WHO WE ARE

Break Thru Films is the production company headed by Emmy nominated directors, writers, and producers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg.

Established in 1990, Break Thru Films' productions include: "Joan Rivers – A Piece of Work" which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival where it won the US Documentary Prize for Best Editing; the 2008 Emmy nominated documentary feature "The Devil Came On Horseback;" and the 2007 Emmy nominated feature "The Trials of Darryl Hunt."

Annie and Ricki are well known for producing and creating critically acclaimed documentaries and are sought after for their experience in directing dynamic personal journeys close to home, as well as mounting large international productions in challenging locations.

Their newest film, “Reversing Roe”, a Netflix original documentary produced alongside ABC’s Lincoln Square Productions, premiered at the 2018 Telluride Film Festival. The film offers an illuminating look of the state of abortion and women’s rights in America through candid interviews with key figures from both sides of the divide. Drawing from archival footage, the film provides a gripping look at what’s happening on the ground in 2018, and a comprehensive review of the years that led us here.

In 2016 “Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing,” was produced in partnership with the Boston Globe and HBO. The film explores the week of April 15, 2013 and the long term impact of terrorism on survivors as they face the challenge of recovery. Following events as they unfolded that day and over the next two years, the film features surveillance footage, news clips, home movies and exclusive interviews with the survivors and their families.

“In My Father’s House” is another tale of recovery that follows Grammy winning artist Che Smith on his journey to connect with his homeless father on the south side of Chicago. The film launched at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2015 and is available on Showtime.

Other notable films include the Emmy nominated "Burma Soldier" which premiered on HBO in May 2011. The film tells the story of a former junta member and Burmese soldier who risks everything to become a pro-democracy activist. "Burma Soldier" was nominated for a 2011 Irish Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary, and premiered as a centerpiece screening at the 2011 Full Frame Festival in North Carolina, where Ricki and Annie received the 2011 Career Achievement Award.

"Knuckleball!" (an MLB co-production) is a classic sports story that recounts the 2011 journey of the last professional knuckleball pitchers: Tim Wakefield, a 17-year Red Sox veteran, and Mets up-and comer R.A. Dickey - who was honored with the Cy Young award in 2012. Together with just four other living knuckleball they shine a light on their remarkable brotherhood and the shared pursuit of honor and craftsmanship. "Knuckleball!" premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012 followed by theatrical release and Showtime broadcast.

Ricki and Annie are also the executive producers and directors of "The Fashion Fund," a six part series that aired on Ovation in 2014 and Amazon in 2015. "The Fashion Fund" goes inside the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund which rewards emerging American design talent and features Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg and other industry icons. They also created the companion digital series "Inside the Fashion Fund with Rag & Bone" for the Vogue channel.

Currently, Break Thru Films is working on a 4 part docu-series for AMC featuring the 1986 murder of Jennifer Levin and the court trial that ensued for coined "Preppy Killer", Robert Chambers. "Preppy Murder: Death in Central Park" will be an intimate look into the life of Jennifer Levin and the media frenzy that consumed the city. The series will premiere this Summer on The Sundance Channel.

Accomplished writers and directors in their own right, Ricki and Annie are the leading creative forces behind Break Thru Film’s productions and are known for crafting deft and cinematic journeys through unexpected territory. Each project tracks new landscape – from criminal injustice in the American South, to Darfur, to stand up comedy and celebrity culture – but all are centered on unforgettable people and their most human experiences.

In 2009, Annie and Ricki received a Sundance/Skoll "Stories of Change" production grant to support a new documentary about the innovative education and anti-poverty program YouthBuild. Their new short for the Sundance Institute / Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is soon to be released as part of the BMGF focus on the United Nations’ Millennium Goals. They have been recognized with the Best Female Filmmakers Award-San Diego Film Festival, Adrienne Shelly Excellence in Filmmaking Award and Lena Sharpe/Women in Cinema Persistence of Vision Award–Seattle International Film Festival.

Ricki’s additional credits include directing and producing "In My Corner" for POV/ PBS, Emmy nominated "Neglect Not The Children" (PBS) and as producer on HBO’s series "Autopsy I, II, III" and "Murder 9 to 5." Ricki is the author of a children’s book series "Beryl Bean: Mighty Adventurer of the Planet" published by HarperCollins.

Annie was a director and supervising producer on the HBO 2009 series "Brave New Voices" and she developed and produced the feature film "Tully," nominated for four 2003 IFP Spirit Awards. Additional directing and producing credits include a four part special on the Mayo Clinic for Discovery (2004) and the 1996 Academy Award and Emmy winning "One Survivor Remembers," a co-production of HBO and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

RICKI STERN
ANNIE SUNDBERG