This week, we’re excited to have a guest who wears multiple hats in the impact film space. Michael Kuehnert. He’s directed films, but these past few years, he’s been working with a terrific distributor in the space, and works closely with filmmakers on their impact campaigns.
1. So you are one of the courageous, a creative talent who is working in a more traditional career, but then transitioned to filmmaking. Tell us about this decision, and how you came to your first production.
2. The film did well in fests and found distribution, not always easy with a short film. After this chapter in your career, how did you end up working with The Video Project…and tell our listeners more about the company.
3. I know you’ve brought a number of social impact films into their fold, including one I worked on – The Milky Way. But it seems you have expanded your role beyond mere acquisitons to actually supporting Impact Campiagns…helping filmmakers put their films into action. Tell us more about this process for you and The Video Project.
4. I had a chance to show Straws in the South Bay, and I know that had big goals for the film. Can you elaborate on this and share more about Straws, as a case study – as an Impact Campaign? Plastic Pollution as partner.
5. Action plan, don’t wait until film is finished - For all the filmmakers and changemakers listening, what advise can you share about strategies or tips to consider before they embark on one of these projects – where the film is an active tool for change.
Give us two movie picks, of films that have impacted you over the years, perhaps one classic and one newer film.
Michael Kuehnert Bio
Michael is the Director of Acquisitions and Sales for The Video Project, a documentary distributor based in San Francisco. He leads the team’s efforts to acquire high quality environmental and social cause documentaries, and administers impact campaigns that focus on funded outreach and engagement. He is also responsible for direct U.S. Broadcast Sales and digital sales.
His award-winning documentary SAVE THE FARM is about activist’s 11th hour attempt to save the largest urban farm in America. The film appeared on Netflix, The Doc Channel, and features Daryl Hannah, Alicia Silverstone and Amy Smart.
He co-produced the award-winning ROCK THE BOAT, a feature documentary about one man’s quest lead a kayak expedition down the Los Angeles River to successfully save its Clean Water Act Protection.
Michael is also the co-founder and Executive Producer of Shanti Generation, a leader in teen yoga and mindfulness content creation.
Prior to entering the film business, Michael enjoyed a successful career as a finance & sales professional in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
This week, we’re excited to have filmmaker Mike Espositio join us, sharing his words of wisdom on social impact filmmaking, as he and his team prepare to bring their Award winning documentary – The Rebound – into the world.
1. So give us some background on the origins of The Rebound, and how you came to the project?
2. Did you know from the early development stage that there would be a grassroots movement around the film? And tell us about the speakers and workshops.
3. Of course, I had the pleasure of inviting you to screen at the Naples Intl FF, where you won the Audience Award for Best Documentary. What a treat to see packed screenings and such an amazing response. Share some insights and highlights from your Festival run. You clearly continued to pick up momentum along the way.
4. Now that you are in the Distribution stage, navigating the best release strategy, what are your goals for the film itself?
And how does the “movement” overlap? Educational and tool kits?
5. When and where can audiences see the film?
Now it’s your turn to give us 2 movie picks!
Mike Esposito Bio
An award-winning producer and cinematographer as well, with a background in marketing and digital media, focused on creating effective and impactful media. Graduate of James Madison University’s College of Business, Mike helped in-house growing two startups, and worked on CBS Sports.com's marketing team on campaigns like the record-breaking live stream of Super Bowl XLVII. He is the Co-founder of Shaina Koren Cinematography and the lead Producer of THE REBOUND.
This is a very exciting time for social impact cinema, as a low barrier to entry combines with an increase in public interest for Cause Cinema.