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Press Release

August 4, 2014

The Weather Channel and Telemundo Reveal "The Real Death Valley"


Investigative Documentary Premieres Monday, August 11 on weather.com

New York, NY – August 4, 2014 – Why are hundreds of migrants dying each year as they attempt to cross the border to America? “The Real Death Valley” takes a hard look into this tragedy, in which hopeful souls cross through one of the most unforgiving weather environments in America – the punishing terrain of Brooks County, Texas. Produced by The Weather Channel and Telemundo, in collaboration with the Investigative Fund and Efran Films, this powerful investigative documentary examines this deeply controversial topic.

The Weather Channel will present the investigative piece on weather.com in a 30-minute digital documentary launching Monday, Aug. 11 at 9 a.m. ET.

Highlights from "The Real Death Valley" include:

  • Investigative reporter John Carlos Frey walking the same four-day, 40-mile trek that migrants take in sweltering temperatures.
  • Migrants who call for emergency help who wait as long as nine hours in the harsh elements before assistance arrives. Many, dying of heat exposure or other ailments, don't make it.
  • Harrowing 911 calls from migrants pleading for their lives
  • Hundreds of migrants have met their deaths in Brooks County over the past two and a half years; many of these unidentified bodies are buried in what some have called mass graves. “The Real Death Valley” takes you to some of these graves.

A broadcast version of the documentary aired on Telemundo on Sunday, Aug. 3.

Emmy Award-winning producers, Solly Granatstein and Shawn Efran, produced "The Real Death Valley" for Weather Films, a digital documentary unit of weather.com. Weather Films is dedicated to investigating controversial issues where weather, public policy, and the environment collide. Since its launch in 2013, Weather Films has garnered 30 industry awards, including Telly Awards, Digiday Media Awards, and Communicator Awards. In 2014, Weather Films was a four-time Webby Award honoree. 


The Weather Company: Where the World Gets its Weather
Through The Weather Channel (weather.com) and Weather Underground (wunderground.com) brands, The Weather Company provides millions of people every day with the world's best weather forecasts, content and data, connecting with them through television, online, mobile and tablet screens, as well as third-party publishing partners via API. Through WSI, the company delivers superior professional weather services for the media, aviation, marine and energy sectors. The Weather Company is owned by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. For more information, visit www.weather.com/press.

Telemundo, a division of NBCUniversal Hispanic Enterprises and Content, is a world-class media company, leading the industry in the production and distribution of high-quality Spanish-language content across its multiplatform portfolio to U.S. Hispanics and audiences around the world. Telemundo's multiple platforms include the Telemundo Network, a Spanish-language television network featuring original productions, theatrical motion pictures, news and first-class sports events, reaching U.S. Hispanic viewers in 210 markets through its 16 owned stations, broadcast and MVPD affiliates; Telemundo Digital Media, which distributes Telemundo's original content across digital and emerging platforms including mobile devices andwww.telemundo.com; an owned and operated full power station in Puerto Rico that reaches 99% of all TV households in that DMA; and Telemundo Internacional, the international distribution arm which has positioned Telemundo as the second largest provider of Spanish-language content worldwide by syndicating content to more than 100 countries in over 35 languages.

Efran Films
Efran Films is a Manhattan-based production company.  Founded in 2010 by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer Shawn Efran, Efran Films specializes in telling visual stories for film, television, and web.

The Investigative Fund
The Investigative Fund is an award-winning nonprofit reporting project that incubates and supports investigative journalism with the potential for social impact. The Investigative Fund works with a talented roster of reporters to produce dozens of in-depth investigations each year in partnership with a wide variety of print, broadcast, and online media outlets. The Investigative Fund is a project of The Nation Institute, a nonprofit media center based in New York City.