Stephen R. Powell

Personal Biography

A native of Buffalo, New York, Stephen Russell Powell has gained national recognition as a speaker, author and expert on the history of drinking in American culture, and in particular on the subject of Prohibition.

His 1996 book entitled "Rushing the Growler" was a study on the history of the brewing industry in Buffalo. The popularity of the book took him by surprise and it has gone through three printings since then. He currently serves on the board of the Western New York Heritage Press. Steve also founded the Peoples History Coalition which administers a major online archive of Buffalo History (buffalonian.com).

Currently Steve works as a producer, field producer, camera operator, editor and director on a wide variety of projects including programs for ABC, CBS, The History Channel, PBS, Bravo!, Fox News, CourtTV, RAI Uno, and Discovery Channel along with numerous independent documentary and commercial productions.

Powell got his start in the business in 1996 after the publication the popularity of the book led to a series of appearances on national television, which ultimately opened the door to production work on an increasingly diverse range of projects. In the spring of 2003, after participating in the production of two prime-time programs for the History Channel, Powell established Odessa Pictures, Inc. as a media development company. Combining his early training in marketing and economics with his proficiency at shooting and editing film and video, the organization has both generated original content and facilitated the projects of clients around the U.S.

Among Powell’s most recent endeavors is an 82-minute feature documentary entitled The Forgotten City, for which he served as both editor and story editor. Directed by young filmmakers Addison Henderson and Korey Green, Forgotten City takes a hard-hitting, unblinking look at life in Buffalo’s inner city as one example of phenomena affecting the entire nation. Currently touring the festival circuit, the film has been featured in the HBO/Film Life Black American Film Festival, the Starz Denver Film Festival, and the 2006 New York International Independent Film and Video Festival, where it won Best Urban Documentary. This film has gone on to win several other festival awards.

A lifelong resident of Western New York, Powell has a long history of activism and community organizing, and many of the projects he has generated himself reflect his commitment to social justice, while others bring light to aspects of life in his hometown that might otherwise go unnoticed. No matter what he’s involved in, however—from TV commercials and documentary series to promotional shorts for non-profits to his more personal projects.

In addition to producing video programming, Steve is active in the community. His is a member of the International Documentary Association and the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) as well as several local producers groups. Currently, Steve lives and works in Western New York State.

Selected Production Credits/Clients:
America’s Most Wanted/STF -America’s Top Cop -Camera Operator Television Serial
Wife Swap/
ABC TV/RDF -Camera Operator TV Reality Serial
RAI Uno/Global Vision Newsnet -Camera Op. Italian Nat TV News Prog -Easy Driver
The Weintsein Company/MGM: Line-Producer/Crew Manager (EFP) -Feature for Movie
CBS Network: Videographer, Prime-time Reality Show
Fox News Channel: ENG Videographer (R&G/News Press Pool)
Discovery Networks/UHY: (EFP) Camera Operator -Eye of the Storm
Knuckle City Films: Editor/Story Editor: Urban Documentary, “The Forgotten City” 83-min
Castellani Art Museum: Producer/Director/Editor: Documentary, “Josiah’s Crossing” 20-min
CourtTV/Langley Productions: Field Producer, Camera Op. News Series, “Video Justice”
Discovery Channel -Canada: EFP Field Producer/DOP -Science News Series, “Daily Planet”
Bravo! Channel/CEG: Field Producer -News Documentary Serials, “Doctor to Doctor”
PBS (WETA-TV Washington): Researcher/guest 2-hr special, Frank Sesno Reports.
Bravo! Channel/World of Wonder: Field Producer: Reality Show, “Sports Kids, Moms & Dads”
Righteous Babe Records: Videographer: Documentary, Church Reconstruction/Restoration
Planned Parenthood: Producer/Director/Editor: promotional (2003 & 2006) 7-min
History Channel/Pinball Prod: Researcher 2-hr prime-time show “Rumrunners, Bootleggers”
ABC Special Events: Producer/Director/Editor 30-second commercial spot.
History Channel/Jaffee: Segment Researcher/Guest 2-hr special “Secret Passages”
Gilda’s Club: Producer/Director/Editor: promotional, 2006 7-min
Paragon Advertising: Videographer: Commercial, Buffalo Bison’s Baseball
Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Inst. Producer/Director/Editor (PR Video) 12-min
Buffalo Museum of Science: Producer/Director/Editor (fund raising video) 7-min
Transportation Development Group: Producer/Dir/Editor Hazmat Safety for Aircraft (LAX)
Buffalo Historical Society: (fund raising video) 7-min
Odessa Pictures, Inc.: Producer/Director/Editor “A round for the House” Documentary 28-min
Sandra White Productions: Editor, 30-second commercial broadcast spot

Steve is a producer for Odessa Pictures, Inc.

If you need to contact mr. Powell you can send e-mail to: powell@historian.org

or Telephone: +1.716.316.6710

home | about | History of Drink | Documentary | Video Production | Buffalo History