Wendy Schneider

Director, Editor, Producer

Schneider is the creative force behind a range of projects including an audio documentary on the Civil Rights Movement, an award-winning CD compilation of songs protesting the Iraq War, audio soundscapes for children, the ground-breaking documentary, CUT: Teens and Self Injury, winner of the “Best Wisconsin Film” award at the Beloit International Film Festival, and most recently "The Smart Studios Story," debuting at the 2016’s SXSW and currently in-release. Her work is dedicated to bringing creativity into contact with community issues: the "Boombox the Wasteland" project, and fundraisers for groups including Housing Initiatives, Rape Crisis Center, and the Young, Gifted & Black Coalition have been avenues for social change via media activism. "The Smart Studios Story," the center of Schneider's work since the studio closed in 2010, marks the culmination of an involvement with music production which began when she was still in high school. After getting a job as a messenger for a multimedia production company in New York City, she advanced rapidly and within eight years had become the company’s creative director of audio, producing soundscapes for major corporate clients that included the National Geographic Society and the International Center for Photography.  In 1989, Wendy completed her first audio documentary for People For The American Way; a retrospective commemorating the 25th anniversary of slain civil rights activists, Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney. In 1990 she relocated to the Midwest to attend the University of Wisconsin, where she concentrated her studies on multicultural literature and music.  In 1992 Schneider began working at the legendary Smart Studios learning the craft of engineering and producing from a range of talented musicians who ran the studio where Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins had recorded with Grammy winning producer and Smart Studios co-founder, Butch Vig. Within the next 2 years she opened her own multi-track recording facility, Coney Island Studios, creating and collaborating on projects for major record labels and independent artists in the Midwest. For over 15 years, the facility was home to hundreds of musicians and artists.  Creating media with outreach and educational components remains central to Schneider’s work. After learning of a friend’s struggle with cutting in 2006, she became aware of how little information was available about self-injury. Her response was to purchase a used video camera and begin production on her first documentary short, CUT: Teens and Self Injury. The film features Garbage’s Shirley Manson along with dozens of teens who shared their artwork and stories for the project. The documentary premiered at the Wisconsin Film Festival in 2007 and has been integrated into curriculum in education programs around the country. In 2008, CUT: Teens and Self Injury was an “APA Official Film Selection” of the American Psychological Association’s annual conference of registered counselors. During these years she also founded and served as creative director for Sparkle Dog®, a fledgling company using audio-based literature as a learning tool in local elementary schools – encouraging literacy in children while they listen, learn and create.  Schneider’s community outreach work in Madison began in 1990, partnering with students and local residents to open a multi-cultural library and drop-in center for youth. The project’s goal was to bridge the gap between the university and the residents with limited access to education, resources and community services. Her community work continued in the late 90s, training at NYC’s Harm Reduction Coalition, then working 3 years as a needle exchange specialist for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. Well-known in Madison’s local music scene, she has released two albums, “Bugatti Type 35” and “Traction”.