A Tree of Life


On Saturday, October 27th, 2018, a white supremacist, further radicalized by the political climate at the time, walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue with four semiautomatic assault weapons, shouting “all Jews must die.” He murdered eleven congregants, ranging in age from 54 to 97, as they prayed.

A Tree of Life creates a deeply personal portrait of the survivors, victims, and the victims’ family members of the Pittsburgh Synagogue attack, and brings into sharp focus the hate-based crisis that threatens our collective safety and democracy. Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, (referred to as “America’s Rabbi” following the Tree of Life attack) states: “It promotes a moral decay in humanity when you’re going to treat people as an “other” and think of them as less than human.” A Tree of Life challenges the narrowing definition of who should be considered an American and what kind of nation we want to be.

Phase of Support: Post-Production

Project Links

Trish Adlesic

Trish Adlesic - Director, Producer

Trish Adlesic, Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning producer/director teamed with Josh Fox and HBO to produce Gasland and Gasland II, which received an Academy Award nomination and won an Emmy. Gasland premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010. Gasland Part II premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013.

Trish co-directed with Geeta Gandbhir and co-produced I Am Evidence along with Mariska Hargitay about the alarming number of untested sexual assault kits in America. It premiered on HBO in April of 2018. I Am Evidence was awarded the prestigious duPont Columbia prize and was a Peabody finalist. I Am Evidence received two Emmy nominations, and won the Emmy Award for best documentary.

Trish has 20 years of experience working in narrative filmmaking with notable directors; Gus Van Sant, James L. Brooks, Michael Mann, Jim Sheridan and Sidney Lumet. She worked on the TV show Law & Order: SVU for 14 seasons.

Susan Margolin

Susan Margolin - Producer

Susan Margolin is a pioneer of digital distribution and a creator of independent films with 25+ years’ experience. Margolin co-founded film distributor New Video/Docurama Films in 1992 and ran the company until she sold it to Cinedigm in 2012. As Co-President she distributed critically acclaimed, award winning films including Destin Daniel Crettin’s Short Term 12 and Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s Academy Award nominated The Invisible War. In 2016 Margolin launched St. Marks Productions. She produced Nancy Buirski’s A Crime on the Bayou (Starz), The Rape of Recy Taylor (Starz), Alexandra Codina’s Paper Children (YouTube Originals), and Trish Adlesic’s Tree of Life and Executive Produced Judith Helfand’s Love and Stuff, Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbühl’s Obsessed With Light and Cheryl Miller Houser’s Generation Startup (Netflix). Margolin serves on the board of directors of Chicken & Egg, BAFTA NY (emerita), and the DPA. Margolin is a member of the PGA, BAFTA and AMPAS.

Project logline and bios courtesy of the grantees.