Putting Film to Work

Rescue Doc Films was created in 2013 by Josh Gildrie and Michael Samstag and is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) founded on the principle of putting film to work.  Through the creation of media focused on the discovery and sharing of life-experiences that educate, inspire and entertain, our mission is to present — via documentaries and other forms of video — methods and practices aimed toward mitigating human and animal suffering.  The result is an expanding series of films and videos of people making a difference and being the exemplars for a healthier world.

In addition to documentary films, Rescue Docs also specializes in putting film to work for non-profits. From fundraising videos to awareness campaigns, we can help your organization make the most of any media budget.

Michael Samstag | Director & Co-Founder

Best known for his work directing and producing special features for the first three Harry Potter DVDs and the Van Helsing DVD, Samstags’ work on Van Helsing was featured in an article by American Cinematographer Magazine and the making of WAR & TRUTH won the Annapolis Film Festival in 2005 and his latest documentary, A SOUTHERN FIX won Best Film at the Animal Film Festival in 2018.

His documentary feature film, WAR & TRUTH, won Best Documentary at the Annapolis Film Festival in November 2005. His documentary, JUST GOT BACK chronicles Darryl Worley’s last trip to Iraq in 2010 and was honored with an Excellence in Media Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution. Samstag is the Founder of the Scruffy City Film & Music Festival and is the proud parent of five rescue dogs.

Josh Gildrie | Writer & Co-Founder

Josh Gildrie has been a journeyman. Following college, he joined Actor’s Equity while in New York, received his Masters in English from Ball State and finished his schooling with a Master of Theological Study from Harvard Divinity.

Josh returned to Tennessee and began working in all levels of production. He story-edited two television shows airing on Nickelodeon and Esquire Network, won a Silver Addy for his work with YWCA’s Tribute to Women, wrote and directed PSA’s with Billy Bob Thornton and Randy Travis, worked on numerous regional and national commercials, and just finished his fourth documentary, A Southern Fix.

Josh is a proud, adoptive parent of two chihuahua mixes, Doc and Mugs, and one skeptical Great Dane named Walter.

Elizabeth McGovern | Executive Producer

Attorney, Investor, Executive Producer. Elizabeth shifted from a business environment and work in philanthropy to spending her next chapter in the world of films. She has always had a passion for documentary style filmmaking and enjoys working to help people tell their real life stories to entertain, to educate and to inspire.  Elizabeth is focused on utilizing her background in venture capital investments and grassroots development to bring new opportunities and connections for independent educational films.   

Megan Bowman | VP of Marketing

Megan Bowman, CFRE, is the founder and owner of Bowman Development Solutions, LLC. Her consulting practice is based in Atlanta and focuses on the areas of nonprofit management, media, and philanthropy. She has a strong and respected reputation nationally for her work with a variety of non-profit clients, both large and small. Through her efforts, Megan has helped organizations enhance their brand awareness and raise millions of dollars to support nonprofit missions that matter. A true humanitarian at heart, Megan is a Certified Fundraising Executive who cares deeply about supporting social impact causes that positively affect the welfare and well-being of both children and animals. She is a proud wife, mother, and animal rescue advocate. 


Paul Jones, Music Composer

Karl Ricker, Graphic Designer

Dustin Tuccillo, Field Audio & Web Designer

Bonnie Lotesto, Photographer & Associate Producer

Alli Gale, Marketing Intern


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