Shelter Island Films is proud to announce A Voice for Lil Olive, a new documentary coming soon from award-winning filmmaker Pete Schuermann. The film explores the special bond between pets and their families, and how rescued dogs change lives. The film’s mission is to make people aware of and to change attitudes about rescued pets through the telling of puppy mill survivor Lil Olive’s tale. In this way, she becomes the voice for so many dogs and animals in need.
The film will take a positive approach to what can be a very negative story. It is not about puppy mills, but rather about the joys (and challenges) of caring for these lovable pets and how they change people’s lives for the better with love and compassion — despite all their suffering. Please help us spread awareness about rescued dogs, their post-puppy-mill-lives, and the best way to bring others like Lil Olive into new homes.
A Voice for Lil Olive is currently in production. Check back for regular updates and follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Director – Pete Schuermann
Pete Schuermann is a well-established Emmy Award-winning filmmaker with numerous film festival acceptances for narrative feature, documentary and short films that affirm his credibility as a solid visual storyteller. Pete was born on Long Island and is currently a resident of Monument, Colorado.
In 2005, Pete was approached by Disney to direct and edit Disneyland: Then, Now and Forever, a retrospective piece celebrating Disneyland’s 50th anniversary. Following that, he completed the nationally acclaimed documentary HAZE (featuring Robin Wright), which graphically examined the beer-soaked party scene that permeates the national university and college environment. Next up was the narrative feature The Creep Behind the Camera, an edgy dark comedy/docudrama that told the story about the making of The Creeping Terror, arguably the worst monster movie ever made.
A personal project for Pete — a huge dog lover — was the touching conditional, named “Best Narrative Short Film” at the Orlando Film Festival. This semi-biographical nine-minute film celebrates the unconditional love shown to us by our favorite pets, in this case a small pug.
Executive Producer – Ashley Schuermann
Although Ashley Schuermann is a relative newcomer to the film world, she has a long history in the banking and finance industries, having held a variety of positions and earning her FINRA Series 6, 7 and 63 securities licenses.
Ashley’s extensive academic background includes a B.A. in Psychology; an MBA with emphasis in marketing, international business and finance; and a Graduate Accounting Certificate, all from the University of Colorado.
She’s also an experienced community volunteer, working with such organizations as the Junior League, the American Cancer Society, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Executive Producer – Kirsten Akens
Kirsten Akens is an award-winning journalist and editor whose work has been featured in print and online, in publications such as People, O the Oprah Magazine and Lifehacker. During her seven years as an editor and writer with the Colorado Springs Independent alt-weekly, she was honored by regional and national professional organizations for her news columns, as well as her stories covering education, health, and sports. In May 2019, St. Louis publisher Reedy Press published Kirsten’s first book, 100 Things to Do in Colorado Springs Before You Die.
While her current writing as a freelancer focuses primarily on arts, entertainment and travel, Kirsten is always on the hunt for ways to cover social issues important to her — at the top of that list, animal welfare and rescue. For more than a decade, she volunteered with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, walking and fostering dogs, photographing special events, and writing copy for HSPPR’s website, annual reports and newsletters.
Kirsten and her husband Geoff reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado — with their two rescued Boston terriers, Lucy and Finnegan.
Cinematographer – Jeff Pointer
Jeff Pointer is a Heartland Emmy Award-winning cinematographer who has shot work that has made people laugh out loud, cry or tilt their heads and ponder — and his portfolio includes everything from national commercials, feature films and documentaries, to independent projects, slick corporate videos, and intimate films.
An easygoing cinematographer with a charming personality and a clear mission — use light, lenses, angles and intuition to aid the director in top-notch storytelling — Jeff has a solid understanding of the technical and artistic aspects of cinematography and believes in mixing creativity with preparation and efficiency.
Denver Post film critic Lisa Kennedy called Jeff “one of Denver’s best lensmen.” His feature film credits include Pete Schuermann’s The Creep Behind the Camera, indie cult favorite Ink, and the much-praised documentary When the Dragon Swallowed the Sun.
Editor – Dave Wruck
Dave Wruck has successfully spent his 20 years in the editing world split evenly among documentaries, narratives and commercials. He’s edited feature-length documentaries, such as The LEGO Brickumentary with Academy Award winner Daniel Junge, short documentaries with Rocky Mountain PBS and Academy Award nominee Henry Ansbacher, and feature-length films like The Creep Behind the Camera from Emmy Award winner Pete Schuermann.
