2017 Commencement Speaker: Frank Stiefel


Frank Stiefel was born in New York City. He is a product of the New York Public School syste​m and attended the evening division of The City College of New York.

At the age of 19, he established the New York based Stiefel & Company Inc. to represent commercial photographers. The company shifted its focus to represent commercial directors in the 1970s. By the 1980s, the company opened an office in Los Angeles and moved into the production of television commercials. During his years as an executive producer, Stiefel served on both the east and west coast boards of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers. He is the only person to be elected twice to serve as the national president. Stiefel is also a two-time past chairman of the AICP Show at the Museum of Modern Art.

In 2002, he merged Stiefel & Company with the international production company RadicalMedia. Stiefel continued as executive producer and also produced a number of advertising sponsored television programs.

Over the years, Stiefel produced short subject documentaries. Several have been honored at the Toronto Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival and others.

In 2009, he left RadicalMedia to direct a documentary based on his mother’s life. Ingelore was honored by the International Documentary Association and the Museum Of Modern Art. The film also appeared in 30 international film festivals and was acquired by HBO.

In 2016, Stiefel completed Heaven Is A Traffic Jam on the 405, a documentary based on the life of artist Mindy Alper. The documentary film premiered at The Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center and has gone on to a very successful festival run. In April, Heaven Is A Traffic Jam on the 405 became the only film ever to win both the Audience and Critics prize at the prestigious Full Frame Documentary Festival.

Stiefel served on the Santa Monica College Foundation Board from 1998-2016; he was President for six years.

He lives in Santa Monica with his wife BJ. His daughters Hannah and Sofie live nearby.