Levi C. Maaia and Noah Mark: Shaping the Impact of Documentary Film with ‘Pathways to Invention’

In the evolving landscape of documentary filmmaking, Levi C. Maaia and Noah Mark are making waves with a distinctive approach that blends compelling storytelling with informative and impactful content.

The duo’s journey began as freshmen at Boston University, where they first crossed paths and discovered a mutual passion for television and films that do more than just entertain—they educate, inspire, and provoke action. After forging their own careers in broadcasting and TV, they reunited with a vision to create documentaries that highlight the resilience, creativity, and ingenuity of individuals making a mark on the world.  In 2019, they established Maaia Mark Productions to amplify unheard voices through compelling stories. Their documentaries explore significant social and technological issues, while driving real-world action through educational and community initiatives that extend their impact beyond the screen.

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This vision took a significant leap forward with the release of “Pathways to Invention,” a documentary now available on PBS stations across the country. Funded by the Lemelson Foundation, the Lemelson-MIT Program, and the University of California, Berkeley, the program showcases the stories of inventors who have transformed challenges into opportunities, crafting solutions that leave a lasting impact on society. The project is more than just a film; it’s a testament to Maaia and Mark’s belief in the power of storytelling to inspire the next generation of innovators.

Maaia and Mark set themselves apart by focusing on the personal journeys of their subjects, making the concept of technology accessible and relatable. They argue that anyone can be an inventor or creator, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and the willingness to take risks. It’s a narrative that resonates with viewers long after the credits roll, sparking conversations about potential, innovation, and the role of parents and educators in fostering inventive minds.

Beyond the screen, Maaia and Mark are extending the impact of their message through educational initiatives. They are developing curricula that weave the themes of invention and creativity into classroom learning, spanning from elementary to university levels. This endeavor aims to extend the documentary’s reach and engage students in immersive learning experiences. Their pathwaystoinvention.org website offers resources and guidance for educators eager to integrate these themes into their teaching, fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills among students.

Building on the success of “Pathways to Invention,” Maaia and Mark are developing a new venture—a TV series titled “The Innovators,” in collaboration with American Public Television. This series will delve deeper into the personal and professional lives of innovators across various industries, underscoring their dedication to demonstrating the profound impact of innovation. “The Innovators” will provide audiences with an in-depth exploration of the diverse journeys inventors take, spotlighting the resilience and creativity required to turn groundbreaking ideas into reality.

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The duo’s commitment to impactful storytelling has not gone unnoticed. “Pathways to Invention” has garnered acclaim with more than a dozen festival honors, including twin Best Documentary Feature nods from both the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards and the Southern California International Film Festival. But for Maaia and Mark, the true measure of success lies in the conversations that the film ignites about the essence of invention and the potential within each person to contribute to societal progress.

In an age where the documentary format is more accessible than ever, Maaia and Mark are leveraging the medium to not only shed light on untold stories but to also take positive action in their own lives and communities. Their approach to filmmaking reflects a deeper understanding of the documentary’s potential as a tool for change, making Maaia Mark Productions a beacon for those who believe in the transformative power of film and television.

“Pathways to Invention” premieres Tuesday, May 7 at 6pm on PBS SoCal WORLD and is available for streaming any time in the PBS app. Visit pathwaystoinvention.org for links, listings, and details.

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