Working alongside Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell of Optimistic Productions is a family of vodka fiends all bringing their own unique skills and personality to the project.


Dan Edelstyn

Dan is an independent film-maker and musician. He has almost no experience in business. Why’s he doing this again?




Hilary Powell
Hilary is an artist and film-maker and brings her visionary practice to the production of the revolutionary Ukraine of 1917 making cities and buildings in miniature and gathering the costumes and props that make their micro budget world come to life. She is also the documentary cinematographer, acts as Grandmother Maroussia and during this collaborative labour of love has given birth to her and Dan’s lovely daughter Esmé Edelstyn.


Christopher Hird

Christopher is an exec producer. Credits include the hardhitting and successful documentaries Black Gold and The End of the Line,both of which have played at Sundance festival. He is director of Dartmouth Films, was founding chair of the Channel 4 Documentary Foundation and is Trustee of the Grierson Trust and Wincott Foundation.


Rachel Wexler
Rachel is an exec producer on Vodka Empire. She established Bungalow Town Productions in 2004 with Jez Lewis and has produced many award winning films including Marc Isaacs’ excellent All White In Barking, as well as the earlier Phillip and His Seven Wives, both for BBC Storyville. Rachel has also recently produced Julie Moggan’s Guilty Pleasures, Jez Lewis’s Shed Your Tears and Walk Away as well as the wonderful Garbage Warrior and The English Surgeon.


Danielle DiGiacomoDanielle DiGiacomo
Danielle DiGiacomo is our American co-producer. Based in New York City, she was one of 6 producers selected to attend the 2011 Sundance Institute’s Creative Producing Lab, where she was the Mark Silverman Honoree. She worked for 5 years as Head of Documentary Acquisitions for IndiePix Films, building up the documentary feature catalogue and spearheading successful multi-platform releases.. She also developed and produced the first and second annual Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Film, and Associate Produced two documentary features, Jennifer Venditti’s BILLY THE KID (Best Documentary Feature, L.A. Film Festival 2007, South by Southwest 2007) and Samantha Buck’s 21 BELOW.

Simon Ball
Simon is our post production and effects specialist working on the animations that will form part of the Vodka Empire Film. Check out his work here:



Matt Witt
Matt is our web designer working on the design of this website and Optimistic Productions. Matt also runs hs own web design business called gooddesigner and edits, writes, draws and blogs for arts magazine



Andrew Skeet
Andrew has composed a fantastic soundtrack for the film and is one of London’s most sought after orchestrators and arrangers. He has worked with many different artists and regularly conducts London’s top session musicians. His own composition uses classical and cinematic orchestration with synths, drum machines and samplers. Andrew has composed over 50 scores for television and film with Luke Gordon as Roxbury Music and played in major venues all over Europe touring as MD and keyboard player with bands such as The Divine Comedy and Ladyhawke.



John Mister
John Mister came on board and has created a fantastic edit weaving together the documentary ,drama and archive that make up the final film. He graduated from The London Film School in 1972 and early credits as an assistant editor included both Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Life of Brian. As an editor John has worked with Nick Broomfield (Driving Me Crazy, The Leader) Kim Longinotto (Hidden Faces, Dream Girls) and Saul Dibb (Lifters, Bullet Boy). Recent credits include Moving To Mars, The Battle for Barking, The Sound of Mumbai and McQueen & I.



Gina Boreham
Gina has recently joined the team after working with Dan and Hilary organising the various Optimistic Immigrants events they have held during the making of the film. She is indispensable as the vodka gains momentum organising everything from office life to meetings out on the London bar scene. She also acts in the film, is a talented singer and has introduced us to many amazing musicians including the band she manages Dunajska Kapelye.


Maito Jobbe Duval
Maito is an artist and all round creative able to turn her hand to the varied jobs this project has entailed with skill, speed enthuasiasm, imagination and organisation. She has worked on making the models and props with Hilary and continues to work with us as more visual flair is needed in the design and dressing of the vodkamobile and events.

As this project has spanned documentary journeys, archival research, dramatic film shoots and vodka production there are many many more who have been involved from the start and at various stages along the way who we just can’t thank enough and hope that we have remembered them all in the film credits from cast to crew, translators, funders, supporters, vodka club members, investors, friends and family THANK YOU!