Cuban-born documentary-maker Adriana Bosch, who lives in Miami, has directed several biographies in the American Experience series.


Her documentaries have focussed on former US presidents Ulysses Grant, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, as well as the Rockefeller family, for the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), a privately funded provider of programmes to local stations.


Her two-hour programme to be aired next week is divided into two parts.


One covers Castro's youth until the Cuban revolution and the Bay of Pigs invasion. The second covers the 78-year-old Cuban leader's life up to the present day.


Capturing a lifetime


"One of the great challenges in making this story was to try to capture a lifetime into a two-hour documentary," Bosch said.


"That is true of most American Experience documentaries, with the difference that most presidents are in power two terms, or one term. Castro has been in power [as long as] 12 terms," she said.


"So you end up with almost an unmanageable history. The film is heavy on archive" images, she said. "We thought that it was better to show it than to try to tell it."


PBS said the archived material would include Castro's first interview with US television in 1957, before triumph in Havana on New Year's Day 1959, as well as footage of the revolution from the Soviet point of view.


Bosch left Cuba at the end of the 1960s when she was 14.