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.

WHAT WE DO

Sky Films Inc. produces moving documentaries on significant topics and insures they find a wide audience.

After decades of specializing in international productions for worldwide companies such as Coca-Cola, GE and IBM, James Tusty and Maureen (Mo) Castle Tusty decided in 2008 to fully dedicate their time to documentary films on topics that inform and uplift. They sold their first production company Mountain View Group, Ltd. and founded Sky Films Inc.

Their first collaborative project was The Singing Revolution. This feature documentary tells the moving and remarkable story of Estonia’s non-violent march to freedom after enduring over fifty years of a brutal Soviet occupation.

Compared to the power of Casablanca by the New York Times, The Singing Revolution was one of the most successful feature documentaries of 2008. Using unique 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.

Sky Films Inc. has produced multiple full length documentary films for television broadcast. Their films have played in theaters across North America, been broadcast nationally and internationally, and are distributed into schools across the U.S.

Their films include:

  • India Awakes
    In the past 25 years, India cut the amount of people in poverty in half.  250 million people moved themselves and their families out of extreme poverty. How did this happen and what can we learn from their growth? India Awakes follows the lives of three families that exemplify this transformation. The film aired nationally on U. S. Public Television in 2015, and was screened with panel discussions at numerous universities across the countryin conjunction with the Embassy of India, U.S. An educational version has been distributed to middle and high schools across the U.S.
  • To Breathe as One
    More than a song festival, Laulupidu is “an Estonian miracle that at least twice in history gave freedom to this country.” To Breathe As One explores the beauty and meaning of the UNESCO World Heritage choral festival through the eyes of the young members of the California-based Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, one of the few American choirs invited to participate. Learning difficult songs — all in Estonian — the youngsters prepare for months and then set off to join the many thousands from around the world who gather every five years in Tallinn, Estonia to sing . To Breathe As One was successfully released in both Estonia and the U.S.
  • Corporate Welfare: Where’s the Outrage?
    Big business often does not support open and free markets. Rather, it sometimes looks for all-too-willing politicians to find public sector cash and other benefits to give their own company an unearned competitive advantage. Typically, small & medium business owners and America’s middle class are left to pay the price. This film takes viewers across the U.S. to learn about agricultural subsidies, tax increment financing, retail chain store tax breaks, and petro-chemical property tax breaks. From well intentioned subsidies that do more harm than good to the favoritism and mismanagement displayed during the 2008 financial crash, this film explores the importance of big business-government separation, whether on the local or federal level. To be released on Public Television in late 2021.

Sky Films most recent project in development is a documentary entitled She Rises Up. She Rises Up is a feature documentary film that will tell the stories of inspiring women who are pulling themselves and their families out of extreme poverty. While over a billion people have come out of extreme poverty in the last 25 years, many women remain trapped without equal access to economic opportunities and legal rights.

She Rises Up will explore the explosive implications of women’s economic participation as we meet individual women in the midst of dramatic change. This film will share powerful methods that work toward the eradication of extreme poverty in our world. She Rises Up is planned for theatrical release in fall, 2022, including a robust PR and promotion campaign.

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
Forget those reality shows where budding inventors and entrepreneurs compete at begging celebrities to endorse and invest in them; PBS has the real story of smart, gutsy determined people who built their companies from the ground up and brought jobs and hope to their families and communities. In the one-hour documentary ``Economic Freedom in Action: Changing Lives``, directors James Tusty and Maureen Castle Tusty profile five people in four corners of the globe who did what they were told was impossible.”
— Examiner.com
``The Singing Revolution`` is an undeniably important film.”
— Chicago Tribune

If a tree falls in the woods, but no one is there to hear it…then 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. chooses the best distribution vehicle and then executes on the strategy with each of its films.

Sky Films has successful experience with theatrical releases, Public Television releases, commercial television releases and educational releases.

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, they became 50% partners in New Visions Worldwide Distribution, Inc in 2013 (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.

``India Awakes” reveals the enormous power of unlocking human potential and ambition, and how doing so, could establish this country as a preeminent world leader.
— University of Chicago
Even if you think chorale music is not your bag, the performances at Laulupidu seen in ``To Breathe As One`` will make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. You can literally hear one hundred fifty years of tumultuous history crescendoing in triumph over their Czarist and Communist Oppressors. It is also a timely reminder of the precariousness of liberty, particularly in light of Putin’s expansionist ambitions.”
— JB SPINS blog
“It’s one of the most inspirational and powerful documentaries I’ve ever seen.”
— ``Reel Talk`` review of ``The Singing Revolution``

FILMS

WHO WE ARE

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/business 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. 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.

Jim sold his company in 2008 to two long-standing employees, and established Sky Films Incorporated with Maureen. Returning to his filmmaker roots, Sky Films released its 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 hundreds of millions of press impressions and reached 125 North American theatrical markets, almost unheard of for a feature documentary.
  • 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.
  • On the Board of Advisors for The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group, a national consulting firm that creates inclusive, collaborative workplaces.

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).

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”. 

MAUREEN (MO) 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 more than 50 countries around the world, resulting in 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, Sweden: Lessons for America?, and Corporate Welfare: Where’s the Outrage?.

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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 over fifty countries around the world
  • 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.
  • Mo is also a NYS licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator, assisting inured & orphaned wildlife with the goal of returning them back to the wild. She’s also a trained wildlife tracker and after a fresh snowfall can often be found scouring the woods on the mountain where she lives with her family.

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

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