OUR FOUNDER

Meet Joe 

MY STORYTELLING JOURNEY 

Everyone has a story, but very few have the opportunity to tell it. As a professional filmmaker, I have witnessed firsthand the various stories people tell. Whether it is a wedding, company, or documentary film project, I have realized how unique each individual story can be. My artistic abilities allow me to connect with my subjects on a deeper level as I begin to view their special moments, ideas, visions, through their perspective.

Joseph M. Smith, Toronto, CA

FINDING PURPOSE

MY CURIOSITY & LOVE FOR PEOPLE

Stories help me understand what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. Helping people through filmmaking is something I enjoy doing and to me, it’s more than a job, it’s my calling. I am fortunate to utilize my gifts as a filmmaker to give my clients a platform to share their stories. The films I make cause a chain reaction that not only makes a difference in my client’s life, but also to the audience impacted.  The many successes of the brands and non-profit charity video campaigns I have worked on is so rewarding and motivates me to continue filmmaking as a digital storyteller.Y

Ben's Passion

Walter's Passion

MY CONNECTION TO NATURE 

Growing up in a forest-lined neighborhood, I connected with nature. As an adult, I discovered the world through my travels. It’s hard to sit back and witness the destruction of our environment and the problems that are caused by climate change.


I hope through the film work can help make an impact on others who want a more natural solution. Because of my love for the planet and the living things on it and my own health, I am devoting most of my efforts to helping solve the problems facing agribusiness and climate change. I want to educate people to eat more plant-base and help farmers develop new sustainable farming techniques. I want to inspire people to reduce climate change and help those who are suffering from poor health to overcome their struggles.

THE DEEPER CONNECTION

In the backyard of my home I have a forest, and it was the ideal natural playground. I could climb trees and discover wild animals. Life was free, and the world around me felt comfortable and familiar. Though as we all know, every kid must follow society’s systems, like school – which can be very rigid at times.

This is a story about how I lost touch with the world and became more connected to it.

I was born in the 90s, when social media wasn’t yet widespread. The environment I grew up in allowed me to connect easily with people and enjoy life without distractions. 

Human connections are important to me because I’m very close with my family of eight siblings. I would be surrounded by different types of people, specifically because all sorts of family friends were coming over to hang out or jam at my place for my brother’s band. And being half-Italian, our family gatherings usually involved lots of people, food, dancing and music.

I am sure things have changed since I was in school but during my time the teachers would place me into special classrooms because I couldn’t keep up with the rest of my classmates, and this made me feel separated from my peers. I felt different and embarrassed, so I started to become ashamed of my situation. This caused me to distant myself from others at school, which created an identity crisis and interrupted my ability to relate to my classmates. 

 

My lack of acceptance of who I was, led me toward a group of people with whom I felt that I could belong. These were other kids who also didn’t feel accepted by the system (misfit rebels). As time went on, I became more rebellious – which led to my getting in trouble at school quite often. My mother decided to homeschool me for two years worried that I was going down the wrong rabbit whole.

I went back to elementary school in grade 8, but nothing really changed. My bad behavior continued. It got to a point where I began pushing my friends and family away from my life since they could no longer relate to me and my crazy lifestyle. It was a long time of disconnecting with people I used to share good values with even though I always tried to carry it with me even in my rebellious child stages. It was a battle between the two worlds that collided in me.

DEFINITION OF REBEL CHILD: 

A rebel child is a person who rebels against the perceived authority, rules and established social order of his or her culture. They do this by exhibiting behavior that goes against what is acceptable. 

 

There are many things I would like to turn back time and change, but not my friendship with the misfit rebels. My parents tried to protect me from the real world as parents usually do, but I still found ways to learn for myself. My path and connections as a rebel helped me discover that a lot of people didn’t live as I did. Unfortunately, I saw a lot of my friends go through bad situations involving their homes and witnessing child abuse, alcholic parents, racial groups and more.

 

What I hated the most was that I couldn’t help my friends who were going through hard times. I remember when I tried to intervene, but it didn’t make a difference. I remember, my friend and I were playing video games in his basement as his father stumbled downstairs drunk. He started hitting his son for no reason I could understand and my friend told me to go home as he was being beaten, and tears were running down his face. My efforts for his father to stop hurting him failed. This failure meant that I couldn’t do anything for him.

 

It’s incredibly difficult to see someone in such a vulnerable position and feeling helpless to do anything about it, and that their circumstances took control of them and their futures. It was heart-breaking to see how some were never able to break free and soon after falling into gangs, drug addictions, or jail which for me were boundaries I couldn’t cross.

 

Although I enjoyed my rebellious stage of my life, it had a negative effect on my reputation and my plans for my future. I decided to take another path and turn my back on the rebellious world. I have been a hard worker ever since the age of 14. I got my first job at an industrial drywall company that was owned by my neighbor. It wasn’t the perfect career path for me but it was something I can survive on. I’ve always known that construction was not what I wanted to do. I still wanted to be in an industry where I could work hard but instead come home clean for a change.

