The Roots of War was initially the brainchild of the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation, a primary funder of the McCuistion program- co-founded by Dennis McCuistion and Niki Nicastro McCuistion.

In October 2003, Niki, Executive Producer- Producer of the McCuistion program, received a call from Hugh Akin, the Sumners’ Foundation Executive Director, asking if she’d be interested in producing a documentary on terrorism. Albeit a novice to documentary production, a recent McCuistion program about 9-11 produced within a week of 9-11 (Terrorism: Important Information You haven’t Heard Yet), had earned a Women in Communication award and so the die was cast. Of course the answer was yes. A grant was written, budget developed, appointments for interviews from Iraq- to Saudi Arabia set up and in March of 2004, the small team of Niki- as Producer- Director- co-interviewer and camera back up, Dennis McCuistion, narrator and co-interviewer and Phil Smith, lead camera and co-editor, post production headed to Baghdad.

Perhaps if they knew then what they know now- the answer to the phone call just might- just maybe, have been no thank you. And yet – possibly not. The learning adventure, the people met, the stories told and the outcome of what occurred during the Roots of War, filming, editing and initial airing, subsequent disappointments and anticipation, led to a new Roots of War and a lifelong respect and compassion on the Producer’s part (Niki) for the conflict, issues and the people of the region on all sides of the equation. In fact since 2003 she has made 1-2 trips a year to the Middle East to study Middle East politics and policy, and conduct interviews for a “new” Roots of War… the Road to Peace documentary, which we anticipate airing soon.

The McCuistion Program, Dennis as host, Niki as executive producer-producer, has aired on KERA- Channel 13, public broadcasting -Dallas, since 1990. Syndicated nationally through National Educational Television Association, it can also be seen on local cable and educational stations. Its mission: Talking About Things That Matter with People Who Care…is to impact the quality of television. To that end, the program aims for an intellectually stimulating, objective exchange of ideas that challenges prevailing attitudes about things that matter.

The program educates and inspires viewers with up to date balanced information on issues that impact each of us daily. It has been honored with numerous awards and accolades from:

Press Club of Dallas Katie Awards for:

  • Dying With Dignity
  • The Oklahoma City Bombing: Part One

Women in Communication Awards for:

  • Brain Health: A Lifetime of Brain Building
  • Terrorism: Important Information You Haven’t Heard Yet
    among others… 1999,2000,2002,2003

And multiple Telly awards- 1999-2007

Programs on the Middle East Crisis Include:

  • Understanding Arab Culture
  • The Middle East in the 21st Century
  • The Palestinians’ Right of Return
  • Who Should Govern Jerusalem?
  • Israel: From Its Formation to Today
  • The Israeli- Palestinian Conflict: Solutions for Peace
  • The Mideast Road Map: Will It Lead To Peace?
  • How America is Seen in the Islamic World
  • The Past and Future of Jihadists

And Terrorism Related Issues include:

  • Terrorism: Important Information You Haven’t Heard Yet
  • When Technology, Evil and Incompetence Collide
  • The Oklahoma City Bombing- What Really Happened? Part One
  • The Oklahoma City Bombing- What Really Happened? Part Two
  • Waco: Part One
  • Waco: Part Two
  • America: More or Less Secure?
  • Will Homeland Security Mean a Loss of Civil Liberties?

Now in its 19th year, The program, can be viewed at www.frtv.org

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