Ori Yardeni‘s feature film The Man Who Saved the Internet with a Sunflower, the true story of American entrepreneur Rob Ryan, was awarded the prestigious Competition Features Audience Award at the closing ceremony of Dances With Films 2024, held yesterday evening at TCL Theatres in Hollywood.

Ori & Irit Yardeni

The film had its world premiere on Friday, June 28, 2024, at 9:30 pm PST during Dances With Films, held from June 20-30th, 2024.

The film 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. 

“It’s an unbelievable story, about a formula for personal success that can be replicated by any entrepreneur, in any field.   The fact that the audience chose our movie as the favorite feature film at the festival proves that when you tell a real good story without cinematic effects and tricks, on a topic that concerns each of the viewers, the audience will connect with it,” comments Yardeni. 

He adds, “This is a film that does not come only to entertain, but to give each of the viewers a gift of life, a real and applicable tool for real and imperfect people.”

Joining Ori and Irit Yardeni at a special reception held prior to the world premiere were Rob and Terry Ryan, former Apple CFO Joseph A. Graziano and his wife Betty Graziano, E! founder Larry Namer, South Carolina Congressman JA Moore, and many others, including distributors and media.

Larry Namer with Rob & Terry Ryan

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 decision-making formula and tool to discover one’s true vocation, revolutionized the Internet and continues to inspire aspiring entrepreneurs.

A brilliant mathematician with a tumultuous job history in Silicon Valley including winning Intel engineer of the year award for the standardization of the early Ethernet. After resigning from Intel, he founded the world largest 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 Silicon Vally 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 threats.

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 Shimon, most known for his work on the TV series ZIGI, HaTachana, Katmandu starring Gal Gadot, and Wild Horses for Israel’s HOT Cable Broadcasting, and his feature film The Women’s Balcony (Toronto Festival),  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.

Nicole Muj, Betty Graziano, Pascale Fortunat, Terry Ryan, Joseph A. Graziano

Website: https://www.themenwhosavetheintrenet.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61555943720821

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/themanwhosavedtheinternetfilm

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, New York, 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, and a few years later the company was sold for $24 billion. 

 Kate Elfatah’s recent review.