Our Story


The collaboration between Terry Spencer Hesser and Melissa Sage Fadim began in the late 80s, on an award-winning film teaching 11-year-olds how to protect themselves against HIV infection, which was narrated by UNICEF Ambassador and cultural icon Audrey Hepburn. Melissa funded the film that was written, directed, and produced by Terry. The pair’s marriage of uniquely dissimilar sensibilities yet similar spirits was a success. Since then, the two have gone on to produce eight more educational and unique programs on topics ranging from inner city education to dance to obsessive compulsive disorder.

This travel series began with an exploration of Michigan’s fabled Mackinac Island – an offbeat look at the people who help create and maintain the carefree and car-free dreamscape that draws a million tourists a year to this tiny seasonal Midwestern vacation destination.

Once the Mackinac Island piece was finished, Melissa began to wonder: how many more islands in the world were car-free? And what modes of transport were used instead? And who lived there? And was it an idyllic existence? And how did that affect community? Individuality? Cooperation? Courtesy?

With those initial musings, we began our series on “Islands Without Cars” to explore other car-free or car-limited landmasses surrounded by water and populations that have managed to retain cultures and ways of life lost to 21st century mainlanders.

Hosted by comedian and actress Kira Cook, each program introduces the people, the history and the natural beauty of each place in an inimitably casual and lighthearted way – like travelling with your new funny, smart, and spontaneous best friend.