BIO: Born Into This

Michael I Schiller is the Creative Director of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and an Emmy Award ® winning producer and director.

Michael uses animation, radio, video, photography and design to tell stories. His video series “The Dead Unknown” garnered some of journalism’s most prestigious prizes, including a national News and Documentary Emmy Award, a national Edward R. Murrow Award and a national Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award. Michael’s animated short film “The Box”, about solitary confinement of youth, won a San Francisco Film Festival Golden Gate Award, a New Orleans Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize and was nominated for a National News and Documentary Emmy for New Approaches.

Michael’s  first feature documentary “The After Party” won three “Best Documentary Feature” awards and a “Freedom of Speech Award.” He has published his writing and photos in a bunch of magazines (from “Dwell” to “Inside Kung Fu”) and produced radio segments for the “Reveal” radio program. Michael worked with Havas Worldwide on digital campaigns for Heineken, Dos Equis, Volvo and lots of other big brands, and spent nearly a decade making films for the music industry.

Michael has film in his blood. He grew up in a household where there was always a black and white negative darkroom in the closet, thanks to his mother, a portrait photographer. His uncle used the bathtub in their house in Pittsburgh to hand-process motion picture negatives for use in his avant-garde films in the early 1970’s. Michael inherited a 16mm Bolex camera from his uncle, along with a drive to make films. Based on a portfolio he created by the age of 16, Michael was awarded a fellowship to the University of California at Santa Barbara where he earned B.A. in Creative Studies. While versed in traditional filmmaking practices, Michael has remained a pioneer in the digital revolution. In 1999 he founded Freed Pictures and quickly had Universal / BMG as a client, creating content for GetMusic.com, their first large scale venture into streaming video for the web. Nearly two decades later, Michael is still on the cutting edge of technology, having built numerous digital editing work-stations to create video content.

In 2008 Michael produced and directed the half hour documentary “The Tao of 9 Second Ave” which premiered on The Documentary Channel and screened at The New Museum of Contemporary Art in Manhattan as part of the Bowery Artist Tribute, the film was recently acquired by the Tribeca Film Institute’s Reframe collection for online distribution. Michael directed the Heineken Audience Choice Award for the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. He was the director of photography for director Joel Schumacher’s P.S.A. about Rwanda (MTV), and shot the opening segment of Robert Greenwald’s documentary feature “Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price”. Michael was a camera operator on director Marc Levin’s “Protocols of Zion” (HBO, Think Films, Sundance 05’) and on director Jeremy Kagan’s “The Freedom Files “ (Court TV), a television series about the ACLU. Michael worked as an editor, producer and writer on “Three Thug Mice”, an animated short film that was an official selection of the SoCal Independent Film Festival, Reeperbahn Film Fest, Radar Hamburg Film Fest and won the Italian Digifest award for Best of the Fest. His music video for the rock hit “Combat Baby” (from the band Metric) premiered on MTV, and he has worked as a cameraman and editor for the Clear Channel program “I Heart Radio” on concerts for 50 Cent, Norah Jones, Justin Bieber, Alicia Keys, Shakira and The Script.   In 2013 Michael joined the staff of The Center for Investigative Reporting.

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