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creating stories that matter.

 
 

meaningful Films & photography for businesses, 
nonprofits, Charities & museums.

Annalisa Russell-Smith is an award-winning storyteller and producer of short films with experience in the UK and America. She's passionate about creating memorable digital content for your organisation whether it's for marketing, fundraising, creating awareness or recruiting the right kind of staff.

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of this landmark exhibition about Hampshire's very own Jane Austen as it is being developed and built by Hampshire Cultural Trust. This film was installed as part of the exhibition marking the bicentennial of her death showcasing six portraits from private and public collections brought together for the very first time, works by artists including Grayson Perry, and Jane Austen at The BBC. Includes interviews with curators Kathryn Sutherland and Louise West, and exhibition designer and manager, Ioannis Ioannidis.

The Making of The Mysterious Miss Austen Exhibition: Prop and costume maker, Claire Isbester, explains how the copies she is making of Jane Austen's silk pelisse, a type of light coat that actually belonged to the much-loved author, will be used in the landmark exhibition.

Annalisa is a sensitive and thoroughly professional film maker. She made an excellent film for ‘The Mysterious Miss Austen’, a ground breaking exhibition marking the bicentenary of the author’s death. Annalisa worked tirelessly with the curators and designers to produce a series of films about the exhibition, which are both engaging and informative. She is a pleasure to work with.
— Louise West, Co-Curator of 'The Mysterious Miss Austen', Hampshire Cultural Trust, Winchester, Hampshire

The University of Winchester has its own record label, Splendid Fred Records, and this film is about an album of songs created to help raise awareness of climate change. It's also the 2017 Green Gown Award winner for Student Engagement.

Chasing Perfection follows the restoration of a baby grand Steinway over the course of several months as Shawn Hoar works his magic to bring it back to life in his state-of-the-art workshop, Shawn's Pianos in West Hartford, Connecticut. As a Master Craftsman, Shawn is always chasing perfection as he restores these complex instruments from the beams up, uncovering the secrets of the original craftsmen as he works. We also get to see his beautiful showroom filled with pianos, vintage and new, for pianists, piano lovers and collectors of all levels.

The film won a platinum in the 2016 AVA Digital International Awards and a gold Hermes award.

So Much More Than Pudding: The Human Story Behind Meals-On-Wheels. Connecting with the people whose stories you are telling is so important. On the day of filming, Alice changed her mind about being interviewed. But actually, she decided to get her hair done so she'd be at her best to explain why Meals on Wheels are such an important part of her life. CW Resources, Inc., a national nonprofit based in New Britain, Connecticut, creates more than 2.5 million meals a year for delivery to seniors like Alice, whose only contact with the outside world on most days, is from the driver delivering her meal. A 2017 Gold Hermes award winner.

Annalisa’s attention to detail is impeccable and the quality of her work is phenomenal.
— Sandie Lavoy, Sr. VP of Community Rehabilitation Services , CW Resources Inc., New Britain, Connecticut.

This series of short films was made for CW Resources, Inc. a national nonprofit, to take to Washington DC as a lobbying tool to raise awareness among legislators of the 14(c) Special Minimum Wage Certificate, a provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act that has been up for repeal, which allows those with significant disabilities to work and earn at their own pace. It's a contentious subject because it raises questions about some basic human rights. The brief was to put a human face on a difficult issue and to create a deeper understanding overall by telling some very personal stories alongside the story of the organization. A 2017 AVA Digital Gold award winner.

Community Mental Health Affiliates (CMHA) wanted to showcase the importance of their comprehensive behavioral health and addiction services to legislators, potential employees and to funders through the eyes of their clients and employees, to show the longterm value and effectiveness of their work helping people from all walks of life.

The Spirit of Caring is a series of short films I wrote and created about people who have worked hard to overcome some of life's most complex problems with the help of CMHA. The campaign won highest honors, a platinum at the 2016 Hermes International Awards and a gold in the International AVA Digital awards."

Annalisa took the snippet of an idea that we had to tell our agency’s story and created a powerful and uplifting message of hope, empowerment and recovery.
— Ray Gorman, President and CEO, Community Mental Health Affiliates, (CMHA), New Britain, Connecticut

