Louis Alvarez & Andrew Kolker

Producers, Directors

Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker, twice winners of both the Peabody Award and the duPont-Columbia Journalism Award, have over the past forty years produced many critically praised documentaries. Their most recent limited series is Confluence, a three-part, wide-ranging look at how art, science, and technology inform each other to generate new creative expressions. The series was co-directed by Christopher Groban and Marion Lear Swaybill.

Alvarez and Kolker's work is characterized by a skillful mixing of serious topics with humor and rich storytelling, and several of their films continue to resonate with audiences around the world: the acclaimed People Like Us: Social Class in America, the first American documentary explicitly about the American class system; Vote for Me — Politics in America, a four-hour examination of politics, politicians and voters; and American Tongues, a celebratory and provocative look at America via the way Americans speak; the film was the very first presentation on the PBS flagship documentary series P.O.V. in 1988.

Many of Louis and Andy's films look at American politics in a fresh way, avoiding horserace coverage and focusing on the human side. Postcards from the Great Divide, nine short films that look at underexamined political stories from around the country, was a remarkably prescient look into the politics of the 2016 elections. Their deep dive into New Orleans racial politics, Getting Back to Abnormal, was shown on P.O.V. in 2014.

In 2012 they released Past/Present, an innovative, richly-detailed 3-D history game that teaches critical concepts in understanding American history to middle schoolers. They also created the YouTube channel Buckwheat's World, showcasing the music, wit and wisdom of legendary Louisiana musician Buckwheat Zydeco.

Other works over the years include Moms, a poignant and hilarious look at motherhood starring more than 40 mothers who dish about what one calls "the hardest job in the world - raising children;" The Anti-Americans (a hate/love relationship), a whimsical look at what Europeans think of American politics and culture; The Japanese Version, an exploration of what happens when American popular culture gets to Japan, and Sex: Female, a surprising and funny look at female sexuality. Small Ball: A Little League Story was a gripping and clear-eyed look at a suburban California team's triumphant march to the Little League World Series.

Alvarez and Kolker began their careers as VISTA volunteers in the 1970s with a series of hard-hitting documentaries about social problems facing New Orleans, Being Poor in New Orleans. They went on to produce a series of fondly-rememberd classics of Louisiana culture: Yeah You Rite!, about New Orleans accents; Louisiana Boys — Raised on Politics, a rollicking look at Bayou State politics; The Ends of the Earth, about the haunted past of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana; and Mosquitoes and High Water, a look at the folkways of bayou-dwelling Isleno fishermen.

Louis and Andy have created commissioned TV work for clients like the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ellis Island Museum of Immigration in New York, the Savannah Music Festival, and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Complete filmography

Documentaries produced and directed by Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker

  • Confluence (2024) [with Christopher Groban and Marion Lear Swaybill]
  • The Unholy Alliance (2018)
  • Postcards from the Great Divide (2016) [with Paul Stekler]
  • Buckwheat's World (2015) [with Ted Fox]
  • Getting Back to Abnormal (2013) [with Peter Odabashian and Paul Stekler]
  • You Got to Swing! (2011) [with Peter Odabashian]
  • The Anti-Americans (a hate/love relationship) (2007) [with Peter Odabashian]
  • Small Ball: A Little League Story (2004)
  • Sex: Female (2003)
  • People Like Us: Social Class in America (2001)
  • Moms (1999)
  • Vote for Me: Politics in America (1996) [with Paul Stekler]
  • Louisiana Boys — Raised on Politics (1991) [with Paul Stekler]
  • The Japanese Version (1991)
  • L.A. is It with John Gregory Dunne (1990)
  • American Tongues (1987)
  • Yeah You Rite! (1985)
  • Mosquitoes and High Water / El mosco y el agua alta (1983)
  • The Ends of the Earth (1982)
  • The Clarks (1979)
  • Talking Crime (1978)
  • Changing the Channel (1977)