Bonnie Rich, Director
Bonnie's passion is telling stories through video and she’s been a director, producer, and writer for almost 20 years. Her work ranges from personal narratives to corporate video, with stories that have heart as the common thread.
Bonnie has produced two documentary web series, as well as videos for websites, online courses, social media, corporate events, and fundraising galas. Previous to launching B. Rich Media, Bonnie held a leadership role in the Office of Marketing at University of Maryland University College (UMUC). As UMUC’s director of video services, she managed the studio, produced TV ads and developed an online video strategy featuring student, faculty, and corporate partner stories. Her work has won a number of awards.
Bonnie started her career as a mechanical engineer but soon discovered she’d prefer to work with people rather than design machines. So she earned a Master’s in College Student Personnel and moved into the field of higher education. Here she advised students on their career goals and advanced into academic administration and marketing.
For almost 20 years, I have been making short, funny films starring my family. Life is Rich is my first feature length film and was inspired by my desire to share my grandfather's oral history with my children. They never met him, and I wanted to share how his love of Judaism is intertwined with his story of immigrating to America.
Back in early 1970’s, my mother sat down with my grandfather— Zayde Abe—and a cassette recorder to capture his story. In a heavy Yiddish accent, he told of his childhood growing up in a farming village in Russia. Synagogue was the center of his life, and he was heartbroken when the Bolsheviks shut it down in 1920. Soon after his family escaped to America.
As I delved into Zayde Abe’s story, I also found myself talking to my 20-something daughters about their connection to Judaism. One day, as we discussed the religious obligation of Judaism, I half-jokingly asked, “You’re going to raise my unborn grandchildren Jewish, right?” No one was pregnant. I’m just a planner. First there was dead silence. Then my daughters looked at each other and gently said, “Religion doesn’t seem relevant.”
That shook me. It made me look at my own connection to Judaism. I realized I had been on Jewish autopilot for years. How could I find a path to love Judaism the way my zayde did? And how could I drag my daughters along with me? I searched for meaningful ways to connect to Judaism, while attempting to force each joyful discovery on my daughters. And I filmed it all. And so, while I still don’t have grandchildren, Life is Rich was born.
My hope is others can laugh and learn from my missteps, and my successes. And that the film can start conversations across generations, build community, and maybe, get you to call your mother.