About The Filmmakers
Smokewood Entertainment Group was founded in 2007 by Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness. Smokewood Entertainment produces films with positive messages for diverse audiences. The Denver-based company produced the award-winning motion picture “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire,” and executive produced the critically acclaimed feature “Tennessee.” Upcoming projects include motion picture and television treatments based on Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody young adult book series and a documentary following an indigenous Brazilian tribe in its efforts to become self-sufficient.
Dewey-Obenchain Films, Inc. is an Academy Award-winning full service film and video production company headquartered in Denver, Colorado. The company has been producing documentaries, feature films, television commercials, and industrial films for 20 years. A Story of Healing, a documentary filmed in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, won the 1997 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. Their feature length documentary, Chiefs, won first place in the documentary competition at the 2002 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City and was broadcast nationally on the PBS series, Independent Lens. Their documentary series on AIDS in the African-American community, House On Fire, premiered in the U.S Congress. Other awards include the Grand Prize at the Aspen Film Festival, Gold and Silver Awards at the Houston International Film Festival, and an Emmy nomination for their documentary, Reading Your Rights. The company premiered their first feature film, Skills Like This, in 2009. Skills Like This won the top prize at the prestigious SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, received “Best of the Fest” honors at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in Scotland, and was selected Best Narrative Film at the Jacksonville Film Festival.
Established in 1984 by Donna Dewey and Rock Obenchain, the company has grown to be the most successful documentary and commercial production company in the Rocky Mountain region. Non-profit and foundation clients include The Children’s Hospital of Denver, United Way, The American Lung Association, the NAACP, The Gill Foundation, The Merage Foundation for the American Dream, Interplast, AT&T, DuPont, Bonfils Blood Center, Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives, The Stapleton Foundation, The Daniels Fund, AMEND, The Harvard School for International Studies, The Hunt Alternatives Fund, Independent Television Service, PBS, Dr. W.C. Swanson Foundation, The National Child Abuse Prevention Center, and Volunteers of America. In addition to documentary recognition, the reputation of the company for high quality work is backed by numerous advertising awards, including Clio nominations, Telly’s and Alphies. The company’s advertising client list includes IBM, QWest, Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clarke, General Foods, Ford Motor Company, AMC, Buick, Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Honda, McDonalds, First Data Corporation, Einstein’s Bagels, Colorado Lottery, AT&T, Jones Intercable, Taco Bell, Village Inn, and Xcel Energy.
Sarah Siegel-Magness is the co-founder, along with husband Gary Magness, and managing partner of Smokewood Entertainment. Sarah’s credit include producing the award-winning Lionsgate film “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire,” and executive producing the critically acclaimed Vivendi Entertainment feature “Tennessee.” Upcoming projects include motion picture and television projects based on Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody young adult book series and a documentary following an indigenous tribe in Brazil and its effort to become self-sufficient. Through their Smokewood shingle, Sarah and Gary will produce films with positive messages for diverse audiences.
Sarah graduated from the University of Colorado’s School of Business. Following a brief career in the music industry, she launched So Low, a young women’s clothing line, which she still operates today. The line is sold at upscale retailers nationwide.
Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to be nominated for the ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award’ at age 30, and become active in the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, a global nonprofit education organization.
A Colorado native, Sarah currently lives in Denver with Gary and their family. She is active in a number of philanthropic causes including Food Bank of the Rockies, Energy Up and The Fresh Air Fund.
Gary Magness is the co-founder, along with wife Sarah Siegel-Magness, of Smokewood Entertainment. Gary’s credits include producing the award-winning Lionsgate film “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire,” and executive producing the critically acclaimed Vivendi Entertainment feature “Tennessee.” Upcoming projects include motion picture and television treatments based on Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody young adult book series and a documentary following an indigenous Brazilian tribe in its effort to become self-sufficient. Through their Smokewood shingle, Gary and Sarah will produce films with positive messages for diverse audiences.
He was born in Texas and reared in Montana in a family with a legacy steeped in cattle ranching and cotton. This rich family history led Gary to seek an agribusiness degree in college and an early career as a cattle rancher. Just as his parents segued from agriculture to cable television in the 1950s, Gary followed suit, helping to build the family business into cable giant Tele-Communications, Inc., which later merged with AT&T. He remains a significant stockholder in the company today.
It was his entrepreneurial spirit that led Gary to become involved in many businesses which are now part of The Magness Investment Group. The company’s diverse portfolio includes Magness Land & Cattle; Fortrust, a Denver-based state-of-the-art data center; and aquaculture breeding farms.
Gary’s personal interest in vintage automobiles led to a personal car collection and eventually to the founding of Mango Motors, a classic car dealership. He is also the team leader of Mango Racing, which competes in races several times each year, including the grueling Baja 1000 off-road race.
Gary currently lives in Denver with Sarah and their family. He is active in a number of philanthropic causes including Food Bank of the Rockies, The University of Denver and The Fresh Air Fund.
Donna Dewey is an Academy Award winning filmmaker who has been writing, producing and directing documentaries, commercials, industrials, and theatrical films for over twenty years. Ms. Dewey’s documentary, A Story of Healing, filmed in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, won the 1997 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. Her film, Chiefs, won the documentary competition at Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, and received a national broadcast on the PBS series, Independent Lens. Ms. Dewey also co-produced “Reading Your Rights”, which garnered an Emmy nomination. Ms. Dewey produced the feature film, Skills Like This, which received the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2007 SXSW Film Festival in Austin and was honored as a “Best of the Fest” film at the 2007 Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Ms. Dewey’s numerous documentaries and series have been broadcast and distributed by PBS, including, Family Portraits, an award-winning series on children’s cancer; the Homeboys trilogy; House On Fire, a 3-part series commissioned by the NAACP that premiered in the US Congress on AIDS in the African-American community; Elijah’s Story, a 2-part program commissioned by the National Child Abuse Prevention Center; an ongoing series for The Merage Foundation on successful immigrants( subjects includ Isabelle Allende, Dr. David Ho, and Jack Rosenthal); and the feature-length PBS documentary, Chiefs. Her films have been invited to and won awards in film festivals around the world, including Russia, Italy, France, and Spain, as well as numerous festivals in the United States. In 1984, Ms. Dewey formed Dewey-Obenchain Films. The reputation of the company for high quality commercial work is backed by numerous awards, including Clio nominations, Telly’s, and Alphies.
Ms. Dewey has co-written four feature-length screenplays with her mentor, the British director, the late Jack Clayton (Room At The Top, The Innocents, The Pumpkin Eater, The Great Gatsby, Momento Mori).
Ms. Dewey is a member of the Independent Feature Project, International Documentary Association, Colorado Film/Video Association, New York Women in Film, serves on the Board of Directors of the Denver Film Society, was named 2000 Colorado Businesswoman of the Year, is a 2004 Girl Scout Woman of Distinction, has served on the Colorado Governor’s Film Commission Advisory Board, and has been appointed by Denver’s Mayor John Hickenlooper to serve as Chair of the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs.