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."
Their new film "Burma Soldier" will have its broadcast premiere 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" is nominated for a 2011 Irish Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary, and will be a centerpiece screening at this year’s Full Frame Festival in North Carolina, where Ricki and Annie will receive the 2011 Career Achievement Award.
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.
They are currently in production on a two-hour special for The History Channel, and are expanding their work into multi-part series and commercial projects, including a scripted comedy series in development for Planet Green.
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.