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2020 Keynote Speaker
Karen Grau officially launched Calamari Productions in 1998, after a decade of journalism and public policy experience. As Founder and Chief Executive, Karen brings nearly 25 years of broadcast experience to all Calamari projects, from her time as a radio and TV news reporter to the two decades she’s spent creating and producing award-winning documentary films and TV series under the Calamari banner. Her career also includes three years as Deputy Legislative Director to former Indiana Governor Evan Bayh, where her work included analyzing the content and fiscal impact of legislation drafted by state agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor's office. Karen also assisted in writing three State of the State addresses.
In 2014, she was named a Knight Foundation Fellow in Ethics at Washington & Lee University, and is a recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash, Indiana’s highest civilian honor.
Today, Calamari Productions remains the only production company in the United States with special waivers granted by various state Supreme Courts to bring documentary cameras inside child welfare juvenile courts, venues that are—by law—closed to the media and the public. Calamari has turned that trust and extraordinary camera access into unprecedented, award-winning documentary series and video content used around the globe, from television outlets and networks such as ABC, NBC, MSNBC, A&E, MTV, Dateline NBC, Hulu, Nightline, Good Morning America, 20/20, Court TV, PBS, Bio and Channel 4 (UK), to universities and state governments around the country. Calamari video content is used for education and training purposes in over 14 countries, 200 universities, 25 Policy and Advocacy organizations and 85 state government agencies and facilities.
Calamari Production awards have included the prestigious National Edward R. Murrow award; Emmy awards; National Headliner Awards; the Gracie Award for Outstanding Documentary Series; a National Investigative Reporters and Editors Award; The Associated Press Broadcaster Award; the Society of Professional Journalists Award for Best Coverage of Children’s Issues; a Columbus International Film Festival winner; a Two-time winner of the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism; the PASS Award for Outstanding Documentary; and more than 16 national awards on behalf of children and families.