documentary filmmaker Orlando Bagwell was born in Baltimore, Maryland to Donald Bagwell, Sr. and Barbara Jones Bagwell in a family of seven. He attended Blessed Sacrament Baltimore Elementary in Washington, D.C. and high school in Baltimore. In 1969, his family moved to Nashua, New Hampshire where he was a member of the Nashua High School football team. After graduating from high school, Bagwell pursued his B.S. degree in film at the University of Boston. He completed his undergraduate studies in 1973 and furthered his education by earning his M.A. degree in broadcast journalism from the Boston University graduate school in 1975.