Still Photography | News | documentary

About Annalisa Russell-Smith

 Annalisa is an adventurous soul who loves nature and whose curiosity has led her to explore and travel all her life. She's passionate about storytelling as a way to connect with people, recognising that throughout the ages, people have relied upon stories to keep their cultures strong.  Her passion for motorbikes led to the exploration of obscure country lanes all over the British Isles where she grew up. Later, she learned to fly hang gliders before deciding she'd be better off with an engine and started exploring the countryside from the air in an old Cessna.   In her twenties, she gave up her job as a product manager and designer to go around the world for a year -- something she'd dreamed about since she was small. Some people thought she was crazy to sell her house and give up her glamorous job to go off on her own. "Where will you sleep?" they asked. It was a good question, because there weren't all the online resources for finding places. Others thought she was brave and wished they could do the same. She set off first to Africa armed with her camera and a small backpack, travelling on a shoestring around Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia. Then to Hong Kong, which was still under British rule and on across China by train. Australia was next, then New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, America and Canada.  "It's the best thing I've ever done, the kind of adventure that builds self reliance and character, I see that now."  In 2007 while living in America, her best friend roped her into volunteering to start a farmers' market. As a self-confessed food snob, it didn't take long before she was very involved in the local food scene and helping to run a small farm that she got certified organic. People loved her beautiful produce and learning how to use and cook with seasonal ingredients in the recipes she developed. Making some of those recipes live on a few local TV shows brought more people to the market and cemented her love for real food, and the local food movement.  It was at this time while working in her full-time job as a photojournalist that she fell in love with video and founded Local Planet Productions in 2009, to help organizations use storytelling to create a better understanding of their mission or services. She's learned her craft from mentors and some of the best documentarians in the USA through the  National Press Photographers Association   (NPPA)  professional development workshops held at the  University of Syracuse, New York  and the  University of Oklahoma Gaylord College . She loves learning and improving her skills, and helping others improve theirs. While serving as the NPPA's Regional Chair for New England, she developed a training workshop for visual journalists held at the  The Boston Globe  headquarters in 2016.  Annalisa is in demand for her ability to develop and deliver projects from the ground up with style and attention to detail. She is constantly thinking how to shape ideas into fresh and visually creative forms. She is a multi-skilled self-shooting Producer/Director who is adept at obtaining access to sensitive contributors and fostering relationships for the duration of the shoot and beyond. Her interviewing style is relaxed and informal, putting the subject at ease in front of the camera whilst gathering the best material possible. With experience in all aspects of story development from concept and copywriting to on-site shoot management and post production edit, she also collaborates with other production houses including  Trigger Air  and  Brand Filmworks  on projects.  "What I love the most, is being able to put a human face on some very complex issues. The best compliment I can receive is "She gets us!" because then I've really done my job."  A native of the British Isles, Annalisa is available for assignments anywhere in the world. 

Annalisa is an adventurous soul who loves nature and whose curiosity has led her to explore and travel all her life. She's passionate about storytelling as a way to connect with people, recognising that throughout the ages, people have relied upon stories to keep their cultures strong.

Her passion for motorbikes led to the exploration of obscure country lanes all over the British Isles where she grew up. Later, she learned to fly hang gliders before deciding she'd be better off with an engine and started exploring the countryside from the air in an old Cessna. 

In her twenties, she gave up her job as a product manager and designer to go around the world for a year -- something she'd dreamed about since she was small. Some people thought she was crazy to sell her house and give up her glamorous job to go off on her own. "Where will you sleep?" they asked. It was a good question, because there weren't all the online resources for finding places. Others thought she was brave and wished they could do the same. She set off first to Africa armed with her camera and a small backpack, travelling on a shoestring around Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia. Then to Hong Kong, which was still under British rule and on across China by train. Australia was next, then New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, America and Canada.

"It's the best thing I've ever done, the kind of adventure that builds self reliance and character, I see that now."

In 2007 while living in America, her best friend roped her into volunteering to start a farmers' market. As a self-confessed food snob, it didn't take long before she was very involved in the local food scene and helping to run a small farm that she got certified organic. People loved her beautiful produce and learning how to use and cook with seasonal ingredients in the recipes she developed. Making some of those recipes live on a few local TV shows brought more people to the market and cemented her love for real food, and the local food movement.

It was at this time while working in her full-time job as a photojournalist that she fell in love with video and founded Local Planet Productions in 2009, to help organizations use storytelling to create a better understanding of their mission or services. She's learned her craft from mentors and some of the best documentarians in the USA through the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) professional development workshops held at the University of Syracuse, New York and the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College. She loves learning and improving her skills, and helping others improve theirs. While serving as the NPPA's Regional Chair for New England, she developed a training workshop for visual journalists held at the The Boston Globe headquarters in 2016.

Annalisa is in demand for her ability to develop and deliver projects from the ground up with style and attention to detail. She is constantly thinking how to shape ideas into fresh and visually creative forms. She is a multi-skilled self-shooting Producer/Director who is adept at obtaining access to sensitive contributors and fostering relationships for the duration of the shoot and beyond. Her interviewing style is relaxed and informal, putting the subject at ease in front of the camera whilst gathering the best material possible. With experience in all aspects of story development from concept and copywriting to on-site shoot management and post production edit, she also collaborates with other production houses including Trigger Air and Brand Filmworks on projects.

"What I love the most, is being able to put a human face on some very complex issues. The best compliment I can receive is "She gets us!" because then I've really done my job."

A native of the British Isles, Annalisa is available for assignments anywhere in the world. 

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Let's talk about your project!

Or phone +44 7478 392525 (UK number)

Photo credit: ©2018 Tim Kahane www.kahane.co.uk