Hazel Gurland-Pooler

Hazel was born in Bogotá, Colombia and raised in New York City. After graduating from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, she worked in long-form television production for ABC News, A&E, PBS/Frontline, HBO, and HISTORY. Hazel Co-Produced two hours of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., which was honored with an Emmy, a Peabody, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia baton, and the NAACP Image award.

Hazel then Produced Roots: A History Revealed, which was nominated for a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary Television and screened at the Bushwick Film Festival in 2016. In 2017, Hazel produced a five-part, digital-first, short-form docuseries about the daily lives of low-income New Yorkers called, My Everyday Hustle for PBS/WNET’s, multi-platform public media initiative, Chasing the Dream: Poverty & Opportunity in America.

Continuing to collaborate with Dr. Gates over the years, Hazel has directed and produced six hours of the celebrity genealogy series Finding Your Roots, with another four episodes scheduled for broadcast beginning in January 2019. Storming Caesars Palace (w.t.), which has received support from ITVS’ Diversity Development Fund and Firelight Media, is her first feature.


After losing her job as a hotel worker in Las Vegas, Ruby Duncan joined a welfare rights group of mothers who defied notions of the “welfare queen.” In a fight for guaranteed income, Ruby and other equality activists took on the Nevada mob in organizing a massive protest that shut down Caesars Palace.


Storming Caesars Palace

Program Affiliation

Documentary Lab
Impact Campaign Fund

Cohort Year

2018-2020 (Documentary Lab)
2021 (Impact Campaign Fund)



Documentary Lab
Impact Campaign Fund

Other Filmakers