Mags Miller ’90 Captures the 2020 March On Washington for the Future
As storytellers and historians begin crafting the narrative of what the March on Washington, the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and the place that 2020 will hold, they will reference the images and footage that National Geographic TV, and Mags Miller ‘90, captured in September.
As a freelance producer, director, and executive producer who has worked for Discovery Networks and National Geographic TV, Mags Miller ’90 creates beautiful, moving productions in some demanding situations. For NatGeoTV, she traveled to Helmand Province, Afghanistan to embed with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, USMC for Explorer: Camp Leatherneck.
For the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, Mags was tasked with leading a roving team embedded in the March, trying to catalog the faces and ideas rippling through this past year’s discourse. Filming this special event in her hometown, Washington D.C., would certainly carry the weight of the national conversation on race and culture, but would it be like her other professional projects?
“It was very different from most of my projects, mainly because we don’t typically drop into an event for just one day. We usually have time in the field to create relationships and follow a story as it organically evolves over time.” Most of her productions, which include Naked and Afraid, City of Stories: New Orleans, Finding Bigfoot, and Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations, have a plan in place. Mags specializes in a “Documentary Follow” style of film production, and this was just what was needed for the event. “The executive producer wanted someone who has experience in on the fly interviews, and is comfortable in unknown situations that can go in any direction.”
What was her takeaway from the experience?
“When you’re shooting in the field, you absorb things but you don’t let it impact you in the moment. It wasn’t until I got home that I allowed myself to have any conversations about it, because it was so powerful.”
“I’m an optimist, and I like to see hope,” she continued. “I’ve gone to a lot of protests in D.C., but one of the things I saw at the March event was this incredible diversity—from age, to color, to orientation. It was this beautiful array of color and ages that showed up – parents bringing their kids. It was very hopeful. And we need hope right now.”
“This year’s March on Washington was a great reminder of the work we have done, but also the incredible amount of work we still have to do.”
As a CRMS Trustee for many years, Mags shares a strong affinity with CRMS’s values and what she learned from both her time as a student, as well as in her professional and personal journey since graduation. Asked to reflect on the intersection of what she experienced and how it might relate to CRMS students today, Mags homes in on one of CRMS’s core values.
“In order to get to a better place, most of the time you will go through a real moment of struggle, of challenge, of questioning. It’s all of those lessons I learned while I was there at CRMS; I learned how to fail without being a failure. It’s about resilience. It’s about showing up every day. And that’s how the important work gets done.”
Join us in congratulating Mags on this unique project, and keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of her work in the coming weeks and months!
You can also catch one of her more recent projects on HGTV, House in a Hurry, which follows homebuyers, confronted with sudden or unexpected relocations, as they find homes in an unfamiliar city in just one weekend.