LOS ANGELES – Jewish Story Partners (JSP), a Los Angeles-based non-profit film funding organization, announced its third round of grantees today, with $468,000 in new grants distributed among 16 projects. JSP, which launched just one year ago with an ambitious vision to stimulate and support the highest caliber independent Jewish films, plans to disburse more than $850,000 in 2022.
JSP responds to a glaring gap in funding for independent Jewish films, as well as the pressing need for films to reflect the full spectrum of Jewish experiences, cultures, and encounters. In addition to providing monetary support to projects, Jewish Story Partners also offers a continuum of support—providing filmmakers advisory services at critical points in their process. JSP is led by award-winning filmmaker Roberta Grossman, who serves as Producing Director; and veteran film festival programmer, former Sundance Catalyst director, and producer Caroline Libresco, who serves as Artistic Director.
“As a people, we’re hardwired for stories; so it’s fitting that there be a robust fund to support Jewish stories—whether they preserve historical memory, re-cast familiar narratives, surprise with new ideas and juxtapositions, confront difficult realities, or breach formal frontiers. By expanding the Jewish story, we more accurately reflect the spectrum of who we are today and energize conversations that are vital to a democratic, open, and pluralistic society,” said Grossman and Libresco.
A number of JSP-funded films are already set to reach audiences. Last Flight Home, filmmaker Ondi Timoner’s profound film about her father’s life and conscious death, premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, was acquired by MTV Documentary Films, and will be released theatrically this fall. Daniel Raim’s critically-acclaimed documentary, Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen, about the making of Norman Jewison’s 1971 film Fiddler on the Roof, was recently acquired and released in U.S. theaters by Zeitgeist Films / Kino Lorber. It has a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Additionally, two JSP supported projects will debut at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival: Tessa Louise-Salomé’s The Wild One, about Holocaust survivor Jack Garfein, whose personal tragedy drove his work as a theatre and film director; and Pratibha Parmar’s My Name is Andrea, about Andrea Dworkin, one of the most brilliant and controversial figures of 20th century feminism.
The third round of JSP grants announced today includes powerful new stories from award-winning filmmakers including Michel Franco, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, Julia Mintz, Pierre Sauvage, Jason Osder, William Youmans, and Joshua Zeman. Learn more about the Spring 2022 grantee slate here: jewishstorypartners.org/projects.
The selections jury for the Spring 2022 funding round included filmmaker Julie Cohen (Julia, My Name is Pauli Murray, RBG, The Sturgeon Queens), filmmaker Dawn Porter (John Lewis: Good Trouble, The Way I See It, Bobby Kennedy for President, Trapped) and Stephen Smith, CEO of StoryFile and former executive director of USC Shoah Foundation. The jury released the following statement:
“These extraordinary films in progress traverse a rich variety of Jewish experiences–from stories that trouble us deeply to those that inspire and delight us. Artful, profound, and often unexpected, they celebrate the vitality and complexity of Jewish lives and cultures. These are movies we’d want to see even if we hadn’t served on this jury and we can’t wait to see them completed.”
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 July 14, 2022. 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.
JSP is grateful to our donor partners who make this vital work possible. These include founding JSP partners Righteous Persons Foundation and Maimonides Fund, and (in alphabetical order): Jennifer and Grant Dinner, Adam Irving, Jim Joseph Foundation, The Klarman Family Foundation, Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Films, Kronhill Pletka Foundation, Koret Foundation, Mara Burros Sandler – Be Forward Productions, and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies.
Adam J. Segal of The 2050 Group – Publicity