Bob Chitester is founder and president of Free To Choose Network and its production and educational initiatives Free To Choose Media and izzit.org. With more than 40 years of experience creating programs and series for public television and as former president of the Erie public television station WQLN, Bob Chitester continues to be creatively involved in the creation of programs and series for Free To Choose Media and izzit.org.
In partnership with his colleague Tom Skinner (senior executive producer at Free To Choose Media) Bob has served as executive producer for The Power of Choice: the Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman (on PBS), The Ultimate Resource (American Public Television), The Power of the Poor (PBS), Globalization at the Crossroads with Hernando de Soto, and Turmoil and Triumph: The George Shultz Years, a three-part documentary series for PBS, Free or Equal, Testing Milton Friedman, Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives, Unlikely Heroes of the Arab Spring, Walter Williams: Suffer No Fools, Power to the People and India Awakes.
In 1980 Bob Chitester brought Milton Friedman to public television and was responsible as executive producer for Friedman’s landmark PBS series Free To Choose and the best-selling book that emanated from the series.
Bob Chitester holds BA and MA degrees from The University of Michigan and has received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Allegheny College.
On the personal level, he pursues physical fitness (running, biking, weight training), indulges in wood and clay sculpture, reads poetry publicly, hunts once a year with his son and grandsons and enjoys sing-alongs with his family, when he is not flying about in airplanes as part of his responsibilities at Free To Choose Network. Bob and his wife, Carol, have 4 children and 8 grandchildren, one of whom they raised from age 3 months.
Tom Skinner is executive producer of all Free To Choose Media productions.
Tom is an award-winning television and film executive producer, most notably of the National Geographic specials and Planet Earth. He is an experienced innovator and administrator with a solid academic background, and extensive national and international production credentials in public and commercial television.
From 1970 through 1993, Tom Skinner served as vice-president, executive vice-president, and chief operating officer of QED Communications, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1993, he left to pursue opportunities in independent production for A&E, Discovery and Turner Broadcasting. From 1994 through 1999, he was vice-president for programming at Resolution Productions.
Prior to his tenure at QED Communications, Tom was assistant manager at WITF-TV in Hershey, Pennsylvania and associate professor of Radio and Television and executive producer at San Diego State University. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including: four national Emmy Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards, and a Columbia/DuPont Award; and was director of the Academy Award-winning film Journey Into Self.
Tom holds a BA degree in Speech and Education from the State University of New York, Fredonia; an MA in Communications from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Communications and Theatre from the University of Michigan.
Tom is married to Marlis Mann of Leland, Michigan; he has 3 children and 7 grandchildren.
James and Maureen are a husband-and-wife filmmaking team. They founded, owned and operated a private filmmaking and communications firm called Mountain View Group, Ltd., which served some of the largest international corporations in the world, such as GE, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and IBM. The production of these high-profile branding films took them to more than forty countries around the world on behalf of their corporate clients. Maureen also produced many educational and documentary projects for Mountain View.
In 2008, they sold MVG and opened Sky Films Incorporated (SFI), a production company dedicated to documentary films. Their first release, The Singing Revolution, played in 125 North American theatrical markets. The New York Times wrote of the film, "Imagine the scene in Casablanca in which the French patrons sing 'La Marseillaise' in defiance of the Germans, then multiply its power by a factor of thousands, and you've only begun to imagine the force of The Singing Revolution." After its theatrical run, it was released on public television, and is also being distributed to American schools through izzit.org, an educational initiative of Free To Choose Network.
Following The Singing Revolution, they produced and distributed a documentary entitled To Breathe As One, which tells the story of Laulupidu, the extraordinary song festival held in Estonia every five years. As many as 30,000 singers take the stage to sing, becoming the largest choir in the world for two days. UNESCO has proclaimed the Laulupidu Song Festival a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity". To Breathe As One had a successful limited theatrical run in the fall of 2013, and aired on public television in 2014.
They produced Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives for Free To Choose Media in 2013, with India Awakes being their most recent film created for the FTCM team. They are currently working with us in development of their next FTCM release.
James and Maureen live with their young daughter and their many pets in the rural upstate community of Sand Lake, NY.