Profile picture of Mitchell Block

Mitchell Block

Professor of Documentary & Film Studies, Jon Anderson Chair
Phone: 541-346-2528
Office: 238 Allen Hall
City: Eugene


Mitchell Block is finishing "Justice Denied" (w/t) a documentary sequel to his 1973 film, "No Lies", it is Block's first work as a director in over 40 years. Block is one of the very few documentary producers whose films have been recognized for achievements by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences four times. “The Women of the Gulag” (2019) was shortlisted for a documentary short Oscar nomination he was its executive producer. “The Testimony” (2016) which he produced was shortlisted for an Oscar and “Poster Girl”, which he produced, was nominated for an Academy Award (2011).  “Vessel” which he produced (2014), won Jury and Audience Awards at South by Southwest, at Hot Docs, the Audience Award and at Sheffield Film Festival – The Peter Wintonick Award. As a distributor (Direct Cinema Limited) his company’s short films, documentaries, animated and feature films have received over one thousand awards including 25 Academy Awards and 76 Award nominations.

Block conceived, co-created and was an executive producer of the Emmy award-winning 10-hour PBS documentary “Carrier” for Mel Gibson’s Icon Productions; he was the executive producer of HBO's Oscar-winning film “Big Mama” (2001) with Sheila Nevins. “No Lies”, which he wrote, produced, directed was one of 600 American films created since 1895, selected over the past 25 years for the National Register of Films of the Library of Congress for preservation for all time. It has been reviewed as one of the “best shorts ever made” by Indiewire and one of the “100 best shorts of all time” by “Filmsfatale” which ranked it 18th.

He has been working on 15 projects, almost half of the films are finished or almost finished. His roles on the films range from “Consulting Producer,” where he facilitates sales, marketing, outreach, distribution, and other tasks to “Producer” or “Executive Producer,” where he has conceived the project and/or has been retained to manage, co-manage the production of the films. The films range from multi-part series such as the “Power of Film” which will air on Turner Classic Movies to definitive works such as the documentaries on the China Winter Olympics in 2022 or the portraits of China left-behind children or a Chinese blind musical prodigy or a portrait of the former Secretary General of the United Nations S. G. Ban which is almost complete. He is in the final stages of finishing a film on a Mongolian family struggling to survive on the Steppes because of global weather changes, as well as working on the story of Anna Merz who saved the rhinoceroses in Africa. He is particularly proud of his series about the children “Nobel” Prize winners: five films, by three directors, that he researched over the last year and commissioning three directors, that he will produce. (We’re raising funding now.) 

He was a consulting producer on the feature documentary, “The Lost City of Monkey God”, an executive producer on a documentary about the Greek Holocaust, “the Sixth Extinction” which is in process, and he produced “Face of the Nation” which follows the journey of architect Mina Chow as she discovers why America abandoned World's Fairs. He was a consulting creative producer for TenCent the Chinese software and game producer working on short live action, animated and documentary films and feature animation.

He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Beijing Film Academy. From, 1979 to 2017 he was an Adjunct Professor at USC, School of Cinematic Arts and has been teaching and lecturing in China in Beijing, Shanghai, and other cities for various universities in China. He has lectured at over 50 colleges and universities worldwide. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (LA) and was a founding member of the British Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (in LA). He is a life member of the University Film and Video Association and the International Documentary Association. 

Block’s films have received numerous grants including from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, The American Film Institute, the Leo Jaffe Fund (Columbia Pictures) and the Graham Foundation. 

Block’s 1973 short film, “No Lies” was selected one of “the best short films ever made” by the critics at Indiewire in July 2016. In 2021, it was selected one of the 100 Best Short Films of All Time (#18) By Andres Babiolakis for “Filmsfatale”. It was selected by the Librarian of Congress for the National Register of Historical Films, as one of the key films in American Film History. (See films of 1973) Other films from 1973 include “American Graffiti”, “The Sting”, “Mean Streets”, “Badlands”, “The Exorcist” and “The Long Goodbye”.He consults globally on films, financing, marketing and distribution and copyright and serves on film festival selection committees and juries.   


  • PhD Studies, University of California Los Angeles, Film Critical Studies and Business (ABD)
  • Fellow, American Film Institute, 1975
  • MBA, Columbia University, 1974
  • MFA, New York University, School of the Arts, Institute of Film and Television, 1973
  • BFA, New York University, School of the Arts, Institute of Film and Television, 1972


Filmmaking, My documentary and fiction works are based on true stories. Each is carefully researched, from the story background, scripting (when appropriate) casting, putting together the production team to the editing and post production testing. I am also interested in film production and education and the business of filmmaking. Film History. Ethical standards in filmmaking. Copyright and fair use.



Academy Archives:


Areas of Expertise:

  • Filmmaking
  • Producing
  • Distribution and Marketing
  • Copyright and Fair Use