Screening Reality: How Documentary Filmmakers Reimagined America

A new book about the history of American nonfiction filmmaking, from Thomas Edison to the "Post Truth" era of President Donald Trump, and the yet-to-be-explored realm of virtual reality. 

"Authoritative, accessible, and elegantly written, Screening Reality is the history of American documentary film we have been waiting for." --Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times film critic

"A towering achievement, and a volume I know I'll be consulting on a regular basis." -- Leonard Maltin

Enthralling . . . A valuable resource for cinephiles, this sweeping history will ignite a new enthusiasm for the form among readers less well-versed in the genre.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A many-faceted, dynamic, and thought-provoking history of nonfiction films in America . . . This monumental exploration reminds us that 'evidential truth' is essential to liberty and justice . . . Let the real be real; let truth ring true.” ―Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

“An illuminating, encyclopedic history of nonfiction film . . . A capacious celebration of film's potential to show us the world.” ―Kirkus Reviews

Well-documented . . . Wilkman consistently cycles back to one important message: no matter how fuzzy the lines between fiction and fact, truth should be forefront in the minds of documentarians. Our supposedly posttruth era and the pitfalls and ease with which we augment reality are threads through the narrative . . . Wilkman makes a compelling case.” ―Library Journal

Fantastically well researched and written, Screening Reality raises the bar for anyone who wants to write about the history of documentaries and documentarians, with invaluable insights into today's truth-challenged times.” ―Peter Davis, Academy Award-winning director of HEARTS AND MINDS; author of GIRL OF MY DREAMS

Published by Bloomsbury Press on February 18, 2020.


Floodpath: The Deadliest Man-Made Disaster of 20th Century America and the Making of Modern Los Angeles

The story of the 1928 St. Francis Dam disaster that took the lives of more than 400 people and ending the celebrated career of William Mulholland, the man who build the 1913 aqueduct that made modern Los Angeles possible. A 2016 Amazon Nonfiction Book of the Year and winner of the Historical Society of Southern California's Martin Ridge Award for the Best Book about California History after 1848.


Picturing Los Angeles

Picturing Los Angeles illustrates the creation, evolution, and ever-changing face of Los Angeles. Through stunning photography, the city's intriguing, important, and unexpectedly influential past is revealed with images that offer a glimpse into the sports, politics, industry, social change, crime, disasters, arts, and everyday life, decade by decade, during the city's history.

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Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood

Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood is a seven-part series produced for Turner Classic Movies.  It was honored with three Emmy nominations.

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Chicano Rock! The Sounds of East Los Angeles

A documentary about the history of Chicano rock 'n' roll, from the legendary Lalo Guerrero to Ritchie Valens, Los Lobos and beyond, Underwritten in part by a grants from Latino Public Broadcasting, the California Council for the Humanities and the Skirball Foundation.  Winner of the 2009 Best Documentary at the Reel Rasquache Festival of the U.S. Latino Experience in Film and Art.

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With Heart and Hand: The Restoration of the Gamble House

A 60-minute documentary about the painstaking three-year  effort to restore the exterior of the Gamble House in Pasadena, California.  Designed by architect brothers Charles and Henry  Greene, the 1908 home is considered one of the most important examples of American Arts and Crafts architecture.
Order from the Gamble House Bookstore.


HBO Series DVDs

A trip down a haunted path for those who remember the 1980s series Wilkman Productions produced for HBO.  Episodes include Whodunit?,The Greatest Scandals of the Century, Missing: Dead or Alive, Superspies, Bad Guys and Wicked Women, and Real Detectives: The Speck Case.
To purchase DVDs of these one-hour documentaries send a check for $25 each to:
Wilkman Productions,Inc.
6160 Rodgerton Dr.
Hollywood, CA 90068
Include your address and your DVD(s) will be sent by return mail.


The Port of Los Angeles: A History

A four-part documentary series about the history of the Port of Los Angeles, from 1542 to the present, based on 108 oral histories.

To order a DVD, click here.


Los Angeles: A Pictorial Celebration

It’s all here, captured in this visual tribute, shot by award-winning photographer Elan Penn and written by authors and documentary filmmakers Nancy and Jon Wilkman. 

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* All programs produced, directed and written by Jon Wilkman unless otherwise indicated.