Early life and education
Schaefer was born in Boston, spent his childhood in Sussex, England and his adolescent years in Detroit and New York City. He studied acting and political theory at Skidmore College and Wesleyan University, from which he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Following a year and a half in Germany—where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Kiel—he returned to New York and co-founded the production company Cicala Filmworks.
He is the maternal grandson of polar explorer and ornithologist Carl R. Eklund.
Schaefer's films have premiered and won awards at festivals such as the Berlin International Film Festival and SxSW, among many others, and have been successfully released theatrically and on TV channels such as PBS, HBO and the Sundance Channel.
He has over ten feature film credits to his name, among them My Last Day Without You, The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela, and Arranged. On these and other projects he's worked with Academy Award winner Melissa Leo, Ali Larter, Zoe Lister-Jones, Ken Duken, Nicole Beharie, Michael Imperioli, and many more. In addition to these indie features, Stefan and writing partner Christoph Silber have written four TV movies for leading European networks ARD and ZDF, two of which filmed in Hawai’i.
On the documentary front, Schaefer directed the one-hour television documentary Contested Streets, which looks at what New York can learn from London, Paris and Copenhagen in terms of organizing its streets and public spaces. The film screened widely at environmental film festivals and aired as part of "The Green" series on the Sundance Channel. In 2015, he released a feature documentary on Poet Laureate and environmental activist W.S. Merwin, entitled "Even Though the Whole World Is Burning". A one-hour version of the film, called "W.S. Merwin: To Plant a Tree" was broadcast nationally on PBS in April 2016.
Schaefer has TV shows in development with Sony Pictures TV, The Weinstein Company and Big Beach. Additionally, he co-created the series "Surf Break Hotel" with Jonathan Stern of Abominable Pictures. Backed by Insurrection Media and the Hawaii-based GVS Accelerator, the pilot shot on Maui in 2016.
Schaefer is a frequent collaborator with Icelandic filmmaker Olaf de Fleur, screenwriter Christoph Silber, and Diane Crespo. An active member of the Writers Guild of America, East, he's is managed by LA-based Industry Entertainment.
- 2017 - Kuleana (producer/actor)
- 2014 - Even Though the Whole World Is Burning (writer/producer/director)
- 2012/13 - My Last Day Without You (writer/producer/director)
- 2011 - The Roundup (short) (writer/producer/director)
- 2011 - Get a Job (producer/actor)
- 2009 - The Hungry Ghosts (producer/actor)
- 2008 - The Higher Force (writer/producer/actor)
- 2008 - The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela (writer/producer/actor)
- 2007 - Arranged (writer/director/producer)
- 2006 - Act Normal (2006) (co-producer)
- 2006 - Contested Streets (director/producer/editor)
- 2005 - Confess (writer/director)
- 2016 - Surf Break Hotel (writer/producer/director)
- 2016 - W.S. Merwin: To Plant a Tree (writer/producer/director)
- 2015 - Blue Water Living / Blauwasserleben (writer)
- 2013 - The Paradise Within / Das Paradies in uns (writer)
- 2013 - To Love, Let Go / Wer liebt, lässt los (writer)
- 2012 - First Lady / Nicht mit mir, Liebling (writer)
- 2009 - Circledrawers (co-creator/producer/actor)
Awards and nominations
- 2012 - Black Reel Awards: Best Original Song My Last Day Without You (nominated)
- 2012 - Black Reel Awards: Best Independent Feature Film My Last Day Without You
- 2011 - Brooklyn International Film Festival: Best Producer My Last Day Without You
- 2011 - Big Island Film Festival: Audience Choice Award Get A Job
- 2008 - Berlin International Film Festival: Teddy Award for Best Feature Film 'The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela
- 2008 - Skip City Int'l Film Festival: Best Film Arranged
- 2007 - Washington Jewish Film Festival: Audience Award Arranged
- 2007 - Berkshire Int'l Film Festival: Audience Award Arranged
- 2007 - Brooklyn Int'l Film Festival: Best Film Arranged
- 2005 - Best Screenwriter Hamptons International Film Festival, Confess
- 2004 - Grand Prize in Digital Filmmaking from Apple and Panasonic
- 2004 - Writer-in-Residence, Omi International Arts Center
- 2003 - New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Screenwriting
- 2002 - Berlin Talents, Berlin International Film Festival
- 1995 - Fulbright Scholar
- Cicala Filmworks, retrieved 2011-03-22
^ Miller, B (2007-12-14). "Break On Through To The Other Side".
^ Scheib, R (2007-12-13). "Arranged Film Review". Variety.
^ Mack, R (2009-06-10). "Angels Walk Amongst Us in Web-Series 'Circledrawers'".
^ Weinburg, S (March 2007). "SxSW '07 Interview "Arranged" Directors Stefan Schaefer & Diane Crespo".
^ Chatenlever, Rick (April 2010). "Get A Job in the movie biz".
^ Gordon, M (February 2016). "Comedy On Maui To Feature Has-Been Surf Character".
^ Gordon, M (April 2016). "Hollywood Looks to Maui".
- Stefan Schaefer on IMDb
- , official personal website
- Variety review of film Arranged, Dec. 13, 2007. Accessed 2008-04-22.
- "Arranged Wins Skip City"
- , official website for film "Arranged"
- , official website for film "My Last Day Without You"
- , official website for web-series "Circledrawers"
- , official website for film "Get A Job"
- , official website for production company "Cicala Filmworks"
- , official website for production company "Silver Shepherd"
- , official website for "Even Though The Whole World is Burning"
- , official website for "W.S. Merwin: To Plant a Tree"