Compared To What?
The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank

Intimate and Incredibly Charming. The film's candid conversations with Frank feel like something you could keep watching for hours.--Indiewire

Shows Barney Frank in all his rumpled glory. A portrait of an accomplished man told with intelligence and an affectionate nod. --Boston Globe

At a time when government and political service are little valued, Compared to What? portrays the life of a man so intent on a career in public service that for many years he chooses the demands of that life over personal happiness. The film tells the story of how Frank perservered to become one of our most effective legislators and advocates for gay rights. It portrays the poignancy of Frank's gratitude at having served and his regret at no longer being able to affect public policy.

Knee Deep

A satiric study of rural American values wrapped in an attempted murder mystery. Funny and chilling and eye-opening on every level.--Orlando Sentinel

Mesmerizing. A rural Rashomon --DVD Talk

Josh Osborne was 22 years-old when he tried to kill his mother.  He’d worked his whole life on the family dairy farm, and whenever he was exhausted from the work and knee deep in cow manure, his parents would remind him that someday the farm would be his – right up until the day Mom evicted him.   Knee  Deep’s characters bring us a side of Maine the tourists never see in this bittersweet story of a naïve boy, a broken promise, and a disappearing way of life.


Forgotten Fires

If we wanted a real dialogue about race in America, we'd start with this film .Its strong dose of reality begs for an honest response from a wide audience.--Bill Moyers

A stunning film, deeply felt, deeply moving, and worthy of repeated viewings. --Anthony Walton, Mississippi, An American Journey

When the center of the community is a church, a fire can destroy almost everything--everything but the spirit of the people who built it. Forgotten Fires investigates the burning of two black churches near Manning, South Carolina, by a young convert to the Ku Klux Klan. Told through remarkably frank interviews the film is a meditation on the roots of racism in America today. Ku Klux Klan home movies, gripping live sequences, and confessional testimony trace the coming of the Klan to this sleepy rural town.


Blackout is another investigative victory for the Frontline crew, helping to make sense out of a complicated public issue. --Ronnie Lankford, All Movie Guide

A stellar job of explaining the crisis in simple terms. -- Andrew Ryan, Toronto Globe and Mail 

In Blackout FRONTLINE and The New York Times join forces to investigate the story behind the California energy crisis, going head to head with energy industry CEOs and state and federal officials to uncover what’s at the heart of the growing energy crisis and who’s profiting. Features major interviews with Enron’s former CEO Jeffrey Skilling and former Vice President Dick Cheney.  

A co-production of FRONTLINE and The New York Times.  Produced and directed by Michael Chandler.


Secrets of the SAT

Behind the criticisms of the test, as the documentary makes clear, is a larger debate over the goal of diversity in American society.--Walter Goodman, New York Times

The SAT today has become a ticket into America's ruling class. FRONTLINE's Secrets of the SAT examines the national obsession over the SAT and the controversy over its fairness, reliability and impact on racial diversity on campus. Drawing on the work of Nicholas Lemann and his five-year study of the SAT, FRONTLINE's cameras follow seven students who are applying to the University of California, Berkeley, the country's most selective public university and go inside the admissions process, where those seven students are competing with 31,000 others for 3,500 spots. Produced and directed by Michael Chandler.


The Future of War

Your hard work and unstinting research were clearly evident throughout this balanced and informative program. The Army staff and all the officers involved in the production thank you. --Gen. Eric Shinseki, Former Army Chief of Staff

When Gen. Eric Shinseki joined the ranks of MacArthur, Marshall, and Eisenhower as the U.S. Army's 34th Chief of Staff, he surprised many with his bold plan to remake the nation's largest military service into a streamlined, fast-moving force ready to strike at a moment's notice.  "The Future of War" examines the tough questions surrounding the U.S. Army's planned transformation: What will be the new kind of warfare in the future? Are we prepared to fight it? Who's the enemy? Drawing on interviews with top military leaders and defense analysts, The Future of War lays out the debate and challenges.

A co-production of FRONTLINE and the Center for Investigative Reporting. Produced and directed by Michael Chandler.


specializing in story and structure

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

Thanks to Michael, our non-fiction film has the feel of a fiction political thriller. He took our good enough film and made it sing. Michael is an editor and filmmaker with an extraordinary sense of storytelling and structure.I didn't think he could wend his way thru the hundreds of hours of our material to find the gems,but somehow he did, in very short order! He is also a fabulous arbiter between stubborn co-directors and helped us find a third way which was better than either of our approaches. We resisted going to Moab to work with Michael, because of the expense and time away from our base, but it was a very good decision. I highly recommend Michael as a consulting editor! --Producer/Director Judith Ehrlich

Thanks for everything.  I keep thinking how important it was that we got to you when we did.  Your understanding of what was good, what was needed, what was the real meat, and your magic in crafting it and making it all work was invaluable, and it wouldn't be near the same film, or near as clear and as powerful without you.  You're the best. --Producer/Director Rick Goldsmith


Working with Michael has been not only a joy but an honor.  Soaking up every bit of knowledge from him that I could.  Michael had an understanding of the material that was beautiful, going back to the raw footage and finding nuggets of people that were really important to me that I hadn’t told him about, while seamlessly weaving together the voice and heart of our story.  Extremely respectful and always listening to my ideas, I felt we were a team.  I really loved this process and look forward to working with Michael again on future projects

He also will make you an awesome lunch and you get to hide out in a beautiful cabin and feel like a true artist.  An experience not to be missed.

