Videos by Joan Van Tassel

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<Scroll down page to Baghdad Stories>

Stream videos in RealMedia9 high-speed format (450kbps) or download the Quicktime .mov files over dialup (although this could take a lo-o-o-ong time.


<7-Minute Demo Reel>

My 7-minute Demo Reel is a compilation of  work I've produced. I edited everything in this demo, and shot much of it. The footage is mainly from L.A. Some of it is from Iraq when I was there in March-May of 2003. I produced the footage from inside the L.A. County jail in September and October of 2005. There's some old footage from the late 80s that you shouldn't miss: the two Only in L.A. sections...I'll never forget these truly weird moments.

<Beyond Bars>

This is a  short video (rough-cut/scratch track), originally edited for a local PBS station, that goes behind the bars of the Los Angeles County jail to introduce the innovative programs developed by the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department. Several of these unusual initiatives, particularly the Domestic Violence unit and the Vets' Dorm, have proved themselves to be stunningly successful at reducing recidivism rates.


LASD has been willing to experiment with cutting-edge methods that offer inmates a chance to transform themselves and their lives. The Domestic Violence Unit, Vets' Dorm, We Care for pregnant women, and the Job Fair program all open up new paths for the incarcerated. They get the opportunity to develop new behaviors and skills -- so they can avoid returning to jail and, hopefully, become productive members of society.

<Skid Row Housing Trust>

On the Row - I shot this video for the Skid Row Housing Trust to highlight the number of homeless people living in downtown Los Angeles. (2 min.)

Lighting Up the Lincoln - I shot and edited this piece for the Skid Row Housing Trust. As part of rehabbing the Lincoln Hotel, formerly a dilapidated single room occupancy dump, the agency refurbished the classic neon sign -- a growing trend throughout downtown LA.
This piece documents the third attempt to hang the sign -- something had gone wrong the first two times. The work started at 7:00 am and I went back at later to capture the neon at night. (2 min.)



I went to Iraq to produce video for ABC Nightline about the first private medical shipment to Iraq after the invasion, sent by OperationUSA. While shooting for Nightline, I also taped the personal stories of some of the people we met in that anarchic, spooky post-invasion environment. I have a lot more video than I can put on the site, and there's even more I'd like to capture...what happened to people and how they think about their experiences now.

Charlie's Conundrum - How do you make sure that a high value cargo is safely stored and distributed to those who really need it in a war zone where there is no government and extreme environment hazards like way too much lead in the air? That was Charlie Moed's problem in April, 2003... (3 min.)


Strong Medicine at the Sheraton Hotel - Beautiful Naomi met Dr. Sabine Raacke at the Sheraton. The good doctor has a comfortable life in Germany. But seeing the bombing of Baghdad on TV prompted her to jump on a plane to Amman, ride a Jimmy into Baghdad, and set up a free clinic in an unused rotunda of the downtown Sheraton Hotel. Every day, hundreds of people lined up to see her. We met Ahmed when we were having tea in the Sheraton lobby and took him to see Dr. Raacke. (2.5 min.)

A Special Force - I met him in a meting and I thought I heard this dignified Colonel groan.

"What's the matter?" I asked.

"I was shot," he replied.

Me: "What the hell are you doing here in a meeting?"

Colonel Butch Anderson is that kind of dedicated person...attending a meeting where he knows he has something to contribute. In addition to being a practicing physician, he is also a trained anthropologist. Away from the Sandbox, in the Real World, he's a doctor on a New Mexico Indian reservation. In the Army Reserves, he headed the Civil Affairs Unit tasked with standing up the Iraqi medical system in the months after the war. (2.5 min.)

A Doc in Iraq - Why would a Kansas City doctor leave his home and practice for weeks at a time to go to the world's crisis spots? He'll tell you as he offers an experienced, professional appraisal of the Iraqi medical system. (2 min.)


<TV Movie>

Children of the Night was a TV Movie of the Week that was based on a documentary I produced. I worked as an Associate Producer on the film, which highlighted the pioneering efforts of Dr. Lois Lee to help teenagers get off the mean streets of Hollywood. (5:21 min.)

                        Joan Van Tassel      310.254.7511

"Dancing Girl," original oil painting by Guy Paul