SkyFilms Inc | Independent Documentary Film and Television Production
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Sky Films Incorporated creates and distributes documentary theatrical films and broadcast television documentary programs.

Founded by veteran filmmakers Maureen Castle Tusty and James Tusty, Sky Films Inc. develops projects independently, in partnership with other production companies, and on a work-for-hire basis.

Sky Films seeks to share inspirational stories from around the globe that reflect the triumph of the human spirit, and connects these stories with an international audience.

WHAT WE DO

Sky Films Inc. produces moving documentaries on significant topics and gets them seen by a wide audience.

After decades of specializing in international productions for worldwide companies such as Coca-Cola, GE and IBM, James Tusty and Maureen Castle Tusty decided in 2008 to sell their company Mountain View Group, Ltd. and founded Sky Films Inc., a production company dedicated to documentary films. Additionally, they decided to work on their documentary films as partners. (While at Mountain View they rarely worked on projects together.)

Since then, they have produced multiple documentary films that have played in theaters, aired nationally, and produced several educational films for schools. But that’s not the amazing thing. Despite this output, we are happy to report that Jim and Maureen remain happily married. In fact, they are stronger for it.

Their first documentary project collaboration was The Singing Revolution. This feature documentary film tells the moving story of Estonia’s non-violent march to freedom after enduring over fifty years of a brutal Soviet occupation. Massive singing demonstrations played a pivotal role in these historical events. The Singing Revolution tells the story of one country’s undeniable thirst for self-determination and its unshakable belief in what it means to be free—to be Estonian.

Compared to Casablanca by the New York Times, The Singing Revolution was one of the most successful feature documentaries of 2008. Using unique web and niche marketing strategies, the film played theatrically in 125 North American markets, and was later cited as one of five “maverick” films changing the independent film industry by the New York Times.

In late 2009, it was released as a DVD. In its first three months, over 2,500 orders came in. For a documentary film, that’s a lot, and thousands more have since been ordered.

In 2011, The Singing Revolution aired nationally on Public Television. In 2016, it was rereleased on Public Television and was aired in almost 70% of the country as a rerun.

In 2011, the film was also released to U.S. high schools along with 25 lesson plans for use of the film in a variety of classes, including Art, Social Studies, Music and English. The educational version has been used by over 10,000 schools.
It is estimated that The Singing Revolution has now been seen in its entirety by well over 10 million people, and has touched over 400 million people who have come across some slice of the film or its publicity.

Since The Singing Revolution, Sky Films Inc. has produced multiple full length documentary films for television broadcast: India Awakes, To Breathe as One, Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives and Trailblazers: The New Zealand Story (to be released in 2017).

Sky Films Inc. can take a project from initial concept to development and fundraising, through the film production (most often international), and then put the film before an audience.

Imagine the scene in Casablanca in which the French patrons sing 'La Marseillaise' in defiance of the Germans, then multiply its power by a factor of thousands, and you've only begun to imagine the force of The Singing Revolution.``
— The New York Times
The Singing Revolution is an undeniably important film.”
— Chicago Tribune
India has already become a global economic engine. But the nation won’t reach its potential until it bridges the notorious gaps that separate the rich, the poor and the ever-growing middle class, says a public television documentary India Awakes.”
— USA Today

If a tree falls in the woods, but no one is there to hear it…the distribution failed to create an audience for the tree.

Sky Films is dedicated not only to the creation of moving, inspirational stories, but ensuring that the stories are shared as widely as possible.

One of the unique aspects of Sky Films Inc. is its dedication to insuring distribution for all its productions. A colleague of Jim and Maureen’s once said, “The problem with most independent filmmakers is that they think their job is done when the film is finished. In fact, the business proposition has just begun.”

Jim and Maureen take this to heart. They believe in the content of their films (that includes their work-for-hire films), and they want to maximize audience exposure. Documentaries will rarely achieve pop culture distribution standards, but it is very possible to reach millions of viewers with a strategic distribution plan. Sky Films Inc. works towards that goal with each of its films.

