LOS ANGELES – Jewish Story Partners (JSP), a Los Angeles-based non-profit film funding organization, announced its fourth round of grantees today, with $550,000 in new grants distributed among 20 documentary films. JSP, which launched in April 2021 with support from Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation, has an ambitious vision to stimulate and support the highest caliber independent Jewish films.
JSP also announced plans to increase its annual giving to $1.3 million in 2023 (on top of total grants of $1 million in 2022 and $500,000 in 2021).
JSP responds to the wide gap in funding for independent Jewish films, as well as to the pressing need for films that reflect the full spectrum of Jewish experiences, cultures, and encounters. In addition to supporting projects financially, JSP offers a continuum of support—providing filmmakers with advisory services at critical points in their process.
“When we launched JSP, we were responding to a glaring gap in funding for independent Jewish films. Now, as age-old antisemitic conspiracy theories proliferate across 21st century platforms, our mission to support films that tell complex and diverse Jewish stories seems more urgent than ever. Film, which inherently humanizes, is a shield against the weapon of reductive prejudice,” said JSP Co-Executive Directors Roberta Grossman and Caroline Libresco.
The fourth round of JSP grants, announced today, includes powerful new documentaries from award-winning producers, directors, and artists including Kirstine Barfod, Abner Benaim, Jeff Bieber, Joan Churchill, David Fisher, Oren Rudavsky, Regina Spektor, and Femke Wolting. Learn more about our grantees here: jewishstorypartners.org/projects.
The jury for the Fall 2022 funding round included independent film executive Claire Aguilar (ITVS, IDA, Sheffield Film Festival), producer Ina Fichman (Fire of Love, The Oslo Diaries), and filmmaker Lacey Schwartz Delgado (Black x Jewish, The Loving Generation, Little White Lie).
The jury released the following statement: “Films that showcase the variety and complexity of Jewish experiences provide a needed counterpoint to reductive, headline-grabbing antisemitism. These exciting films, from a remarkable group of filmmakers, inspire provocative and passionate conversations about Jewish perspectives and intersectional identities, and the infinite creative possibilities in documentary storytelling.”
Among the excellent projects supported in past JSP funding cycles, are films from such highly respected filmmakers as Kate Amend (Judy Chicago Untitled), Sandi DuBowski (Rabbi), Amber Fares and Rachel Leah Jones (Coexistence My Ass!), Michel Franco (New Mistakes), Luke Lorentzen (Spiritual Care Documentary (Untitled)), Marilyn Ness (Post Mortem), Pratibha Parmar (My Name is Andrea), Maxim Pozdorovkin (The Conspiracy), Pierre Sauvage (And Crown Thy Good), Joey Soloway (South Commons), and Dan Sturman (Four Winters, The Liegnitz Plot).
A number of JSP-funded films are reaching audiences. Maxim Pozdorovkin’s The Conspiracy and Valerie Kontakos’ Queen of the Deuce are both premiering at DOC NYC this month. After launching at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Ondi Timoner’s Last Flight Home, about her father’s life and conscious death, is currently in release by MTV Films; amongst a litany of spectacular reviews, The New York Times published a feature about the Timoner family’s evolving relationship with the film and its ultimate catharsis. Trish Adlesic’s A Tree of Life: The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting, which The Hollywood Reporter described as “an act of love toward humanity,” aired on HBO in October, and Julia Mintz’s myth-shattering Four Winters was released theatrically in September and hailed by Ms. Magazine as “stunning.” This spring, Daniel Raim’s Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen, called “gleefully reverent” by The New York Times, was released in theaters by Zeitgeist/Kino Lorber, while Pratibha Parmar’s My Name is Andrea and Tessa Louise-Salomé’s The Wild One bowed at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival.
Additionally, JSP announced that an open call for entries for its next funding round has opened for feature-length documentaries by U.S.-based producers and/or directors. Applications are due January 13, 2023. JSP accepts submissions via two open calls per year, with juried decisions made in spring and fall. Filmmakers may learn more here: jewishstorypartners.org/apply.
Jewish Story Partners is grateful to our donor partners who make this vital work possible. These include founding partners Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation, Maimonides Fund, Jim Joseph Foundation, and (in alphabetical order): Stephanie and Jon DeVaan, Adam Irving, The Klarman Family Foundation, Koret Foundation, Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Films, Kronhill Pletka Foundation, Julie Platt, Mara Burros Sandler – Be Forward Productions, Chara Schreyer, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.
Adam J. Segal of The 2050 Group – Publicity