STUART SAMUELS PRODUCTIONS is a Toronto film and television production company, founded in 2000 by Stuart Samuels, an award-winning film director, television producer and writer in the documentary and music fields. His works explore the relationship of popular culture to the broader historical context of their times.
Producer ~ Director ~ Writer
In 1993, Stuart produced and co-directed the award-winning VISIONS OF LIGHT: The Art of Cinematography, about the history of cinematography in motion pictures. The New York Film Critics Circle, The National Society of Film Critics and the Boston Society of Film Critics named VISIONS the year's best documentary while The New York Times, USA TODAY, The Los Angeles Times and The San Francisco Chronicle awarded it four-star reviews. VISIONS OF LIGHT was the first High Definition (HDTV) feature to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival (1993), and was selected for the Edinburgh, London, Telluride, Chicago, Toronto, New York, Munich, Tokyo and Sundance Film Festivals. A survey of 40 major film critics named it "the most critically acclaimed film of 1993."
In 1998, Stuart co-directed and co-wrote HOLLYWOODISM: Jews, Movies and the American Dream. Based on the acclaimed book by Neal Gabler, HOLLYWOODISM chronicles how Jewish immigrants founded and built Hollywood in the early twentieth century. The film garnered Stuart best director honours at Toronto's Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival and best documentary at the Jerusalem Film Festival.
Stuart began his career first in academia. He has a Ph.D from Stanford University (1967), did post-graduate work at Oxford University (St. Antony's College) and was a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), from 1968 to 1981, where he pioneered the teaching of cultural history using feature films from around the world. In 1981 he published the book, Midnight Movies (Macmillan, 1981). Two decades later, Stuart combined his academic training with his filmmaking, by turning his book into an award-winning documentary, Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream.
Midnight Movies profiles six seminal cult films from the early 70s whose impact endures: Alexandro Jodorowsky's El Topo, George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, John Waters' infamous Pink Flamingos, Perry Henzell's reggae classic The Harder They Come, David Lynch's Eraserhead and, of course, Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Hollywood Reporter called Midnight "an affectionate glimpse into those countercultural times," while The Guardian proclaimed "this is a documentary that makes you regret the loss of the midnight movie culture."
MUSIC & HDTV
Leaving academia in 1981, Stuart turned his attention to the newly emerging field of music videos. From 1983-1986, Stuart co-produced and directed NightFlight, one of America's first music video programs, broadcast on the USA Network. NightFlight, was an alternative to Top 40-driven MTV, and was hailed by TV Guide as "the most entertaining late night show on cable TV ..."
In 1987, Stuart moved from programming to producing music videos with Academy Award-winning director Zbig Rybczynski (Tango). Using revolutionary High-Definition TV (HDTV) the duo redefined the genre with videos for Mick Jagger, Lou Reed, Herb Alpert, Supertramp, and John Lennon, for his anthem Imagine. To recognize his pioneering work, Millimeter magazine named Stuart one of the Top 50 Film and Television Producers of 1987.
Two years later, Stuart and Zbig received further acclaim for PBS' The Orchestra, a series that showcased classical musical video works. The Orchestra captured the Emmy for Best Special Effects Program, The Prix Italia for Best Arts Program, and the Grand Prize at the International Electronic Film Festival in Tokyo.
Stuart has created many music programs during his career: The Dionne Warwick AIDS Concert (1990), which was the first HDTV live music broadcast, Sting's 40th Birthday From Hollywood Bowl (1992) and Woodstock '94. All programs were produced in HDTV for the Japanese Broadcasting Company, NHK,Enterprises and broadcast in Japan.
Since 1995 Stuart has been making documentaries in Canada, including: Investigative Reports and Cartier: Jewelers to the Kings (1999) both for A&E; Peace, Love and Murder: The Ira Einhorn Story, (1998); and the five-part television series, Searching For Lost Worlds (1996) broadcast on The Discovery Network.
Soon after establishing his company in 2000, Stuart produced and directed Urban/Wild, a four-part series that focused on the relationship between urban life and wildlife in Paris, New York, Tokyo and Toronto. Shot in HD, Urban/Wild was broadcast on The Discovery Channel, HD Net, DISCOVERY HD, La Cinquieme in France and NHK in Japan. In 2002, his 13-part series, Paparazzi, debuted on The Life Network and A&E. Paparazzi is a reality based show based on a world-renowned celebrity photojournalist Louie D.
Stuart Samuels Productions.
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