Death and Taxes


Death and Taxes is a feature documentary about wealth, inequality and the American Dream, viewed through the lens of the estate tax and the very personal story of a father and son at odds over what kind of inheritance we want to leave our kids and our country.

Phase of Support: Post-Production

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Justin Schein

Justin Schein - Director, Producer

Justin Schein has been making character-driven documentaries for 30 years. His most recent film, Left On Purpose (2016), which won the Audience Award at DOCNYC, recounts his friendship with an aging anti-war activist who has decided his last political act will be to take his own life. His 2009 film No Impact Man premiered at Sundance and screened around the world. As a cinematographer, he has shot over 60 films for broadcasters including HBO, Nat Geo, BBC, Discovery, and PBS, taking him from the White House to Iraq with Kofi Annan to Ground Zero in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Most recently, Schein was cinematographer on Crip Camp (Netflix), produced by the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions, which won the Audience Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and in 2021 was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Documentary Feature. Justin received his Masters Degree in Documentary Film from Stanford University and co-founded Shadowbox Films in 1998.

Bob Edwards

Bob Edwards - Co-Director and Producer

Robert Edwards is a graduate of Stanford’s MA program in Documentary Film. As a screenwriter he has written for directors such as Bennett Miller, Antoine Fuqua, and Mark Romanek, as well as for HBO, Warners, Fox, Sony, Paramount, Plan B, and many others. His political satire Land of the Blind (2006) won a Nicholl Fellowship from AMPAS and became his directorial debut, starring Ralph Fiennes and Donald Sutherland. His latest narrative was When I Live My Life Over Again starring Christopher Walken and Amber Heard. His 2001 documentary short The Voice of the Prophet was shown at Sundance, Toronto, Human Rights Watch, and numerous other festivals. His feature documentaries (with partner Ferne Pearlstein) include Sumo East and West (2004) and The Last Laugh (2016), starring Mel Brooks and Sarah Silverman, both of which premiered at Tribeca and were broadcast nationwide on PBS’s Independent Lens.

Yael Melamede

Yael Melamede - Producer

Yael Melamede is a co-founder of SALTY Features – an independent production company based in New York City whose goal is to create media that is vital and enhances the world, like salt. Melamede’s producer credits include: the documentary film Inocente, directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine; Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, written and directed by John Krasinski, based on the book by David Foster Wallace; The Inner Life of Martin Frost, written and directed by Paul Auster; and My Architect, directed by Nathaniel Kahn and nominated for an Academy Award in 2004. Melamede was trained and worked as an architect before becoming a filmmaker.

Project logline and bios courtesy of the grantees.