer, producing and overseeing more than 200 films over a decade. 

She is a professor of film and media arts at American University’s School of Communication in Washington D.C. where she teaches Documentary Production, Directing and Writing, Producing the Historical Documentary, and Social Impact Filmmaking. She was recently appointed Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking.

Maggie earned her graduate degree from Stanford University in Communication/Documentary Film. She is a voting member of the Academy of TV Arts and Sciences. She serves as a judge for finalists in the “Best Documentary” and “Best National History” categories of the Nonfiction Emmy Awards, is a Distinguished Judge for the CINE Golden Eagles, and is an executive member of Women and Film in Video in Washington D.C.

Films by Maggie Burnette Stogner

Unbreathable: The Fight for Healthy Air

Unbreathable: The Fight for Healthy Air is a timely, powerful look at fifty years of the Clean Air Act and the challenges we still face to ensure healthy air for everyone. Weaving historical milestones with current day stories of environmental injustice, the film is an excellent tool for educational and community engagement.  

Currently available streaming only.

In the Executioner's Shadow

In the Executioner’s Shadow draws viewers into riveting personal stories: the rare perspective of a former state executioner who nearly executes an innocent person; a Boston Marathon bombing victim who struggles to decide what justice really means; and the parents of a murder victim who face abandoning their values or fighting for the life of their daughter’s killer. As the battle to overturn capital punishment comes to a head in the U.S., this provocative film challenges viewers to question their deepest beliefs about justice. (License fee includes 54 min. and 40 min. versions, plus outreach materials.)