About Warrior Films

“Bearing Witness, Creating Change”

We produce complex, motivational, and inspiring documentary films. We make independent films about human struggle and solutions to the world’s problems: Everyday people finding ways to overcome oppressive socio-economic barriers. Most known for creating  HOOP DREAMS in association with Kartemquin Films, we tell transformational stories that transform lives. Though we specialize in stories of the poor, youth, people of color, the dispossessed… each story is issue specific. We go worldwide to tell the right story. Our last feature length film, JOURNEY FROM ZANSKAR is set in Zanskar, India. Our last short film is about the necessity of providing healthy RITES OF PASSAGE for teens to attain mature adulthood.  We will soon begin production on a film about returning US combat veterans getting the healing they deserve through VETERANS JOURNEY HOME. We’re changing the world… one story at a time.

About Our Name

Warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another life. The warrior is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of humanity.       Sitting Bull

Warriors, warriors we call ourselves. We fight for splendid virtue, for high endeavor, for sublime wisdom, therefore we call ourselves warriors.       Aunguttara Nikaya

Challenge calls out the warrior in a man, the one who tests, hones, and refines himself through his encounters with difficult or unusual conditions.  Challenge as such is more than a cocktail of testosterone, adrenaline, and manning-up pressures; more than a shame-driven opportunity to validate or showcase our manliness; and more than something done to meet someone else’s standards.    Robert Augustus Masters, from his book To Be A Man

To be a spiritual warrior one must have a broken heart;
without a broken heart and the sense of tenderness and vulnerability,
your warriorship is untrustworthy.
Chogyan Trungpa Rinpoche

Warrior Films Mission Statement

Through filmmaking and teaching, Warrior Films bears witness to social realities, inspiring citizens worldwide to create needed social change.

About Filmmaker Frederick Marx + Headshots

Frederick Marx – Director, Producer

Frederick Marx shooting in snowy mountainsFrederick Marx Headshot 1 
Frederick Marx Headshot 2

A major talent in American filmmaking. All his work is imbued with power, intelligence, social concern, and utter dedication.                                                       

Gerry Richman, Program Director, KTCA-TV (PBS)

Frederick Marx is an internationally acclaimed, Oscar and Emmy nominated director/writer with 40 years in the film business. He was named a Chicago Tribune Artist of the Year, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a recipient of a Robert F. Kennedy Special Achievement Award. His film HOOP DREAMS played in hundreds of theatres nationwide after winning the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was the first documentary ever chosen to close the New York Film Festival. It was on over 100 “Ten Best” lists nationwide and was named Best Film of the Year by critics Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, Gene Shalit, and Ken Turran and by the Chicago Film Critics Association. Ebert also named it Best Film of the Decade. It is one of the highest grossing non-musical documentaries in United States history.

It has won numerous prestigious awards, including an Academy Nomination (Best Editing), Producer’s Guild, Editor’s Guild (ACE), Peabody Awards, the Prix Italia (Europe’s top documentary prize) and The National Society of Film Critics Award. The New York, Boston, LA, and San Francisco Film Critics all chose it as Best Documentary, 1994. Utne Reader named it one of 150 of humanity’s “essential works,” and the Library of Congress recently added it to its prestigious National Film Registry, and the International Documentary Association named it “The Best Documentary of All Time.” HOOP DREAMS (1994) is the film that first interested Marx in the welfare of teenage boys. BOYS TO MEN? (2004) distributed by Media Education Foundation takes that as its central theme. RITES OF PASSAGE: MENTORING THE FUTURE is the culmination, offering solutions.

In 1993, Marx received an Emmy nomination for HIGHER GOALS (1992) for Best Daytime Children’s Special. Producer, Director, and Writer for this national PBS Special, Marx directed Tim Meadows of “Saturday Night Live” fame. Accompanied by a curriculum guide, the program was later distributed for free to over 4,200 inner city schools nationwide. THE UNSPOKEN (1999), Marx’s first feature film, features stellar performances from Russian star Sergei Shnirev of the famed Moscow Art Theatre, and Harry Lennix, most known for GET ON THE BUS, BOB ROBERTS, TITUS, ER, and MATRIX. A hobbyist songwriter, in 1991 Marx recorded a number of his songs collectively known as ROLLING STEEL. Two of those 11 songs are used over THE UNSPOKEN tail credits and one is used in BOYS TO MEN?. THE UNSPOKEN and ROLLING STEEL are available through this website.

