F. Stevens is best known as the producer of the hit feature "The Harrad
Experiment" (1973), starring relatively unknown Don Johnson. But he
also produced two other feature films: "Harrad Summer" (1974), and "I
Wonder Who's Killing Her Now?" (1975); together with writing and
directing over 75 television commercials, including some for the Accor
Group and the best known wineries of France and California.
with companies such as Cinema Arts Productions, Inc., Air Log, and RFG
Associates, Inc., Stevens was involved in the writing, directing and/or
photographing of specialty projects for the Department of Defense (DoD),
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Gould Electronics, and Phillips
Electronics, among many others. These specialty films, sometimes
referred to as business, industrial or, "fill" films, with the exception
of the latter, were produced mainly for exhibition at trade shows and
"Fill" films were those distributed free to
schools and television stations. In the case of schools, the Insurance
Institute of America or the Plastics Institute of America, both non
profit educational and research institutes, distributed films directed
by Dennis F. Stevens. One of these films, entitled, "Plastics: The World
of Imagination," won a prestigious Chris Award for Stevens as director.
These sponsored films provided details, or "filled in" the teachers'
lesson plan for the day.
Other "fill" films, sponsored by the
DoD, were distributed free to television stations for the possibility of
increasing military recruitment. In the 1960s, television stations
played these half-hour films whenever they found themselves short of
something else to screen, thus the term "fill." Today, the military
itself in-house produces most of these films, thus contributing to the
demise of companies such as Air Log, which specialized in military
aerial photography and filming aboard aircraft carriers.
success of "The Harrad Experiment," Stevens could likely have continued
producing feature films but instead chose to team with mentors Robert
Lawrence Balzer and Duke Goldstone to do commercials, together with the
above described specialty films. Robert Lawrence Balzer was the wine
critic for the Los Angeles Times and the person responsible for choosing
and bestowing the Holiday Magazine awards. Louis "Duke" Goldstone's RFG
Associates, Inc. was the production and editorial arm of the
Swift-Chaplin Agency, which agency was responsible for creating the
Jolly Green Giant, Hamm's Bear (animated) and Speedy Alka Selzer
Thanks in large part to Balzer, Stevens made
television commercials for 43 wineries in California and France. Working
with RFG Associates, Inc. Stevens wrote, directed and/or photographed
some 32 additional television commercials and business films.
August 1979 thru April 1980, Stevens covered the final days of the
Zimbabwe War of Independence for Reuters. The news service bureau also
hired Stevens to cover the Gulf War from Israel, in 1991.
1980, Dennis F. Stevens directed 26 half-hour episodes of "AD LIB," a
jazz show for the Black Entertainment Network, hosted by Phil Moore and
featuring jazz legends (in order of production date): Ella Fitzgerald,
Freddie Hubbard, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., Jon Hendricks,
Freda Payne, Jimmy Witherspoon, Dianne Reeves, Linda Hopkins, Charles
Brown, O. C. Smith, Billy Daniels, Kenny Rankin, Willy Bobo, "Scat-man"
Crothers, Sergio Mendes, and many more.
That same year Stevens
produced 52 half-hour episodes of the "ROCKY ROAD" show, distributed to
MTV, featuring: Missing Persons, The Bus Boys, Romeo Void, Tower of
Power, James Harman, Meatloaf, Crystal Gale, Huey Lewis & the News,
Marshal Tucker, and many more.
In the early 1980s, Stevens
directed 20 musical videos for Capital/EMI, and other record labels.
Among others produced and co-directed (with Chris Donovan) the Missing
Persons, "I Like Boys" video, winner of the 1982 ACE award.
Leroy and Mike Frankovich sponsored Stevens' membership in the Academy
of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in 1974. He became a member of the
Writers Guild of America when hired by Dick Powell and Four Star
Productions to think up plots for its then vast television programming.
Stevens has written a number of as yet unproduced screenplays.
Stevens retired in 2003 to become an adjunct professor lecturing on the subject of Journalism bias.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Chris Costilow