Who We Are
Sandy Smolan, Director/Producer/Co-Founder
Mr. Smolan is a director and producer whose work spans features, documentaries, television, commercials and VR films.
His critically acclaimed debut feature film “Rachel River,” was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at The Sundance Film Festival and took awards for Best Cinematography and a Special Jury Prize for Actress Viveca Lindfors.
His VR film “The Click Effect” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was launched nationally at The Tribeca Film Festival and was the first New York Times Op-Doc Virtual Reality film. It was produced by Annapurna Pictures and Within in partnership with The Sundance Film Festival and The MacArthur Foundation, was nominated for an Emmy and was awarded the prestigious Lumiere Award for Best VR Documentary of The Year.
His documentary, “The Human Face of Big Data” won the Jury Prize for Best Cinematography at the Boston International Film Festival, was selected by the US State Department to be part of the international American Film Showcase, premiered on PBS and is now streaming on HBO Max.
His television movies include “The Last Soldier” for HBO, the mini-series “Beach Girls” with Rob Lowe and Julia Ormond for Lifetime,
“A Place To Be” for CBS and “Taking A Stand,” an Emmy Award-winning film with Betty Buckley for ABC, for which he was also nominated for Best Director.
As a television director his credits include the acclaimed pilot for the series “Middle Ages,” as well as over 50 network series including
“Brothers & Sisters,” “Ally Mcbeal,” “The O.C.,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “LA LAW,” “Chicago Hope” and “Northern Exposure”.
In original programming for the Internet, he directed the ten-part web series “In Gayle We Trust” for NBC.com and the web series
“First Dance” and “First Day” for Alloy Entertainment, winner of the Advertising Age Media Vanguard Award.
Smolan’s documentary “12 Stones,” about the transformation of a group of illiterate women in southern Nepal won the jury prize for Best Short Documentary at the Tallahassee and Newport Beach Film Festivals.
He was the recipient of a James Beard Award for his short film, “Wall of Fire”.
He also produced and directed films in East Africa for HP and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, four short films about sustainable development in India, Georgia, Peru and Rwanda and a series of films about technology, innovation and social responsibility sponsored by
Intel, Microsoft, Applied Materials, BD Biosciences and Nokia.
Mr. Smolan was the associate producer of two network documentaries for CBS News; “The Cowboy, The Craftsman and The Ballerina” with Morley Safer and “Juilliard: A Life in Music”, narrated by Charles Kuralt and winner of the Peabody Award.
His documentary, The Maghreb Journals, was a 12 projector, 6 screen immersive installation shot over five months in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
He was a featured speaker at the EG Conference in Monterey, California and The INK Conference in association with TED and he has been a panelist at The Sundance, Tribeca, Cannes, Hollywood Digital and Seattle Film festivals. He is a National Academy of Sciences Science and Entertainment Exchange Fellow, serves on the Directors Guild of America Documentary Award Screening Committee and was an Associate Professor at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.
He is also the co-founder of VR Microtheaters, a virtual reality start-up that develops state of the art VR theaters and immersive experiences for Museums, Aquariums and Science Centers.
Bill Medsker, Producer
Mr. Bill Medsker began his career as a production manager in feature films; working with, among others, director Brian de Palma, actors Robert DeNiro and Dennis Hopper, and the American Film Institute.
He shifted his career into the world of television commercial production as assistant director on hundreds of t.v. commercials for clients as diverse as Sony, Microsoft, the U.S. Army, General Motors, AT&T, McDonald’s, Budweiser, Kodak, Hallmark, Proctor and Gamble and Nintendo, he has consistently managed the process and orchestrated the delicate balance that exists between a dynamic group of advertising agencies, directors, technicians, and talent, including working in partnership with director Michael Grasso for eight years. In 1991 he became President of Velocity Films, a division of Harmony Holdings, a publicly traded entity that owned and operated several individual entertainment corporations.
As Velocity’s President over the next several years, he ran its commercial production business, functioning as Senior Executive Producer on numerous projects as well as managing the company’s finance and business development activities.
In 1995 he joined Johnson Burnett Productions, a bi-coastal production company with worldwide affiliations and an annual shooting schedule of over 100+ commercials. He remained as Executive Producer at JBP until 2001.
Since 2002 he has been privileged to work with such companies as Cielo, Form and Prologue (L.A.); Film World (Milan); and directors John Frankenheimer, Kyle Cooper, Marty Weiss and Robert Black, among others.
Since 2009 he has partnered with filmmaker Sandy Smolan and been the lead producer at Luminous Content.