David Vassar

Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-Winning Writer, Director and Producer, David made his first film in Yosemite when he was 19 and spent three summers working as an interpretive ranger. In the 1970’s, he worked as a writer/director for the Film Unit at the Smithsonian Institution. In the 1990s, he was a primary director for UNSOLVED MYSTERIES on NBC.

In 2001 David wrote/directed the destination film for Yosemite National Park. Spirit of Yosemite continues to screen daily in the Parks’ visitor center. In 2003, David wrote/directed  SAVE OUR HISTORY – YELLOWSTONE, a History Channel special hosted by Roger Mudd. In 2016, as part of the National Park Centennial, the Smithsonian Institution/Environmental Film Festival presented a retrospective of David’s work. In 2018, David received the Wild & Scenic Film Festival John de Graff Award for his life-long commitment to environmental filmmaking.

David launched  Backcountry Pictures with producing partner Sally Kaplan in 2001  Together, they produced DISCOVER HETCH HETCHY (2006), an award-winning film hosted/narrated by Harrison Ford for the restoration of HETCH HETCHY; GRAND TETON VIDEO RIVERS (2006) the installation film for Grand Teton National Park’s visitor center; CALIFORNIA FOREVER which ran on PBS, nationally (2012-2016), EXQUISITE WASTELAND, a documentary in early production about the desert Southwest, and REFUGE (2016-2022) which served the successful campaign to prevent the military from expanding in Nevada’s Desert National Wildlife Refuge.