Israeli filmmaker Ori Yardeni‘s newest work The Man Who Saved the Internet with a Sunflower, the true story of American entrepreneur Rob Ryan, is set to embark on its global film-festival run. It recounts the dramatic story of Rob Ryan, the ultimate entrepreneur, who saved the Internet from collapsing in the 1990s, transformed the lives of all of us in every field, and today is trying to save the Internet from itself.
The first in a planned trilogy, the captivating dramedy explores the future of technology and humanity, delving into the untold story of Ryan, an innovative engineer and mentor whose Sunflower Code, a tool to discover one’s true vocation, revolutionized the Internet and continues to inspire aspiring entrepreneurs.
“I am thrilled to finally bring Rob Ryan’s amazing story and life journey to global film audiences,” comments Yardeni. “The fact that the film is about someone who saved the Internet from collapsing, who now is trying to save the same Internet from itself and the diseases it has brought with it, such as bullying, shaming and fake content, is an important distinction. The film places the spotlight on the negative aspects of the Internet, and its message is extremely relevant today, with AI only contributing to this growing problem.”
A brilliant mathematician with a tumultuous job history in Silicon Valley, Ryan founded an innovative videoconferencing venture. Despite its roaring success, investors demanded a fresh product. In response, Ryan birthed the Sunflower Code, and he and his team rallied to rescue the Internet during its downturn in the 1990s. After making the company public, Ryan faced termination, yet the business fetched a staggering 24 billion dollars. Undeterred, Ryan harnessed the Sunflower Code to spawn three powerhouse companies, clinching the prestigious “Entrepreneur of the Year Award.” Today, he is a mentor to young entrepreneurs and is dedicated to combating online challenges, including bullying, fake news and AI.
The feature, filmed in Serbia during the pandemic, stars British actor Martin Delaney (Zero Dark Thirty, Flags Of Our Fathers, Beowulf and Grendel, Now You See Me 2) in the role of Rob Ryan, with Leo Hatton as Ryan’s wife Terry (H&M by Wes Anderson), as well as Troy Hewitt (Rye Lane), Michael Curran-Dorsano (Django, The Last Ship), and Sophie Hopkins (Dr. Who’s spin-off Class from BBC).
Global media entrepreneur and creator Ori Yardeni co-directed the film and co-wrote its screenplay. Not only a filmmaker or entrepreneur, Yardeni is known as the ‘stORIteller,’ who weaves fantastical worlds and impactful narratives with cutting-edge technology. Yardeni is most recognized for his innovative work in the field of immersive cinema, including making 700 different 3D, 4D, 6D movies, Interactive Cinema and Imageless Cinema. He has received several awards for his films and has registered 45 innovations in the field of media and technology. Yardeni has also created License to Dream, a collaboration with Ryan, to equip teenagers with the tools and mindset to become successful entrepreneurs and social leaders.
Emil Ben Shimeon, most known for his work on the TV series ZIGI, HaTachana, The Women’s Balcony, and Wild Horses for Israel’s HOT Cable Broadcasting, co-directed the film. Einat Glazer-Zarhin edited the film, and the screenplay is written by Oren Safdie, Izhar Har-Lev and Yardeni. Kobi-Hoffman of Jiminy Creative is executive producer.
About Rob Ryan: Rob Ryan is an American businessman and entrepreneur, best known as a co-founder and former CEO of Ascend Communications, which was ultimately acquired by Lucent Technologies. Ryan has authored two books with his lessons about startup companies. Raised in the Bronx, N.Y., Ryan received a scholarship to attend Cornell University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969. He married his Cornell classmate, Terry Wehe Ryan the same year.
Ryan began his career as a systems analyst with Burroughs Corporation He then worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory a federally-funded research facility. Ryan subsequently worked at Digital Equipment Corporation and Intel where he worked on Ethernet protocols including the “blue book” which would form the basis for IEEE 802.3 His final job before founding his first company was a stint at Ungermann-Bass, another pioneer in computer networking. In 1983, Ryan founded Softcom, Inc. to make Ethernet cards. When the company faced cash flow problems, Ryan sold Softcom to Hayes Microcomputer Products in 1984 and worked there as head of their West Coast division until 1988.
Ryan departed Hayes Micro along with four talented engineers and with his wife Terry. With $3 million in venture capital funding, they founded Aria Communication Inc. in 1989, with Ryan as CEO, to make ISDN equipment. The name was changed to Ascend Communications the next year, as the company transitioned to focus on equipment for Internet providers. By 1994, profits reached $8.7 million on sales of $39.3 million; a few years later, the company was sold for $24 billion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Ryan_(entrepreneur)