Julie Koester is a voracious researcher, 28 year vegan veteran and ambassador of health and wellness.  Holding a Masters degree in Psychology from Columbia University in NY and finalizing her dissertation for her Ph.D. in Public Health, Julie has been focusing on the mother-child dyad and food association for over two decades.


Having experienced a single eye-opening and tragic lunchroom experience while with her kindergarten daughter at her daughter’s elementary school, the realization of how painfully disregarded food choices have become was so overwhelming, she was obligated to commit to making a difference.


Her dissertation work, still in progress, has lead her to the profound understanding of women as the single most powerful drivers of health and wellness in America, based explicitly on food purchases.


Hard to Swallow is the realization of that commitment.



Tim VandeSteeg is an award-winning and passionate Producer, Director and CEO of Indiewood Pictures. Tim has over a decade and a half of experience and success in documentary and narrative motion pictures and developing branded content. 


In 2010, Tim directed and produced the 10-time award-winning and inspirational documentary MY RUN, narrated by Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thornton, which after making a positive impact on the film festival circuit the film opened in over 500+ movie theaters nationwide in 140 of the top US cities. 


With Tim’s next film, he produced the 10-time award-winning documentary THE EYES OF THAILAND, narrated by Ashley Judd.  The inspirational film was awarded the prestigious “ACE Film Grant” from the Humane Society of the United States and had the honor to screen at the International Campaign to Ban Landmines in Switzerland.  Most recently, Tim produced the Midsouth Emmy Award-winning documentary HUNGER IN AMERICA, narrated by James Denton (Desperate Housewives). 



Sergio Valenzuela is an award-winning Director, Editor, and recent Silver Telly Award winner for his documentary, MY STRUGGLE. Sergio has edited numerous award-winning documentaries, most recently the MIdsouth Emmy Award winner, HUNGER IN AMERICA by Skydive Films, in association with Casting Life Films Indiewood Pictures and Blue Conduit Films. 

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