Stu Levy is an international entrepreneur, producer, director and writer across mediums including graphic novels, film, television and new media. Founder of the pioneering media company TOKYOPOP, Stu is known for establishing the manga market in North America.
As a producer, Stu has a number of live-action and animated feature films and television shows in various stages of development, including adaptations of Alex Unlimited and Mail Order Ninja. He produced English adaptations of television and home video anime series including the hits Initial D, GTO, and Rave Master. His first major studio feature film as Executive Producer was Priest, released theatrically worldwide in 2011 through Sony Pictures.
Stu has directed two feature films (his feature documentary Pray for Japan and his award-winning feature debut Van Von Hunter), the 8-episode docu-reality series America’s Greatest Otaku, and several music videos. Stu wrote the Princess Ai and Juror 13 graphic novels, as well as Karma Club and Sailor Moon novels.
Fluent in Japanese and a licensed California attorney, Stu serves as chair of the Producers Guild of America’s International Committee, its Online Video Committee, and the PGA Producers Showcase (ProShow); He was previously a Board Member of its New Media Council. He actively oversees two YouTube Channels, one for TOKYOPOP and one for the PGA. His philanthropic activities over the years have included Japan’s Tohoku tsunami recovery, projects with Make-a-Wish Foundation, and literacy advocacy. Besides speaking at numerous industry events and guest lecturing to students, Stu’s an avid endurance athlete who compares himself to the Energizer bunny sans ears, a very amateur composer, and an iPhone-photo-trigger-happy foodie.
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Stu believes very much in the age-old adages of karma and giving back to one's community. While philanthropical endeavors can take many shapes, Stu focuses on his true beliefs and pitches in wherever he can.
In the early days, Stu volunteered for the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) in Los Angeles, assisting abused immigrants in the area of family law. With TOKYOPOP, Stu was actively involved in two Make-a-Wish projects, one involving a tour of Japan's anime studios, and another involving the creation of an original manga. Both ended in tears, but bringing even a small amount of joy to such tragic circumstances is perhaps the most fulfilling of all charitable acts.
Stu has regularly donated TOKYOPOP manga to libraries across the U.S. as well as to The Kids' Wish Network, a non-profit foundation that deploys toys and books to hospital emergency rooms across the nation.
With the recent climate change, two natural disasters affected Stu on a deeply personal level -- the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku, Japan, and the November 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
On March 11, 2011, Japan’s Tohoku coastal region was destroyed by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and devastating tsunami that followed. PRAY FOR JAPAN takes place in the devastated region of Ishinomaki, Miyagi – the largest coastal city in Tohoku with a population of over 160,000 people. Stu filmed the tsunami aftermath during his trips to Tohoku as a volunteer and over a period of 6 weeks, captured over 50 hours of footage.
PRAY FOR JAPAN focuses on four key perspectives of the tragedy – School, Shelter, Family, and Volunteers. With each perspective we meet victims who faced significant obstacles and fought to overcome them. Through these four vantage points, the audience is able to understand the vast ramifications of this large-scale natural disaster – and the battle these real-life heroes fought on behalf of their loved ones and their hometown.
Losing loved ones cuts emotional scars which run deep.
We can help heal these wounds by paying tribute to the amazing resilience and quiet spirit of the many victims and volunteers of Tohoku. By letting them know we admire and respect them, we encourage them to continue the good fight – at a time when even the strongest warriors would grow weary. We also gain insight into how our own inner strength can help us if we ever find ourselves in a life-threatening situation.
We can all learn from these incredible heroes!
4thePhilippines is a grass-roots effort formed by Filipino-American writer/producer Eric Calderon for the purposes of relief efforts following the tragic loss of life and property caused by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) on Nov. 8th, 2013.
The YouTube channel was launched by Eric, together with Stu Levy (founder of TOKYOPOP; filmmaker of the documentary 'Pray for Japan' following the tragic 2011 tsunami in Tohoku, Japan).
You can help out by spreading the word about the channel, submitting your short video, either a simple message to the victims, or a showcase of your talent dedicated to the Philippines. Email to 4thePhilippines@gmail.com once you've made your video.
And, most important, if you have yet to DONATE please consider www.4thePhilippines.org, which currently has a partnership with NPO Operation USA (founded in 1979) through which all of its financial donations will flow directly to those in need in the Philippines.
Together we can help!!
TOUR DE TOHOKU is a fancy name for the 311 km bike ride Stu and a group of friends embarked upon in September 2013. The goal was to simply enjoy the gorgeous coastline of devastated Tohoku, Japan -- and to do what we could as simple tourists.
Since March 11, 2011 was the date of the tsunami, the term "3.11" means something significant in Japan. So, Stu and his friends also embarked on a trip symbolized by "311" - a 311 km bicycle ride from Kamaishi in Iwate, through Miyagi, and to Minami-Soma in Fukushima.
10 friends began the trip, and while only 4 made it to the very end (work and physical limitations interfered along the way), everyone had a wonderful time in Tohoku. The thought is to make this an annual pilgrimage, and whether or not it's possible every year, hopefully word will get out and others decide to enjoy the natural beauty of the Tohoku coast, and help support the local economy.
This photo journal shows off some of the trip's highlights.