Having worked for a time as an English and creative writing teacher, Marx began his movie career as a film critic, and has worked both as a film distributor and exhibitor. He has also traveled extensively. He’s lived in Germany, China, and Hungary. He’s traveled repeatedly through Western and Eastern Europe, North Africa and Himalayan India. With a B.A. in Political Science and an MFA in filmmaking, Marx has coupled his formal education with a natural gift for languages, speaking German and some Mandarin-Chinese. His interest in languages and foreign cultures is reflected in PBS’ international human rights program OUT OF THE SILENCE (1991), the widely acclaimed personal essay DREAMS FROM CHINA (1989), and Learning Channel’s SAVING THE SPHINX (1997). He consulted on Iranian-Kurdish director Bahman Ghobadi’s feature TURTLES CAN FLY (2004) and was a teacher of renowned Thai feature filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Three of Marx’s films premiered at the New York Film Festival. His films are distributed throughout the web, on Amazon, and elsewhere. Having dedicated his life to the making and promotion of independent films, Marx, a true maverick in the increasingly commercialized world of “independent cinema,” continues to provide a voice of artistic and social integrity. He repeatedly returns to work with disadvantaged and misunderstood communities: people of color, abused children, the working poor, welfare recipients, prisoners, the elderly, and “at risk” youth. He brings a passion for appreciating multiculturalism and an urgent empathy for the sufferings of the disadvantaged to every subject he tackles. As his mission statement indicates (“Bearing witness, creating change”), his is a voice strong and clear, and profoundly human.

Warrior Films Purpose Statement

We live in dangerous times. We ask ourselves who or what is going to change things for the better. I ask myself that. And the answer that comes back loud and clear for me is I have to. I have to take the lead, to play my part, in making this world a better place. And it’s going to take the energy and passion and commitment of a warrior to do it.                                                       
I wrote those words at the time I founded Warrior Films, in the wake of 9-11. I worried that those words, written for my business plan, were hyperbole. Now, in 2017, I wonder if they’re strong enough.

The world seems to be collapsing around us. People are more and more fearful. Governments are becoming more and more reactionary, exclusionary, controlling. More and more people are exiled, becoming refugees, yet borders are harder and harder to cross. Global environmental collapse seems imminent – melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels, too much rain and flooding in some areas, desertification in many others, hurricanes, even man-made earthquakes. Man-made institutions seem increasingly vulnerable to the power mad. Those institutions seem unwilling or unable to mobilize for the greater good.

The response to me is clear. We need to build and strengthen sustainable local communities. Each individual community needs to insure its own sustainable food, shelter, and water supplies, and build cooperative networks to provide education, medical care, and defense. Survivalists in the wild, no matter how big their landholdings or well stocked their arms, can’t do this. Not in isolation. It’s not sustainable. Real sustainability requires unprecedented cooperation. Only in numbers will anyone be safe. The silos most of us have learned to live our lives in as “autonomous” “self-interested” “consumers” will bury us alive. So many of the values that have “made America great” are not sustainable over time: individualism, “winner take all,” and “The American Dream” – the nuclear family, a stand-alone home full of consumer goods, two cars… We must move away from these values quickly and consciously to form meaningful win-win partnerships at every level with everyone we possibly can. Nothing is more urgent.

There’s a central idea which we at Warrior Films embrace. It’s called generativity. It was first coined by the famed psychologist Erik Erikson in 1950 to denote “a concern for establishing and guiding the next generation.” It can be defined as creativity between the generations. Generativity can be expressed in literally hundreds of ways, from raising a child to stopping a tradition of abuse, from writing a family history to starting a new organization. One can try to “make a difference” with one’s life, to “give back,” to “take care” of one’s community and one’s planet. (From John Kotre)

How will Warrior Films contribute to this transition? We’ll do it by informing people of the cultural practices required to sustain community. We’ll do it by continuing to promote rites of passage and mentorship for every human being, every community, and every institution. We’ll do it by educating people about mature masculinity and why it may be the single greatest necessity of our time. Immature men seek power to devour and destroy; mature men live in service to create and sustain. We’ll do it through films, public talks, teaching, writing, and convening public gatherings. That’s what Warrior Films does.