Through solid partnerships with Made Movement, Plus Productions, Genesis Inc., BravoEcho, and Grenadier, Dave has produced some fantastic spots for TGI Fridays, Cinch Jeans, Canon USA, Grand Rapids Public Museum, and Case Logic.
Dave’s work has garnered him five Emmys and multiple Telly Awards and brought home film festival awards from the likes of the Starz Denver International Film Festival, the St. Louis International Film Festival, Chamonix Adventure Festival, Toas Shortz Film Fest, Mountain Film Festival, Palm Beach International Film Festival, and Sidewalk Moving Pictures Festival.
Associate Producer – Rhonda Roberts
Rhonda Roberts is a Certified Veterinary Technician who has been practicing in Colorado since 1998. After starting out as a Veterinary Assistant, she obtained a degree in Veterinary Technology graduating at the top of her class from Colorado Mountain Collage in 2002. Rhonda has worked in mixed animal practice, as an emergency technician for an equine & farm animal practice, as a surgical specialty technician, and for the last 8 years an emergency nurse in a small animal emergency & critical care facility.
A relative newcomer to the film industry, Rhonda is certainly not a newcomer to caring for animals & finding a way to make helping them her main focus. With her extensive experience, Rhonda will serve as our veterinary liaison in the creating of this documentary. Having the film supported by and consulting with veterinary professionals will help bring another viewpoint & direction to understanding the plight of the Puppy Mill dog & the struggles to help them integrate into adoptive forever homes.
An equestrian from the tender age of 4 years old, Rhonda was raised in Florida by a family of animal lovers. She has always been surrounded by her own 4-legged (& sometimes 3-legged) family of horses, dogs, cats & more…..
Rhonda actively competes as an equestrian in 3 Day Eventing as well as being an avid hiker, biker and snowboarder. Other side projects include running R2 Productions, her booking & promotions company, where she specializes in music promotion, event organization, and photography.
Publicist/Writer – Rachel Sentes
Rachel Sentes is a publicist whose clients have been featured in media outlets including Vice.com, Truthout.Org, TSN, CNN, L.A Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, The Globe & Mail, Den of Geek, and The Mary Sue, among others. Her clients have included an Emmy nominated voice actor, a key cast member of the X-Files, film companies, an incarcerated writer, authors, and seven dogs rescued from Afghanistan.
As a freelance writer she was a regular contributor to Pet Rescue Magazine, writing hundreds of articles to help find homes for stray animals. She currently writes a dog column for the Examiner.com site. She is the past president of the Pet Therapy Society of Northern Alberta, and the co-partner of Dog Hair Included- a geeky pet accessories company.
Rachel and her husband, Literary Agent Brian Wood, live in Vancouver, B.C with their two border collie rescues 13 year old Daisy and 11 year old Pumpkin. When she’s not reading, writing, or playing with her dogs, she can be found waving her geek flag at Comic Cons and singing at local karaoke joints.
Lil Olive – Activist/Actress/Model
Lil Olive is a well-known advocate for puppy mill survivors. She brings 12½ years of experience as a puppy-mill breeding momma to this project, along with her incredible passion to say “PPPFFFTTTTT” to those terrible mills.
After leaving the puppy mill environment, Lil Olive became a professional diva, lounging in front of the fireplace and riding in a cart at PetSmart and Petco so she could do her weekly shopping.
Once she discovered social media, however, she founded the Lil Olive Facebook page and spent many hours writing to and interacting with tens of thousands of friends from all over the world. She has engaged in many “Meet & Greets,” letting her fans fawn all over her while she napped.
Lil Olive has volunteered many hours pawtographing photos of herself to donate to rescues so they could raise funds to help rescue other animals in need, and she has serenaded more Facebook friends than she can count on their birthdays. All of her work to help end puppy mills garnered her the cover of the spring 2014 issue of American Dog Magazine.
A huge football fan, Lil Olive always made herself available to the Denver Broncos as a formative Waddleback, and made weekly updates on “Whackadoo Sunnydays Denver Bronco’s Footyball.”
Lil Olive will forever be the face behind the cute puppies in pet stores, and she will forever “speak for those who have no voice.” Learn more about Lil Olive at lilolive.com, on Twitter @lil_olive_tweet, and on Instagram @lilolive_sissies.
Pam and Kevin Horton
Copyright 2016 Shelter Island Films
A Voice for Lil Olive is a new documentary from award-winning filmmaker Pete Schuermann. The film explores the special bond between pets and their families, and how rescued dogs change lives. The film's mission is to make people aware of and to change attitudes about rescued pets through the telling of Lil Olive’s tale. In this way, she becomes the voice for so many dogs and animals in need.