I wanted to continue to shape myself into a person of my own. But, I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I turned 21, when I quit the construction life and decided on a new career path. My girlfriend at the time dragged me to various photoshoots. I helped her in  photography by shooting portraits of friends and events that helped me find my creative side. My decision to go to college for Digital Media Art pushed me to meet new people and go out in the world to make new discoveries. My passion for filmmaking didn’t come until I decided to assist my brother’s music video called “I Have Your Your Touch” which I helped shoot as a favor. I ended up working with my brother’s production company for a few years. Eventually, I would launch my own company, enjoying the creative freedom of a small business. I’ve always had this entrepreneur trait that my father instilled in me. He was an entrepreneur at heart and had many businesses over the years. I learned from his experiences and took initiative to start my own business. 

My rebellious lifestyle was only because of my disconnect with society’s system. However, for many others, it’s a way to mask their pain and suffering for different behind-the-scenes reasons. Learning about these different reasons would be an educational process to all but one to put oneself in their shoes had its own emotional connection to the experience. I was lucky to have a supportive family with positive values to keep me at float, but to be honest, being a rebel can be fun on occasion. During those years, I have learned a lot about different people and the many worlds out there. In fact, it’s what led me to learn more about myself and how to see this world as a multiverse.

 As a child, I took many of the opportunities to discover what life had to offer. I tried out different activities including breakdancing, skateboarding, hockey, taekwondo, music, and travel and took many career paths from construction, factory work, automotive, real estate – until I found my passion for filmmaking.

 

My decision to make documentaries type films stemmed from my experience working for a charity my mother founded. During this time, I was helping out on projects for our gala events and campaigns shooting short documentary films.

 

This gave me a first-hand look at the difficulties that the families of the participants were experiencing A reminder from my rebel misfit days what it’s like to be involved in someone’s world and unable to help.Through my connections with people and the challenges that I faced helping me to understand what it is like to be different, I was able to find my calling in life. By utilizing my talents for filmmaking and storytelling, I can inspire, educate and make a change.

There are many things I would like to turn back time and change, but not my friendship with the misfit rebels. My parents tried to protect me from the real world as parents usually do, but I still found ways to learn for myself. My path and connections as a rebel helped me discover that a lot of people didn’t live as I did. Unfortunately, I saw a lot of my friends go through bad situations involving their homes and witnessing child abuse, alcholic parents, racial groups and more.

 

What I hated the most was that I couldn’t help my friends who were going through hard times. I remember when I tried to intervene, but it didn’t make a difference. I remember, my friend and I were playing video games in his basement as his father stumbled downstairs drunk. He started hitting his son for no reason I could understand and my friend told me to go home as he was being beaten, and tears were running down his face. My efforts for his father to stop hurting him failed. This failure meant that I couldn’t do anything for him.

 

It’s incredibly difficult to see someone in such a vulnerable position and feeling helpless to do anything about it, and that their circumstances took control of them and their futures. It was heart-breaking to see how some were never able to break free and soon after falling into gangs, drug addictions, or jail which for me were boundaries I couldn’t cross.

 

Although I enjoyed my rebellious stage of my life, it had a negative effect on my reputation and my plans for my future. I decided to take another path and turn my back on the rebellious world. I have been a hard worker ever since the age of 14. I got my first job at an industrial drywall company that was owned by my neighbor. It wasn’t the perfect career path for me but it was something I can survive on. I’ve always known that construction was not what I wanted to do. I still wanted to be in an industry where I could work hard but instead come home clean for a change.

What jump-started me into telling stories on a deeper level was when I started to create my first documentary film. My mother asked me to film her story about giving birth to a dying child born with trisomy 13. Her friend had asked if she could use her story for a conference she was doing with a group of mothers. We had captured her story a few times but we decided to make the film more professional, and the result exceeded our expectations. After the good reviews from our family and  friends, I decided to turn my short film into my first official feature length film. The film is called Amazing Grace: Story of Sara Elizabeth – A mother ripped away from hope finds her calling, after giving birth to a dying child with trisomy 13.  

I have built my identity and future by nurturing myself through the many sides of life. I’ve found that my love for traveling, I can learn about people from many cultures, which helps me to continue to develop deeper connections. My journey in film has shown me human connection can also be found in storytelling.  It’s my passion to tell stories and help people through my talent of filmmaking. So I’m following it all the way, in a quest to connect with people from all walks of life. I love the world through storytelling that lets me dive into other people’s lives.

Although I enjoyed my rebellious stage of my life, it had a negative effect on my reputation and my plans for my future. I decided to take another path and turn my back on the rebellious world. I have been a hard worker ever since the age of 14. I got my first job at an industrial drywall company that was owned by my neighbor. It wasn’t the perfect career path for me but it was something I can survive on. I’ve always known that construction was not what I wanted to do. I still wanted to be in an industry where I could work hard but instead come home clean for a change.

For more information about Dr. Group’s lectures and other upcoming events, visit his website.