Andrew Young, Co-Founder | Director | Director of Photography
Susan Todd, Co-Founder | Director | Producer
Emmy Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated directors Susan Todd and Andrew Young have been making cutting-edge, character-based films for the past three decades. They founded Archipelago Films in 1991 and their mission remains to inform, inspire, and ignite through high-quality, visual storytelling.
With a well-established track record of producing, directing, editing, and filming dozens of documentary and fiction films, television, wildlife and natural history, museum installations, corporate, and commercial projects, Archipelago Films is now expanding its scope to include the Giant Screen format.
Backyard Wilderness, their first Giant Screen film, is currently in production and is being produced under their 501(c) 3 organization, Arise Media, which was created to produce quality, thought-provoking media about some of the most pressing social and environmental issues of our time. Pushing the boundaries of storytelling and technology, Backyard Wilderness combines cutting-edge natural history techniques to tell the story of the plants and animals that live around a typical suburban home, with a dramatic story about a human family that has everything it needs except a sense of connection to the world around it.
Archipelago Films brings it all: extreme professionalism; an uber high level of creativity, technical chops, and insatiable curiosity; the ability to find compelling subject matter; and tell engaging, impactful stories. Whether directing a 24-person crew on a fiction shoot, or brainstorming with corporate clients about their media needs, they bring razor sharp editorial judgement, award-winning production values, and the ability to translate big picture concepts into compelling visual stories with universal appeal.
Todd and Young’s credits include their Academy Award-nominated Children of Fate, which revisits a family filmed by Young's father, director Robert M. Young in 1961. The film received the Grand Jury Prize and the Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival, top awards at many international festivals, played theatrically in over 30 US cities, and had its television premiere on HBO/Cinemax. Other Archipelago award-winning films include Madagascar: A World Apart, It Ain't Love, Cutting Loose, and Americanos.
As the company’s principal Director of Photography, Young strives to bring the camera into the middle of exciting situations, and his camera work has earned him an Emmy Award for Best Cinematography, two additional Emmy nominations, the top prize for cinematography at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, and the Award for Excellence in Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival three times.
Todd and Young have truly done it all, proving that the ingredients for compelling media are grounded in expert craftsmanship and a deep-rooted understanding of the language of film and digital media.
THE BACKYARD WILDERNESS TEAM
Myles Connolly, Supervising Producer, has worked on more than 25 IMAX and 70mm films including the acclaimed Everest, The Living Sea, Samsara, Flight of the Butterflies, and, most recently, Wild Africa 3D for the BBC. Films he has produced have garnered numerous awards including two Academy Award nominations, the Cine Golden Eagle, the Grand Prix du Festival at the Theater du La Geode in Paris, and the “Best 3D/Immersive” award twice at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. Myles is one of the top 3D supervising producers, with more than ten years of experience in this very demanding field.
Michael Male, Cinematographer, has over thirty years of experience filming natural history subjects from the tropics to the Arctic. He has spent months crouched in the wild, in blinds using telephoto lenses, and hours on his knees in the mud with macro lenses, to capture animal behaviors often for the first time. Michael is well-versed in the creative application of time-lapse, slow motion, night vision, infrared, probe lens and remote camera techniques. He was nominated for the 2009 Emmy Award in Cinematography for his work on the Nature episode "Crash" and again in 2013 for An Original DUCKumentary which won the Emmy for Best Nature Program.
Beth Spiegel, Editor, is an Emmy-award winning film editor who has worked with National Geographic, Vulcan Films, A&E Network, Turner Broadcasting, Animal Planet, and ABC, among others. Her work includes the acclaimed Giant Screen films Island of Lemurs: Madagascar and Born to Be Wild, as well as the feature-length documentary Arctic Tale.
Katherine van Hengel, Associate Producer, has extensive experience as a Producer and Production Manager on both narrative and documentary feature films. After working in the NYC financial world for J.P. Morgan, Katherine followed her creative passions into the film industry. Having grown up in much of the same area in which Backyard Wilderness is being shot, joining the team was a natural choice allowing Katherine to couple her love of the environment, her financial savvy and her drive for impactful filmmaking into one project. Katherine has worked with multiple productions including her most recent work on NBC Universal's remake of Francis Ford Coppolla's, Dementia 13.
Lincoln Athas, Assistant Editor, has worked as an editor and visual effects artist for various clients in the New York and Los Angeles areas. He also managed a Kickstarter campaign for production/VFX company MACHINEYES in order to complete 2 feature documentaries on renowned Canadian artist William Kurelek, and well exceeded the $50K funding goal, thus joining the project as an editor. Being a part of Backyard Wilderness is a continuous source of inspiration for him. On the project he has been engaged in extensive compositing and editorial work, even developing unique VFX techniques to help bring to life the singular vision of this immersive film.
Christopher Georgia, Assistant Camera, specializes in digital motion time-lapse, still, and 4K video shooting, capturing both landscape and astro-landscape scenes. Chris has a wealth of knowledge of motorized 3-axis time-lapse and video systems, especially in the field of astrophotography. These sequences bring a unique look to the overall production. At home in the bush of the North Woods on the East Coast, he has a passion for the outdoors and astrophotography. Chris has been involved in projects working with the BBC Natural History Unit, Space.com, and EarthSky.com.
Brandon Sargeant, Assistant Camera, is a filmmaker specializing primarily in DSLR photography and videography as well as non-linear editing. His skills with equipment management and complex rigging make him an invaluable part of the Backyard Wilderness team. Past work includes independent documentary and narrative projects along with corporate work, music videos and event coverage. Before starting with Archipelago Films he was the AV technician at Croton Harmon High School making him very familiar with the Backyard Wilderness area.
Alex Grant, Production Assistant, has worked on conservation projects in China and Tanzania for Conservation International and the World Bank. He is passionate about storytelling and learning about different cultures and wildlife around the world. Backyard Wilderness is his first wildlife production. While on set, Alex can be found wrangling a watering can, table saw, backhoe and various cutting edge camera technologies.