Muck Media

MUCK MEDIA is an Emmy, Peabody and duPont Award-winning production company concentrating on quality storytelling that is often journalistic and always compelling.

The company recently premiered three projects at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival: American Pain, a CNN Films/HBOMax feature documentary about the rise and fall of twin brothers from Florida who ran the biggest prescription opioid trafficking network in US history. Menudo: Forever Young, an HBOMax original series chronicling the fame and tragedy of the most iconic Latin American boy band in history. The Originals – an animated short about childhood friends growing up in South Brooklyn, where money was tight but friendships were tighter.

Muck’s Emmy-nominated series Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller about global black markets and underworlds was recently picked up for it’s fourth season by National Geographic.  And the company is currently producing the Disney+ Original Science Fair, The Series inspired by the Sundance Festival Favorite and Emmy Award winning feature documentary.

Muck produced the critically acclaimed Netflix Original documentary Mucho Mucho Amor about the beloved Puerto Rican astrologer Walter Mercado; the duPont Award-winning investigative documentary Death by Fentanyl, which was among the earliest reporting on the fentanyl crisis and Chasing El Chapo, a documentary about the hunt for the famous Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman Loera.

MARIANA VAN ZELLER

Correspondent / Executive Producer

Born and raised in Portugal – saudades. Moved to New York to attend Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. A month into the program, I was reporting live back to Europe on the events of 9/11. In 2003, I went undercover to report on Syrian mujahidin crossing into Iraq to fight against the US invasion. The story captured the first signs of what would be a growing insurgency. Since then: diamonds in Brazil, gold in Colombia; migrants on trains in Mexico and boats in North Africa; Lebanon-Syria-Iraq-Iran; Rape on the Reservation and The OxyContin Express. London, Damascus, Rio are some of the places I’ve called home. Frequently in transit, but if you catch me at the border, I got visas in my name. Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian and French spoken here.

CRISTINA COSTANTINI

Director / Executive Producer

Cristina most recently co-directed Mucho Mucho Amor, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. She also co-directed Science Fair with Darren Foster which won audience awards at both the Sundance and SXSW Film Festivals in 2018, as well as an Emmy and Critics’ Choice Award for Best First-Time Director. As an investigative journalist, she’s covered detention centers, sex trafficking, and the opiate epidemic. Her investigative work has been recognized with a GLAAD Media Award and an Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award. The Milwaukee native is a Yale grad who now lives in LA with her husband, Alfie, and a pug dog named Harriet.

DARREN FOSTER

Director / Executive Producer

Darren Foster is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist. His feature documentary, Science Fair, won the Festival Favorite Award at Sundance 2018 and the Audience Award at SXSW. Darren and his co-director Cristina Costantini were named best first-time directors by the Critics’ Choice Awards. The film is currently being adapted into a narrative feature by Elizabeth Banks and Universal Pictures. Prior to directing and producing Science Fair, Darren took on darker subjects. His one-hour investigation Death by Fentanyl won a 2017 duPont Award for its in-depth look at how a powerful painkiller is turning the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history even deadlier. It was a continuation of Darren’s groundbreaking reporting on the opioid crisis that began with The OxyContin Express, which won a Peabody Award, a Television Academy Honor and an Emmy nomination.

Jeff Plunkett

Showrunner / Director / Executive Producer

Jeff is the showrunner on Trafficked, Muck’s new series about black markets for National Geographic. In 2018, he produced the Emmy Award-winning Science Fair. In 2016, he campaign hopped as a producer/director for Showtime’s The Circus. Previously he directed The Opposition for ESPN about the collision of soccer and politics in Chile, and Borderland, an Al Jazeera series about the realities of undocumented immigration. For previous films, he embedded with the English Defense League to explore Europe’s growing fear of Islam, posed as a soccer agent in Ghana and France to understand the illegal trade in young African players, and was thrown out of an tobacco industry conference in Jakarta while documenting Big Tobacco’s aggressive push into the developing world. Proud Berkeley j-school grad.

Alex Simmons

Director / Executive Producer

Alex is a co-founder of Muck Media and has directed and produced series for Apple TV+, National Geographic, CBS, Discovery and Amazon. His non-fiction work has been nominated for an Emmy Award, the Livingston Award for Young Journalists, and he is the recipient of an Overseas Press Club Award. On the narrative side, his feature film, Buddymoon, won the Audience Award at Slamdance before being released in theaters by Orion Pictures.