Frank Stiefel Wiki: 5 Facts To Know About The Director Of 'Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405'

Frank Stiefel is the director of the documentary, 'Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405'. Find out some interesting facts about him including his overall net worth.

By Amanda Palmer
Frank Stiefel Wiki: 5 Facts To Know About The Director Of 'Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405'

Who is Frank Stiefel?

Frank Stiefel is a director and producer, known for documentaries, 'Ingelore' in 2009, 'A Stoner's Life' in 2002 and 'Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405' in 2016. Stiefel and his wife have two daughters Hannah and Sophie. More information about he and his wife is currently unavailable. Frank Stiefel's film, 'Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405' got a nomination at the Oscar 2018 awards in the Best Documentary Category. Oscar 2018 will be held on March 4, 2018.

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The Director's Net Worth

The net worth of Frank Stiefel is $1 million.

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5 Facts About the Director

Here are some interesting facts about the director who shot to fame with his documentaries: 1. Frank Stiefel won the Jury Award in 2016 for his film, 'Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405' at the Austin Film Festival for the Best Documentary category. 2. Frank Stiefel also won the Audience Award in 2016 for the same film, 'Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405' at the Austin Film Festival for the Best Documentary category. 3. He started his career into documentary production and direction in 1999 with the short documentary, 'Two Weddings'. 4. Over the years, he Stiefel has produced various other documentaries such as 'A Stoner's life', 'Two Roads to Baja', 'Two Roads to the Taupo 1000', 'Ingelore' and 'Bose Angelo'. 5. Frank Stiefel has also acted in the movie, 'The Lords of the Flatbush' in 1974. He played the part of Arnie Levine.

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An interview with the Makers of the Oscar Nominee Film

Frank Stiefel recently documented the thoughts about character Mindy Alper in his short documentary, 'Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405'. The film earned Stiefel a nomination for the Best Short Documentary from the IDA Awards while also winning over the audience and jury awards at the Austin Film Festival in 2016. The movie begins with Alper sitting content, killing time in her car grid-locked in bumper-to-bumper congestion that does not seem to irritate her. “I spend that time talking to myself out loud about whatever it is going on,” she says, “Things that I don’t usually say to people, especially politics.” The Mindy Alper from Stiefel's film is a woman struggling with mental illness, a woman who is very open about her misfortune. She has an impressive regimen of medications which she candidly shares with the camera while battling neurological differences that leave her sensitivity to visual stimuli and noise. She uses honesty and humor to deal with the challenges she faces nearly every day of her life. “[My] nightmare is Costco. I become very anxious,” she says in the film. “She’s the most human of us humans,” observes Stiefel. “She’s the only interview subject that completely answered every question that I asked her without that ‘governor’ that we all have in our brains. She wonders whether we’re being smart and who’s concerned about how we look or how we sound.” Alper praises Stiefel in return, “Frank asks questions in such a way that you have no choice but to tell him the truth,” she explains. “It’s some kind of diabolical gift he has.” Frank Stiefel met Alper through an Art program that was also attended by Stiefel's wife. Mindy Alper seeks refuge in the world of art to stay away from a world that does quite understand her or want to accept her. “I was apparently doing [art] since I could hold something in my hand to draw,” she says. “I was so fortunate to have a mom who put me in art class at four or five. I always loved drawing.” A number of her line drawings have been animated by the filmmaking team. They are startling as they display her phobias and fears. Alper uses her art as a substitute for her words. “I remember times when I couldn’t speak for quite a long time and using drawings to communicate,” she recalls. Alper does credible work in papier mache creating large-scale portraits of important people in her life. These portraits include one of Stiefel himself, Wudl and also her psychiatrist, Dr. Shoshanna. The film includes the period when some of her portraits are put on display for an art show. “I said to her psychiatrist when she saw [the sculpture] at the gallery, ‘Other than Mt. Rushmore, I can’t imagine a bigger monument to a person,’” Stiefel remembers. Despite her obvious talent, Alper feels quite anxious when her works are exhibited, worrying they will be rejected. “I think that’s hard still,” she concedes. “I have a lot of doubt because a lot of people feel free to tell me what they think and it’s not always good.” From her instructor, though, she’s at ease receiving feedback. “I’m lucky to have a teacher still who can say, ‘You’ve done better drawings than that.’ He’s terrific. I appreciate it,” she tells in an interview. Stiefel was not concerned about how his film would be perceived by the audience as he had a lot of confidence in Mindy Alper. “I was intrigued by Mindy. I loved her art,” he says. “I never asked myself whether anybody else would be interested. I just kept plugging forward because I found her incredibly compelling and just went with that.”

Frank Stiefel might have an account on Facebook but his Facebook account is not open to the public. He can be found on his daughter's Instagram page @hannahstiefel where Hannah posts a lot of his photos and accomplishments. Frank Stiefel has his own personal webpage at www.frankstiefel.com/hi/ where in he has documented a short biography of his career and the reason behind his documentaries, 'Ingelore' and 'Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405'.

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