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Charles Schwab's Secret to Filmmaking

Live on Zoom - Wednesday, July 29th at 1:00PM PST

Charles Schwab's Kirstin Falk (Managing Director, Brand Activation) and Breakwater Studios' Ben Proudfoot (Director & CEO) have produced a watershed of award-winning short documentaries together for over five years. Join us as they speak about their collaboration for the first time.

Starting in 2015, Kirstin and Ben have successfully formed that unique relationship — the brand to filmmaker bond that produces results. Listen as they take you through their earliest documentary collaborations (through two layers of intermediary agencies), as results, data and awards germinated internal buy-in, culminating recently in an internet video turned national television campaign starring Charles "Chuck" Schwab himself.

Moderated by Sub-Genre's Brian Newman, Kirstin and Ben will discuss the key elements that make their partnership tick, and take a deep dive into the award-winning May Day documentary and surrounding campaign starring the company's founder — unprecedented in the company's history.

Private Showcase for Brand Storytelling Members: (pw: breakwater)


Hosted by

Brian Newman


Sub-Genre Brian Newman consults on content development, distribution and marketing to help connect brands with filmmakers with audiences. Clients include: Patagonia, REI, IBM, Yeti Coolers, New York Times, Shopify Studios, Stripe, Unilever, and Zero Point Zero. Brian is the producer of The Outside Story (Tribeca Film Festival, 2020), and Love & Taxes, and executive producer of Shored Up. Brian has served as CEO of the Tribeca Film Institute, and is the founder of the Brand/Foundation Alliance.


Ben Proudfoot

Founder & CEO

Breakwater Studios

Ben Proudfoot is the creative force behind Breakwater Studios, an award-winning film production company based in Los Angeles. The studio is headquartered in the Los Feliz building where Walt Disney started his company in 1923. Proudfoot gets his inspiration from the master of dreamers and aims to build a new studio model that replicates the mastery and quality of Disney productions while incorporating the brand vision of companies looking to engage with forward-thinking consumers.

A leader in the short documentary space, Proudfoot has directed and produced over 50 noteworthy short documentaries for some of the world’s most admired brands, including Charles Schwab and Annapurna Pictures. Breakwater’s most recent project for The New York Times is Almost Famous, a series of short films for their Op Docs series featuring people who nearly made history.

Proudfoot was recently named one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 for his leadership and innovation in the brand-funded documentary space. Breakwater’s work has been recognized by The Webby Awards, Raindance Web Fest, the Atlantic Film Festival, and the Idyllwild Cinemafest, among others. During the pandemic, he has pioneered a remote method of filming subjects called SIP, which gives him the ability to get up close and personal with his interview subjects while never actually being in the same room.

Proudfoot hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia and is a graduate of University of Southern California. He is an accomplished sleight-of-hand magician and loves his pup. Learn more at Breakwater Studios.

Kirstin Falk

Managing Director, Brand Activation

Charles Schwab

Kirstin M. Falk is the Managing Director of Brand Activation at Charles Schwab. Kirstin is passionate about building modern marketing organizations and finding fresh ways to emotionally connect people to the brands they love. Kirstin’s team is responsible for piloting emerging digital opportunities that amplify Schwab’s narrative. She has built an award-winning brand storytelling program that was most recently featured in PR Week’s Brand Storytelling Awards. Kirstin graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with honors in Political Science.


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