‘A Small Light’ & More National Geographic Stars in Our TCA Portrait Studio

Maarten de Boer

National Geographic has an exciting lineup of original works this year. A handful of their creators stopped by TV Insider and TV Guide Magazine’s portrait studio during The Television Critics Association 2023 Winter Press Tour.

First is the upcoming miniseries A Small Light, telling the story of the brave Miep Gies, the woman who hid Anne Frank, Otto Frank, their family, and more from the Nazis during World War II. Bel Powley of The Morning Show stars as Miep, with Liev Schreiber as Otto and Joe Cole as Miep’s husband, Jan. A Small Light tells the remarkable true story of the 20-something secretary who didn’t hesitate when her for safe shelter.

For the next two years, Miep, her husband, and several other everyday heroes watched over the eight people hiding in the secret annex. Miep is the one who found Anne’s diary and preserved it so that she and Otto could later share it with the world. The show’s title comes from one of her quotes said late in her life: “I don’t like being called a hero because no one should ever think you have to be special to help others. Even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can turn on a small light in a dark room.” The series premieres Summer 2023 on Nat Geo and Disney+.

There are some possibly familiar faces on the documentary side of Nat Geo’s upcoming content as well. You may recall Christian Cooper, a peaceful birdwatcher who was unjustly harassed by a woman named Amy Cooper (no relation) in Central Park in May 2020. He now has his own Nat Geo series, Extraordinary Birder. You simply love to see it.

In Extraordinary Birder, the life-long birder takes viewers into the wild, wonderful, and unpredictable world of birds. Cooper travels all across the United States and Puerto Rico, doing whatever it takes to learn about these extraordinary, feathered creatures and show us the remarkable world in the sky above.

Popular travel journalist Jeff Jenkins will also be seen in Never Say Never, a docuseries that tracks his travels. In Never Say Never, Jenkins lives out his mantra, “life begins where your comfort zone ends.” He travels the world testing the limits of his physical abilities, makes deep connections with locals, and learns not just about the world but also about himself.

There’s also Bob Poole, Emmy-winning Director of Photography of Secrets of the Elephants, Mariana van Zeller, host of Trafficked, and four Nat Geo documentary directors who have made it to the network’s Oscars shortlist.

Check out all of their stunning portraits below.

The cast and creators of of 'A Small Light'
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Cast & Creators of 'A Small Light'

Liev Schreiber of 'A Small Light'
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Liev Schreiber

Schreiber plays Otto Frank, father to Anne Frank. Miep was Otto’s secretary before she agreed to hide him and the Frank family, among others.

Bel Powley of 'A Small Light'
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Bel Powley

Powley plays Miep Gies, the Dutch woman who hid the Frank family from the Nazis.

Joe Cole of 'A Small Light'
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Joe Cole

Cole plays Jan Gies, Miep’s husband.

Susanna Fogel of 'A Small Light'
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Susanna Fogel

A Small Light director.

Tony Phelan of 'A Small Light'
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Tony Phelan

A Small Light executive producer.

Joan Rater of 'A Small Light'
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Joan Rater

A Small Light executive producer.

Christian Cooper of 'Extraordinary Birder'
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Christian Cooper

Star of Extraordinary Birder.

Jeff Jenkins of 'Nat Geo Storytellers'
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Jeff Jenkins

Star of Never Say Never With Jeff Jenkins.

Bob Poole of 'Secrets of Elephants'
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Bob Poole

Director of Photography for Secrets of the Elephants, lead by Nat Geo explorer Dr. Paula Kahumbu, lead science advisor Dr. Joyce Poole (Bob’s sister), narrated by Natalie Portman, and executive produced by James Cameron.

Mariana van Zeller of 'Trafficked'
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Mariana van Zeller

Star of Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller. Season 3 premieres Wednesday, January 18 at 9/8c on Nat Geo.

Nat Geo Oscar shortlist doc Directors Alex Pritz, Sara Dosa, Matthew Heineman, and Cynthia Wade
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Nat Geo Oscar 2023 Shortlist Documentary Directors

From left to right: Sara Dosa, Matthew Heineman, Alex Pritz, and Cynthia Wade.

Sara Dosa, director of Nat Geo documentary 'Fire of Love'
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Sara Dosa

Director of Fire of Love. The film tracks intrepid scientists and lovers Katia and Maurice Krafft, who died in a volcanic explosion doing the very thing that brought them together: unraveling the mysteries of volcanoes by capturing the most explosive imagery ever recorded.

Matthew Heineman, director of Nat Geo documentary 'Retrograde'
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Matthew Heineman

Director of Retrograde. The film tells the story of the last months of the 20-year war in Afghanistan through the intimate relationship between American Green Berets and the Afghan officers they trained.

Alex Pritz, director of Nat Geo documentary 'The Territory'
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Alex Pritz

Director of The Territory. In it, a young Indigenous leader and his mentor defend their land in the Amazon rainforest.

Cynthia Wade, director of Nat Geo documentary 'The Flagmakers'
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Cynthia Wade

Director of The Flagmakers, which follows workers at the country’s largest maker of American flags and flagpoles.