Topher Straus is the CEO and founder of Reel Dreams LLC, a Denver-based independent film production company that produces and develops narrative and documentary films, and commercial advertisements.
Straus formed his affinity for entertainment and embarked on his path to artistry as a teenager. He performed in a regional children’s theatre company and worked as on-air talent for Tribune Broadcasting’s “The Two Bits Club.” As a young adult, Straus became increasingly captivated by the flurry of activity taking place behind the lens.
Topher enrolled in Syracuse University's prestigious film program. Straus taught improvisational comedy to elementary kids while attending school. He was awarded the "Chandlers Award for Creative Service," in recognition of his time spent teaching young people. Straus also began painting large acrylic pieces to explore the relationship between frame and color composition.
In 1997, Straus graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts. He headed to Hollywood, where he became assistant to the late Academy Award lifetime achievement winning director, Robert Altman.
Straus' films have appeared in numerous international film festivals. Straus' feature directorial debut, "Extra: In The Background Of A Dream," was a darkly humorous documentary feature about movie extras. It was an Official Selection at both the Santa Monica International Film Festival and the Rome Independent Film Festival. Reel Dreams has produced several films including a zany Richard Elfman comedy that debuted during the Sundance Film Festival and an award winning USC 35mm Graduate Project that debuted at the Director's Guild of America. In 2007, Straus won a "Remi Award" at the Houston Worldfest for his dramatic short film, "The Attackmen."
Straus also studied comedy improvisation for five years at the world-famous The Groundlings Theatre & School. Later that year, he moved to the picturesque South Island of New Zealand and opened a high-end, boutique commercial production house. He created and directed two national advertising campaigns, along with a series of successful spec spots. Straus also taught comedy improvisation workshops in New Zealand and was interviewed by Radio New Zealand for his "sense of mirth."
In 2012, Straus moved back home to Denver, where he is wrapping up post-production on his 14 year project "Happy is Life." The documentary film chronicles a homeless father and daughter's life on the streets of Venice Beach, California.
Topher, also an accomplished visual artist, has most recently released his series of extremely modern digital art printed onto 4x6' aluminum sheets. His pieces range from chaotic and intense portraits to socially-relevant collages.
Reel Dreams is beginning pre-production for Straus' third feature film, "4:20" an improvisational mockumentary to be filmed in Denver mid-2017.