Sky Films has successful experience with theatrical releases, Public Television releases, commercial television releases and educational releases. Every film released has reached a minimum of 70% of U.S. TV households.

Sky Films projects usually include educational institution distribution, and some have included the publication and release of companion books.

As part of Sky Film’s dedication to distribution, in 2013 they became 50% partners in New Visions Worldwide Distribution, Inc. (NVWD). NVWD has distributed over 250 programs on commercial television in its 35-year history, and since becoming a business partner Sky Films Inc. has taken part in the distribution of a dozen more programs.

This varied distribution experience allows Sky Films Inc. to choose the best distribution vehicle for any given film, and then execute on the strategy.

70

% of U.S. TV households have been reached by every film release

2500

orders for The Singing Revolution with the first 3 months

This service may seem out of place on the Sky Films Inc. website. It’s the result of decades of experience working with some of the largest international corporations in the world. While Sky Films’ primary activity has become documentary films, there is the occasional connection that leads back to Jim and Maureen’s vast experience in corporate consultation and film production.

High-level corporate communications, consultation, and production grew to be a specialty of Jim and Maureen’s former company, Mountain View Group, Ltd. (founded in 1981, purchased by two long-time employees/friends in 2008). For many years, Jim worked at CEO and Senior VP levels for several Fortune 100 companies, and still occasionally practices organizational communications consultation (on a daily, monthly, or annual basis.) For more information about his specialized communications strategies go to: WorkForce Instinct™.

Sky Films can be retained to produce work-for-hire corporate and foundation projects.

Because of our connection with New Visions Worldwide Distribution, Sky Films also has a very unique capability to produce a 30-minute commercial TV program that focuses on a message of strategic interest to a business, air the program(s) nationally (primarily on local ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates and most often on Sundays around the political talk shows like “Meet the Press” and “Face the Nation”), and include national TV spots within the program for a small fraction of the value of that spot airtime. Contact us to learn more about this unique capability.

FILMS

WHO WE ARE

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James Tusty

James Tusty is an independent filmmaker, speaker, and entrepreneur. He is Co-Owner and Co-Filmmaker of Sky Films Inc, along with his wife/partner, Maureen Castle Tusty.

In 1981, Jim founded Mountain View Group, Ltd. and built it into a high-level filmmaking and communications consulting firm that serviced some of the largest companies in the world, including GE, Coca-Cola, and The Home Depot. Jim sold his company in 2008 to two long-standing employees, and established Sky Films Incorporated. While helming Mountain View, he developed WorkForce Instinct™ (WFI), an organizational communications process that drives corporate missions into the gut of the entire organization. Working with senior management, WFI was a communications and motivational tool primarily used during major periods of change, such as CEO transitions.

Returning to his filmmaker roots with Sky Films, Jim and Maureen released their first feature film, The Singing Revolution, in 2008, which was compared to Casablanca by the New York Times, and later was cited by the Times as one of five “maverick” films that were changing the independent film industry due to their creative distribution plan.

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SOME SPECIFIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION

  • The Singing Revolution generated over 300 million press impressions and reached 125 North American theatrical markets, almost unheard of for a cinema art film.
  • Every Sky Films Inc. production has reached a minimum of 70% U.S. TV Households. While documentaries almost never achieve the audience size of a major entertainment release, Sky Films Inc. productions have been seen by millions of people.

CORPORATE PRODUCTION

  • Developed a corporate alignment video series for Coca-Cola that resulted in 91% of employees reporting the series useful, 88% reporting they learned something new about their company, and 80% reporting feeling more connected to their colleagues worldwide.
  • Executive produced a fifteen-part series on free markets for Hungarian television immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Funded by the World Bank, the series was broadcast nationally as well as made available through universities to help Hungary make the transition from a command economy to a free market economy. Some new Hungarian economic terms had to be created for the series.
  • Selected as a “Top 100 Producer” in the U.S. in 1997 and 1999 by AV Video and Multimedia Producer magazine for his corporate work.
  • Executive produced, produced, and/or directed over 100 programs and TV commercials for GE, IBM, Coca-Cola, The National Basketball Association, The New York Yankees, and various state and federal agencies while owner of Mountain View Group, Ltd.
  • Mountain View won over 150 national and international awards for its work from 1981-2008.