--Mia Tate, Director/Producer

The Gatekeeper: Math in America

We are thrilled with this cut. It feels like a huge leap forward, and we can see the finish line from here. The ideas coming across here feel relevant and important and original. Our goal of transitioning from having an education film to having a film that is a broader cultural comment has really come to fruition. We have come a very long way from where we were. The film has new life, and we are really excited to move forward with it. Sending my best and so much gratitude for what you've created.

--Vicki Abeles, Director/Producer

The Boys Who Said No: Draft Resistance and the Vietnam War

I just wanted to say how very powerful this cut is! This is really working emotionally and telling a story that will appeal far beyond the choir. THANKS for your amazing ability to get to the core of this human story and give the characters the chance to share their compelling personal journeys and how they built a movement along the way.

--Judith Ehrlich, Director

Michael has uncovered the film's soul, showing us who resisters were, what they did, why they did it, and what happened as a consequence. Stunning!

--Bill Prince, Producer

Trimpin: The Sound of Invention

Thanks very much for turning this film around, and making it something we can all be proud of.
Put simply, Michael is a brilliant editor and filmmaker. He has an extraordinary ability to integrate both the narrative and emotional potential of raw footage and rough cut sequences into a compelling story arc. Michael's understanding of narrative throughline is sophisticated and sharp -- yet tempered with a remarkable lyricism and sensitivity. It was a privilege to work with him, and I hope I'll have the opportunity again. --Producer/Director, Peter Esmonde

Archaeology of Memory: Villa Grimaldi

I knew Michael from the work he'd done as writer and editor on Freedom on My Mind, which I'd co-produced and directed and which was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Best Documentary at Sundance. Needless to say, Michael did a fantastic job. So on “Archeology”, although my co-director Quique Cruz and I were pleased with many aspects of our rough cut, we felt it lacked an organizing structure and needed to reflect more of Quique's artistic struggle. We brought it to Michael, who, as a filmmaker himself, was able to elegantly incorporate new elements and give us the poetic feeling we'd been after. He also gave the film a strong forward movement, not easy to do in a personal, reflective piece.

Working in Moab away from our ordinary lives gave us a chance to concentrate on the film in ways we hadn't done before. We worked hard, but we also took hikes in a magical landscape while Michael worked. A wonderful opportunity to ‘chill’ and ‘reflect’ on the work. After this experience, I would never hire anybody else.--Producer/Director Marilyn Mulford

Boys of Bonneville

Michael Chandler has the amazing ability to take an otherwise formulaic chronological story and expose the entertaining plot within. After three years of producing and editing the documentary, "Boys of Bonneville: Racing on A Ribbon of Salt," we needed a talented writer and editor to work through our rough cut, find the deeper story and create a feature-length film that could hold the attention of a general audience. It was a pleasure watching Michael work with the entire team's vision, nuancing it, making it come to life. His writing, combined with his editing skills, became a powerful tool leading to what is now an audience-pleasing and award-winning film. Michael Chandler is truly a genius in the motion picture filmmaking world, and he should be celebrated as such. Thank you, Michael.
--Curt Wallin, Director

Thank you, thank you, and thank you for all the energy, intelligence, vision and care you've put into this movie. We expected great things and you have really delivered. We really look forward to seeing this story of Ab Jenkins and the other Meteor Men get out there and amaze those who haven't heard it and delight those who have. It's been very enlightening and fun being a part of your process. We really owe so so much of the success of the project to your work and talent.
--John Greene, Producer

Ghost Town to Havana

Michael edited my (and Robert Hillmann's) feature documentary Waldo Salt: A Screenwriter's Journey. He did a brilliant job, resulting in the film's nomination for Best Documentary Feature by the Academy in 1991. Bob and I thank Michael's remarkable intelligence, passion, and skill (and our wisdom to have chosen him) for that honor. I'd admired Michael's work for years (Amadeus) and marveled at his ability to go back and forth between feature and documentary forms.

After struggling for months to put together a promo for my new documentary on what baseball means to kids growing up poor, I took the job to Moab and Michael delivered again. After a week of working together, we came up with a piece that hits all the right notes. Don't try this at home. Michael soaked up my vision and intention and then turned a challenging concept into an imaginatively structured and cut piece that will be a great help in fundraising.

And Moab's a stunning place to work. --Producer/Director, Gene Corr

Family of the Wa'a

When we could no longer avoid the fact that our film was not living up to its potential, we searched for the right person to help get us on track. After interviewing quite a few people, Mike was the clear stand-out. He is an extraordinary talent and was indispensable in the transformation of our film into a warm and affectionate tribute to our characters.

Mike has an intuitive understanding of story, and his ability to separate the good stuff from the clutter is amazing. Not only did he tackle the film's difficult structural problems, but brought his touch to sequences that ranged from extreme adventure to quiet emotion. It was a pleasure collaborating with him, and I hope we can do it again.
--David Cumming, Producer

Adios Amor: The Search for Maria Moreno

There comes a time in the postproduction journey when the landscape starts to look too familiar…we’re on auto pilot and not sure if it’s not working or has just ceased to fill us with wonder. That’s a good time to head for the territory—in this case Michael’s place in Moab. The work I did up there in the high desert was like crossing unmarked snow. Michael is a very good guide—with razor sharp intellect, a perceptive eye, and great empathy for our character’s foibles and our own. At the very moment he’s sharing a clear-eyed assessment of the material’s limitations, his imagination has already flown up ahead to show the way forward.
--Laurie Coyle, Director/Producer

P.S. Did I mention poetry, good humor and a transcendent landscape?