Writer/director Michael Stern was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1982. With roots in the music industry, he has directed over fifty music videos for artists including Julian Lennon. His recent work won a 2018 Regional Emmy Award. He is a 2012 recipient of the AMD Visionary Director award, as chosen by noted director Robert Rodriguez, and his 2012 film adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Berenice” has won multiple festival awards.
Michael D. Stern (born March 3, 1982) is an American writer and director of films, television shows, and music videos as well as a music producer. He was born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, New York. As young as eight years old he knew he had creative inclinations, learning how to splice VHS tapes together to make his own edits of videos.
Stern attended Comsewogue High School in Port Jefferson Station. He played guitar in a band, Blind Archer, which had serious record-label aspirations, and built its own music production studio to record its album. The band even gigged at famed New York City venue CBGB the week before it shut its doors. But as the music industry began changing in the early 2000s, so, too, did Stern’s creative aspirations. He began producing music videos for local, independent artists, and found he had a talent for the artistry of filmmaking.
A highlight of Stern’s career came in 2009, when he directed a music video for Julian Lennon. Lennon had written the song, “Lucy,” about his childhood friend Lucy Vodden, the girl who inspired the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” Vodden died of lupus in 2009.
In 2012, Stern directed a highly successful adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe short story “Berenice,” which was screened at several film festivals. It won multiple awards, including “Best Drama” at the Cape Fear Independent Festival and “Best Thriller” at the Los Angeles iTV Festival. It also won “Best Long Island Short Film” at the Long Island International Film Expo and was nominated for the Festival Achievement Award at the Stony Brook International Film Festival.
The year 2012 was a big one for Stern. He was chosen “Best Director” by the director Robert Rodriguez (“Sin City”) in that year’s Visionary Director contest held by AMD. Also in 2012, Stern was a founder of The Master Shift, a nonprofit peace initiative that began with a simple film he made promoting a global meditation ahead of the Mayan calendar “rapture” that was reportedly to take place that year on December 21. The meditation had one million participants and a nonprofit organization was formed to continue the efforts. A second film made for The Master Shift, “The Ghost of Earth Day,” which Stern describes as “a nonsensical short film with a good message,” garnered 25 million views overnight, until its momentum was interrupted by hackers. Stern stepped away from The Master Shift in 2017 to pursue other creative avenues.
In 2018, an episode of the Fox Sports Detroit TV show “From Glory Days” that Stern directed scored an Emmy win. Later that year, he launched Awakn Studios. Awakn combined Stern’s interest in esoteric philosophy with his specialty in obscure, supernatural, fantasy, science fiction and comedy genres in a way that he said “will enlighten audiences with entertainment that explores metaphysical and otherworldly topics.”
Stern, based between New York and Los Angeles, continues to produce, write, shoot and edit both his own original content and acclaimed projects for collaborators as well.