World Stories Film is the home for the work of documentary director and producer, Mel Halbach.
Mel is a director and producer of films that focus on topics of human interest. His latest completed film, What Lights Nate, documents the personal journey of artist Nate Smith and his fire vortex performances at the Burning Man Arts Festival in Nevada.
Over the past 18 years, much of this work has involved producing documentaries in developing countries. Mel’s travels to Vietnam between 1991-1997 culminated in his award-winning documentary The Long Haired Warriors. This documentary brought to light the lives Vietnamese women who were soldiers, activists and prisoners of war. The Long Haired Warriors was selected for screenings at over a dozen national and international film festivals and aired on selected PBS stations in the US.
Other film awards include Best Documentary, Experimental for The Game at the Ann Arbor Film Festival; Best of Show for The Game at the 1991 Utah Film and Video Festival, and Honorable Mentions for his other short films at festivals in New York and Utah. Mel has twice been the recipient of the Mort Rosenfeld Award honoring Utah filmmakers of promise. Mel has produced and edited several Vietnam short films and was the Editor and Assistant Cinematographer for another feature length Vietnam documentary, Beyond Healing; Mission of Hope produced and directed by Carla Woodmansee.
He has also produced documentaries for non government organizations in Cambodia, Vietnam, Kosovo, Slovakia, El Salvador and Mozambique. In 2004-05 Mel completed two commissioned films, Jack Gallivan, A Legacy, a documentary on which aired on PBS affiliate KUED in Salt Lake City, and The Life Story of Dorothy Dodd Jean Eppstein a Woman Air Service Pilot (WASP) during WWII.
Mel received a B.S. in Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin Madison and an M.F.A. in film from the University of Utah. Mel worked as an Associate Instructor in Film Studies and was Producer and Director of the Media Center at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah from 1994-2000. While there he produced over 35 videos and several international videos filmed in Taiwan, Vietnam, Amsterdam and Brussels. Mel currently is co-founder of FilmTreks, a hands-on documentary filmmaking workshop program.