The Catskills


With a trove of lost-and-found archival footage and a cast of characters endowed with the gift of gab, The Catskills journeys into the storied mountain getaway north of New York City that served as refuge for Jewish immigrants fleeing poverty as well as a lavish playground for affluent Jewish families. As bungalow colony proprietors, guests, waiters, comedians, hoteliers, and beauticians share colorful tales of Catskill farms, boarding houses, and luxury resorts, they paint a picture of vibrant American Jewish life and culture in the 20th century.

Phase of Support: Post-Production

Lex Gillespie

Lex Gillespie - Director

Director Lex Gillespie is a three time Peabody Award-winning public radio journalist-turned-filmmaker. The Catskills is his second film. His first, The Mamboniks (2019, 90 mins), explored the mambo craze of the 1950s. His features for public radio exposed dangerous jobs in garment factories on the US-Mexico border, chronicled the return of the sacred Blue Lake to the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, and told the story of a hip hop opera set in a Korean mom-and-pop corner store.

Project logline and bios courtesy of the grantees.