Yvonne Russo is an award-winning producer, director and writer of film, television and web. Her most recent production, VIVA VERDI! which she is directing/producing is a documentary about life inside Casa Di Riposo per Musicisti of Milan, the home that Giuseppe Verdi built in 1896 for retired opera singers and the incredible musical artists who live there.
As an independent producer, Russo has worked on a diverse range of national and international productions in the United States and over 14 countries from Rajasthan, India, to the East African Nation of Rwanda. Her projects include, “40 Under 40,” a documentary featuring America’s top 40 visual artists under 40 years of age, a CBS/ Smithsonian Network production; the National Geographic series, “Nat Geo’s Most Amazing Photos”; National Geographic’s “Capturing the Deep,” as well as Nat Geo’s “All Roads Film Project” and TLC/Discovery’s “Bringing Home Baby” series, which she also directed. “Nat Geo’s Top Ten Photos of 2010;” “The Other Milan,” an episode from the series “Nat Geo’s Most Amazing Photos,” are among her writing credits. She has produced over 75 “Behind the Photo” segments that were syndicated on the National Geographic International Channel and on the web.
Russo’s feature film work includes the 2012 feature documentary, THE RESCUERS: HEROES OF THE HOLOCAUST, where she served as Co-Producer; the film was nominated for “Outstanding Documentary” at the 2012 NAACP Awards. She served as producer on the award-winning indie feature NATURALLY NATIVE that had its launch at Sundance, played theatrically at Landmark theaters, and was acquired by Turner Classics. Russo produced the feature documentary, TRUE WHISPERERS: THE STORY OF THE NAVAJO CODE TALKERS, in association with Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Motion Pictures. From 1996 to 2002 Russo served as Vice President of Production for Red-Horse Productions. She started her film career as a voice-over actor on the animated film, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO and segued into television series and feature film. Her acting credits for television include “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and “Stolen Women, Captured Hearts,” a television special; NATURALLY NATIVE and AMERICAN INDIAN GRAFFITI are among her feature film acting credits.
A member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Russo is also a member of the Producers Guild of America where she served on the Board of Governors. She was Founder and Co-Chair of the PGA Diversity Workshop where she currently serves as an east coast committee member. Russo is a long standing member of SAG/AFTRA, a member of Women In Film, and the Founder and Director of The Akatubi Film/Music Academy, which focuses on teaching Native American youth entertainment and new media production. In 2014 she was a grantee of Awesome Without Borders a chapter of the Awesome Foundation for her documentary, VIVA VERDI! She was accepted into the Sundance Institute’s and Women in Films Financing Intensive for Women Filmmakers in April 2014. In 2004 she was a Sundance Producers Lab Fellow; a Tribeca All Access Program Fellow in 2005 and a Juror of the National Geographic Society’s All Roads Film Festival in Washington, D.C. In 1999 Russo received the “Producer of the Year Award” from the American Indian Film Festival, and the “Outstanding Achievement in Producing” from the First Americans in the Arts. She has been a guest lecturer at Harvard University and University of Miami.