My Friend Sam

Director Daniel Ryan, Producer Regina Spektor
My Friend Sam


Singer-songwriter Regina Spektor’s life changed forever when, as a child, she was taken under the wings of musicians Sonia Vargas and Samuel Marder. Now a widower in his later years, Marder, a Holocaust survivor, is speaking out about his painful past, with Spektor at his side. The film–grounded in their profound friendship–is a study in empathy, miracles, and resilience.

Phase of Support: Production

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Daniel Ryan

Daniel Ryan - Director

Daniel Ryan is a commercial and music video director on the global roster at The Mill. He loves storytelling and crafting striking images to create content that stands the test of time. Recent projects include campaigns for major brands and institutions including IBM, The Art Institute of Chicago, and Warby Parker. He has been collaborating with his friend, Regina Spektor, for over a decade, capturing documentary footage and music videos.

Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor - Producer

Regina Spektor was born in the former Soviet Union and began studying classical piano in Moscow at the age of six. Her family emigrated to the U.S. under refugee status in 1989, landing in the Bronx. Spektor then continued her classical piano studies with Sonia Vargas and Samuel Marder when she was ten, and began writing songs in her late teens. She has since become an internationally touring and critically acclaimed musician. Her music has appeared in many television shows and films.

Project logline and bios courtesy of the grantees.