We all stand on the shoulders of our grandfathers and grandmothers. The lives we lead are in many ways products of the dreams they had for our lives – the self-sacrifice and devotion. The cultural practices they leave for us are their bequest too. Mentorship, rites of passage, values, rituals, myths and stories, morals and ethics, practices of the mature masculine… these are the gifts of the past enriching our human birthright. Our task in our lifetime is to recognize and honor them, perhaps tweaking them slightly before blessing them on their way, furthering their advance through time. In this way we empower people with the knowledge and tools of generativity.

There’s actually something terribly encouraging about the old world dying. The old paradigm is in its last gasp and knows it – hence what we’re seeing around the world with Brexit, Trump, ISIS, and worldwide reactionary behaviors. Ugly views and behaviors have come out of the shadows. People are stricken with fear so they project that fear on to those they deem responsible for the changes. They are desperate to hold on to what they can of the past. That desperation signals the absolute imminence of the changes to come.

Just as the boy is father to the man, the decisions we make now will determine the future we inhabit. We have the possibility to turn the systems that enslave us into museum artifacts. Not by resisting them, which tends to make them stronger, but by going Aikido or Zen on them, feeling others’ pain, commiserating with them, and quietly inviting them into a future that serves all, them included.

I’m reminded of Allen Ginsberg’s 1968 appearance on William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line” TV show, a man with whom he had nothing in common. He didn’t talk politics or social change. Ginsberg read a poem, then played the harmonium and sang “Hare Krishna.” Once he got past his condescension, Buckley actually became moved and tears began forming in his eyes. This is the path forward, singing the songs of the future, to help call them into being. This is what Warrior Films does.

We are mature men and mature women operating from awareness as we sit together to create solutions to shared problems for the benefit of all. We stand for uplifting the mature masculine to become the social norm.  We stand for a world of men and women as true political, civil, and social equals, where human beings are earmarked for development as our greatest natural resource, not Earth’s store of abundance, where each human being fulfills their greatest potential and offers their gifts freely to the community, where differences of race, culture, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age, and gender become opportunities for celebrating diversity, where human beings cooperate to sustain the natural world around them which so abundantly sustains us, where fulfillment comes in seeing how our actions positively impact all those around us and joy is recognized as its natural byproduct. That’s what Warrior Films stands for and we invite you to stand with us.

You can help Warrior Films create sustainable communities!
– Donate to our cause (cash, frequent flyer miles, hosting your own fundraiser)
– Volunteer on a future project
– Serve on our board
– Host home screenings of our films
– Join our Solidarity Network
– Spread the word far and wide (social media, email, tell your friends, etc.)

When you help Warrior Films, you help the world at large. Your actions help us write and produce the “songs” (films, blogs, speeches, workshops, books, public appearances and gatherings), which we can then “sing” together. Collectively, we can realize this vision and usher in a new way of being.

Frederick Marx, Director

Meet Our Board of Directors

Frederick Marx, Creative Director & Founder

Frederick MarxFrederick Marx is most known as a Producer, Director, Writer, and Editor with 35 years in the film and television business. His latest film Journey from Zanskar, called “Heartbreaking… [It] shines a light on a place and a way of life that are rapidly changing,” by the NY Times, is now in worldwide distribution. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Hoop Dreams – also named “Best Documentary of All Time” by the Intl. Documentary Association and “Best Film of the 1990s” by Roger Ebert. Having premiered three of his films at the New York Film Festival, Marx has screened his films at the world’s most prestigious festivals and venues and garnered many international awards, including Chicago Tribune Artist of the Year, Village Voice Sports Journalist of the Year, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Robert F. Kennedy Special Achievement Award.

Milan Martin

Milan is a decisive global business leader and creative marketer with a history of creating growth and success in both large enterprise and entrepreneurial environments. For the past decade, Milan has held executive-level positions across two continents, leading large-scale client engagements for dozens of Fortune 50 brands in addition to driving business growth for the agencies for which he has worked.  Most recently, Milan led Grey SF through a significant turn-around and to the most successful time in its history. Under Milan’s leadership, Grey San Francisco was recognized as one of the fastest growing, most creatively awarded agencies on the West Coast. Taking home top honors at festivals including Effies, Cannes, OneShows and D&AD, in addition to the business results achieved for Grey’s clients were all factors in the Agency being named as Global Agency of the Year three years running.

