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photo caption: (left to right) Noah Mark, Gabe Dauer, David H. Price, Levi C. Maaia

Levi C. Maaia and Noah Mark of Maaia Mark Productions took home awards in four categories at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards (LAIFFA) for their documentary feature “Pathways to Invention.” The film, which was funded in part by the Lemelson-MIT Program and The Lemelson Foundation, explores the workshops, garages, laboratories and offices of accomplished inventors in the fields of materials, software, hardware, biotech and agriculture with an eye toward understanding the tools and traits of both successful invention and entrepreneurship. 

LAIFFA recognized the film as the season’s best documentary feature, Mark and Maaia as best producers, Maaia as best director of a documentary feature, and composers Michael Mark and Jon Cobert’s best original musical score.

“We all have the power in our minds and hands to shape the world,” said Maaia. “However, even the most accomplished makers and creators often hesitate to identify as inventors. We hope that ‘Pathways to Invention’ will inspire people to think about the ways in which they can create new ways of thinking about solutions in their own lives.”

The film features ten Lemelson-MIT Student Prize-winning invention teams in six cities across the United States and features narrative from David Moinina Sengeh, the Sierra Leone education minister and chief innovation officer for the West African nation’s directorate of science, technology and innovation.

In addition to the film’s recognition at LAIFFA, it has also picked up nods from Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival and Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival. 

Mark is an award-winning showrunner, producer, writer and director. He has produced series for broadcast and cable television networks including ABC, Fox, Fox Sports, Discovery, Food Network, National Geographic Channel, and Comedy Central as well as streaming platforms Netflix and Hulu. He produced and directed the short film “Reconnecting with Reality,” part of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) series “25 Years in Short,” which was nominated for a Sports Emmy Award.

Maaia spent more than a decade in the cable television industry where he was the recipient of a Cablefax Top Op award for his executive leadership. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in education at the University of California, Santa Barbara before joining once again with Mark last year to co-found Maaia Mark Productions, a Los Angeles-based film and TV production company focused on telling stories of innovative people doing extraordinary things.

More information about the film’s availability may be found at