Ray Farkas produced and directed prime time news and entertainment programming for ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, HBO, AMC and won three Emmys ("Marriage License Bureau," CBS, 1989; "The New Civil War," ABC, 1991; "Catch-22," The Learning Channel, 1997). His work has been nominated ten times by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
His company, Off Center Productions, developed two series pilots: "Interviews 50 Cents," which originally aired as news magazine segments on ABC and PBS and "Ira's People," a mixture of crime and humor, which appeared on Court TV in March 1999, and a movie/documentary, "It Ain't Television, It's Brain Surgery," 2004.
His stories have a quickly identifiable look through the extensive use of long lenses, wireless microphones and foreground composition. He believes in conversations — not interviews, eavesdropping — not intruding, no lights, and keeping the camera far away from his subjects. He is devoted to time, place and context — little things, not big things, that television can do better than any other medium. But seldom does.
Farkas began his career with United Press International as a writer, then worked 24 years with NBC News, Washington, on the Huntley-Brinkley Report and NBC Nightly News as well as "Today" and the various incarnations of NBC magazine shows in the 1980s.
He then became an independent producer, delivering a series of stories to primetime CBS and ABC Magazines ("West 57th," "Street Stories and "Day One"), Fox ("America's Most Wanted"), while also producing and directing documentaries on the politics of abortion for ABC ("Peter Jennings Reporting: The New Civil War"), life in baseball's minor leagues for PBS ("Diamond Life") and the Kennedy/Nixon election ("The Great Campaign of 1960"), the silent movies for American Movie Classics ("Long, Long Ago") and The Learning Channel ("Great Books: Catch-22").
Additionally, Farkas produced and directed half hour specials for National Geographic "Explorer," ABC's "Nightline," a series of vignettes for the "ABC2000" millennium program, two series for "Entertainment Tonight" and videos for Monsanto, Boeing, GSA and MCI.
Off Center produced a four-part series for American Movie Classics, "Unscripted Hollywood," aired in 1995, and a film preservation promo with Julia Louis-Dreyfus played for six weeks in all United Artists theaters, Fall, 1995. Two bylined segments aired during the 1996 Olympics on NBC, as did five signature stories for MSNBC's "Edgewise" in 1996-97.
Farkas was a graduate of Lehigh University and lived in Washington, D.C. He was a member of The Directors Guild of America.
Ray Farkas passed away January 4, 2008. He was 71.