2021 40 Under 40 award recipient: Stephen Panaggio

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Stephen Panaggio. Courtesy 616 Media

Stephen Panaggio, 31

Partner, creative director

Voyage Pictures

Stephen Panaggio never had the intention of becoming a business leader; he just wanted to be the best filmmaker he could be.

While fulfilling his goal, Panaggio unintentionally added the role of business leader because of his accomplishments in the film industry. He has been entrusted with bringing stories to the big screen and that wasn’t more evident than during the pandemic last year.

One accomplishment of note was starting a nonprofit called the Kala Project that created films for cause-based organizations and human-interest stories across the country.

“We created about 10 films in total that touched countless lives,” he said.

Panaggio said his biggest career break was being able to secure a travel show with the Korean branch of the largest and oldest U.S.-funded international broadcaster.

That opportunity allowed him to serve as the creative director, creating a 52-episode travel show in two languages — English and Korean. He and his team were able to travel throughout the country, from as far west as Alaska to as far east as Maine.

He and his partner have been able to build Bradley Productions and Voyage Pictures. Panaggio has filmed and edited weddings, commercial projects and short documentaries, among other things. 

“I’m very proud of the relationships I’ve been able to curate with contractors, co-workers, collaborators and employees,” he said. “I’ve been able to learn how to lead creative teams, manage a variety of people from a variety of disciplines and make tough decisions along with my business partner.”

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