Welcome to Desert Penguin Pictures

Desert Penguin Pictures is headed by Cathleen O’Connell, an independent documentary producer based in Boston.

Who We Are


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About Cathleen

Cathleen O’Connell is an independent documentary producer based in Boston. Her films shine a light on lesser known but important facets of American culture – stories found when you exit the interstate and pull onto the blue highways and back roads. Her broadcast credits include non-fiction programming for PBS, Animal Planet, The History Channel and Discovery Channel.

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About Desert Penguins

We love deserts and we love penguins, hence Desert Penguin Pictures. (Although someone once said it sounded like a Zen kōan, and we like that as an origin story as well.) Team Desert Penguin is a pool of talented collaborators - a flock of rare birds, although we don't wear tuxedos all that often. (Above is a Scottish penguin at the Edinburgh Zoo. When travelling, Desert Penguins seek out their brothers and sisters around the world.)

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Contact us

Whether its broadcast, digital or print, we'd love to help you tell your story - from production, budgeting, writing to research and archival clearances.  Get in touch with us via the interwebs at this robot-thwarting address: info at desertpenguinpictures dot com. 

What We've Done


The Perfect Crime (American Experience/ PBS)

The shocking story of Leopold and Loeb and the "Crime of the Century"

Producer/Director

Ripley: Believe It Or Not (American Experience/PBS)

Biography of Robert "Believe It Or Not" Ripley

Producer/Director/Writer

War of The Worlds (American Experience/ PBS)

Orson Welles' infamous 1938 radio broadcast

Producer/Director

Sousa On The Rez

A documentary about contemporary and historical Native American marching bands. A co-production with Vision Maker Media and produced in association with the Center for Independent Documentary

Producer/Director/Writer

Additional Credits/Projects

Latino Americans (PBS) - Recreations Producer Hours 1 & 2

About Face (VA) - Production Coordinator

God In America (PBS) - Co-Producer Hour 1 & 2

We Shall Remain (PBS) - Co-producer Hour 1

Welcome To The Club: The Women of Rockabilly - Archival Researcher 

River of Song (PBS) - Coordinating Producer 

all sorts of stuff on the IMDB page


Time Capsule: Message In A Bottle

The past, present, and future of time capsules

Producer/Director/Writer/Editor

COMING SOON!


Stay tuned........