BUSINESS

  • Was an early investor and board member for the company that produced Pappyland, a how-to-draw show for kids. Named a “Top Ten Kids TV Show” by TV Guide in 1996, the series went on to phenomenal success at both PBS and The Learning Channel (an early example of “dual carriage”) and became the number one show on TLC’s children’s block in the 1990s.
  • Was part of a four-person committee for The Coca-Cola Company that consulted on its 15-year vision and mission in 2004/2005.
  • Developed employee recruitment, retention, and motivational strategies for the opening of Home Depot, Manhattan. The challenge was taking a suburban/country do-it-yourself brand into the most urbane setting in the world.
  • Worked closely with senior executives of GE Energy for over twenty years on internal and external communications issues.
  • On the Board of Advisors for Hudson Partners Development http://hpdevelopment.net, a real estate company that focuses on residential real estate in secondary and tertiary markets.

OTHER

  • Was President of the International Quorum of Motion Picture Producers and was President of the New York City chapter of the International Television Association. He has sat on numerous non-profit boards.
  • Guest Instructor for the Media School, Tallinn University, Estonia. With his wife Maureen, they taught advanced film production courses in 1999 and 2001. Many of their former students have taken key positions in the Baltic media community.
  • Has been a public speaker on topics ranging from corporate alignment to employee motivation to entrepreneurship to presentations on the subject matters of his films (such as the Singing Revolution).
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James Tusty receiving the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana award from President Toomas Ilves for special services provided to the Republic of Estonia.  In recognition for his work on the film “The Singing Revolution”. 

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MAUREEN CASTLE TUSTY

Maureen (Mo) Castle Tusty is co-owner and the primary creative director and film director for Sky Films Inc. She was co-filmmaker with her husband/partner, Jim Tusty, on The Singing Revolution, which was the first project they produced together. Her documentary films have been seen in theaters, on Public Television, and in classrooms across the country.

Previously, as Senior Producer, Maureen was responsible for many of the award-winning corporate and educational films at Mountain View Group, Ltd., their former company. She has produced films in dozens of countries around the world, and has developed a particular expertise in international production. She continues to occasionally produce and direct high-profile corporate and commercial work for Mountain View Group.

Maureen was the primary director/researcher on the Sky Films productions of To Breathe as One, India Awakes, Changing Lives: Economic Freedom in Action, and Trailblazers: the New Zealand Story.

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NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Has produced and/or directed a variety of production genres (commercial, documentary and corporate) often integrating US and local crews in China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, Great Britain, Scotland, France, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Romania, Zambia, Equatorial Guinea, India, New Zealand, Canada, U.S.
  • Producer of the broadcast documentary The Natural Corridor, a 90-minute film on the history of transportation in New York State from ancient to modern times for Public Television broadcast and distribution in schools.
  • Produced and managed all viral PR, promotion and web activity for The Singing Revolution, integrated with the overall distribution plan.
  • Producer/Director for a high-profile corporate film on Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydropower project, and produced a high-profile corporate film on wind energy, featuring what will be Europe’s largest on-shore wind farm located in Romania.
  • Guest Instructor for the Media School, Tallinn University, Estonia. With her husband, Jim, they taught advanced film production courses in 1999 and 2001. Many of their former students have taken key positions in the Baltic media community.
  • Currently Maureen sits on the Board of Directors of the International Quorum of Motion Picture Producers (IQ) as Vice President of Conferences.
  • Maureen is also a trained wildlife tracker and after a fresh snowfall can often be found scouring the woods on the mountain where they live.
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Maureen Castle Tusty receiving the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana award from President Toomas Ilves for special services provided to the Republic of Estonia. In recognition for her work on the film “The Singing Revolution”.

CONTACT US

Email:
info@skyfilmsinc.com

Main Office/Mailing Address:
45 Teal Road, Averill Park, NY 12018
518-674-1630

New York City Office:
45 Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 2000
New York, NY 10111