John Crary

John Crary began his career over 30 years ago in investment banking and as a banking and start-up investor for several technology based ventures. Today he devotes most of his energy to non-profit organizations, such as the Sustainable Preservation Initiative and other organizations that aim to promote social healing, skill development and economic growth in communities in need. He and his wife, Barbara, are trustees of The Crary Social Ecology Fund, a small family foundation providing financial support to a few organizations that share these objectives. John is also director of TestBest, LLC, a new venture that seeks to improve access to higher education for young people worldwide.

Holly Million

Holly Million Holly Million received an MA in Education from Stanford University and a BA in English from Harvard University. She has 25 years experience in management and fundraising for organizations, films, and events. In addition to securing funding for “A Story of Healing,” which won a 1997 Academy Award, she has raised money for or consulted on fundraising campaigns for documentary and dramatic films that have aired on PBS, HBO, and other broadcast outlets. She also has 25 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector. Fundraising and filmmaking are two halves of Holly’s personal mission, which is to tell good stories featuring real people and to promote truth and understanding.

Brad Michaels

Brad Michaels, seasoned management consultant with extensive background in the health care/health tech industry. Successfully delivered results to high-profile organizations in over 25 countries, working with startups, global companies (UBS Financial), impact investors and enterprising nonprofits (Zero Divide). Business strategy, business development, strategic planning, project management & implementation, team leadership, client engagement, performance management, business analysis, lean processes, strategic partnerships. “My personal by-line is: “bringing impact”. I most enjoy working with entrepreneurs globally to “get stuff done”. I get motivated by working with people who commit their energies to making the world a better place.

How You Can Join With Us

  • Join our Program Committee:  Program Committee members are supporters of every kind who want to advance Warrior Films’ projects and mission.  By giving input on programs, viewing films and providing feedback, supporting events, helping with communications, assisting with mailings, and many other tasks, members’ volunteer efforts help Warrior Films build and maintain a worldwide network of supporters.
  • Join our Solidarity Network:  Our Network members are luminaries in their respective fields. Their knowledge, contacts, and expertise help Warrior Films expand our family of supporters, to tell transformational stories that change lives. Together we inspire citizens worldwide to restore themselves, their families, and their communities to wholeness.
  • Join our Board:  See tab below….

What it Takes to Join Our Board

Warrior Films Board Members – What we’re looking for:

  • Our Specific Objectives: We’re seeking a Secretary, a President and some non-officers.
  • Our General Objectives: We’re establishing our first ever proper fundraising Board. We’re seeking fresh blood, new energy and ideas. We’re seeking in-kind support to maximize the impact of our vast assets and to help the company flourish. We’re seeking support for the distribution of our five-film series Veterans Journey Home. Ideally, all Board members meet the following criteria. But that’s not possible for most folks so everything’s negotiable. We seek the win/win with all our partners.
  • Deep alignment with company mission and values. You have to be interested in changing consciousness worldwide by building stronger individuals, families, and communities, by telling powerful film stories around key themes: youth rites of passage and mentorship, mature masculinity, supporting combat Veterans, Buddhism, the endless human capacity for positive transformation…
  • Follow through on commitments. If you join our Board, we expect that you will follow through on commitments you make to the company, the Board, and Frederick. The Board relies on one another to achieve our mission as an organization, and being timely and responsive to one another is very important for all of us.
  • Skill set: Prior Board experience and film business experience are welcome but not requirements.
  • Three-year commitment.
  • Raise a minimum of $10k each year. Like many non-profits, we ask that members of the board commit to raise funds, commonly called the “give or get.” You can do this in several ways: through soliciting donations from your contacts, donating yourself, and/or hosting one or more fundraisers with Frederick coming and making a presentation and screening one or more of our films.  We do our best to support board members to meet this commitment.
  • Meet roughly 4x yearly for max 2 hours per meeting. The Board meets quarterly.  All meetings by phone and/or Skype. Plus, one yearly 1.5 day face to face Board retreat in Oakland, usually in April.
  • Extend your support through personal and professional contacts/connections/resources.
  • Recruit your replacement.

If you’re interested in joining our board, please reach out to us on our Volunteer Match page.

Volunteer Match for Board Members