Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Film

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Read an overview of the film program, application guidelines, and further information about the grant here.

2013 Kroll Film Fund Grantee Recipients

Thanks to a pledge of $100,000 in direct grants from the Righteous Persons Foundation (RPF), The Foundation for Jewish Culture convened a panel in January 2014 and selected four projects to receive awards from the Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Film.  Each project will receive a $25,000 grant from RPF to support post-production. This year the Foundation received 90 completed applications from around the world.

The 2013 grantees include:

Bialik: King of the Jews by Yair Qedar

 One hundred thousand people—25% of the Jewish community in Palestine—attended his funeral in 1934. His poems electrified generations, making him the most innovative reviver of Hebrew culture from Odessa to Berlin to Tel-Aviv. Who was Haim Nachman Bialik, and why was he known as “King of the Jews?” Interweaving the wise words of contemporary Jewish scholars and writers with cutting-edge animation and poignant archival footage and the mesmerizing first-person narration of Haim Topol, King of the Jews retraces the footsteps and revisits the legacy of the most beloved Jew of his day.

Yair Qedar, is an Israeli documentary filmmaker, civil-rights activist and cultural critic. His academic training in 20th century Hebrew literature (Tel Aviv University) prepared and propelled him into his life’s work: The Hebrews, a transmedia project on the Hebrew literary canon. His two previous films, The Five Houses of Lea Goldberg and The Seven Tapes of Yona Wallach, aired on Israeli TV, circulated far and wide in Israel’s cinematheques, community centers and cultural centers, garnering several prestigious awards.

Mr. Gaga by Tomer Heymann

The internationally-acclaimed Israeli artist Ohad Naharin developed GAGA, a movement language perceived as one of the dance world’s most significant innovations in the last decade. He has won almost every conceivable award, but the man that was described by the New York Times as “one of the most important choreographers in the world”, remains enigmatic. Now, he opens his studio doors and his heart to the acclaimed documentary filmmaker Tomer Heymann.

Tomer Heymann has won major awards at prestigious film festivals including his debut film It Kinda Scares Me. Paper Dolls won three awards at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival and the audience’s award at the Los Angeles Festival. The film and TV series Bridge over the Wadi, co-produced with ITVS, won the Israeli Documentary Film competition, participated in IDFA’s prestigious competition. Tomer’s eight-part series The Way Home was broadcasted by the Yes Doco Channel in Israel and won the best documentary series award at the 2009 Jerusalem International Film Festival. 

Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa by Abby Ginzberg

Albie Sachs has dedicated his life to the struggle to end apartheid. Soft Vengeance paints a portrait of this white, Jewish, South African lawyer and Constitutional Court judge, who was targeted by South African military intelligence while in exile in Mozambique, causing him to lose his right arm in a car bomb attack. Yet, he remained steadfast in his belief that his “soft vengeance” would be the creation of freedom and democracy in South Africa, and today he is an advocate for principles of reconciliation, justice and equality around the world.

Abby Ginzberg has been producing documentaries for over 25 years that have been shown in film/video festivals and broadcast on public television. She is the Consulting Producer on The Barber of Birmingham, a short documentary which premiered at Sundance in 2011 and was nominated for a 2012 Academy Award® in the Short Documentary category.

The Zionist Idea by Joe Dorman and Oren Rudavsky

The Zionist Idea will be a three-hour documentary film exploration of one of the most influential political ideologies of the modern era and one of the most controversial. Originating in Europe in the late 19th century, Zionism was born out of the Jewish confrontation with modernity along with the renewed persecution of Jews throughout Europe. Zionism and Israel, are subject to fierce argument, distortion, and often lethal controversy. Now more than ever as the Middle East plays a central role in world politics, it is crucial for Americans to better understand Zionism’s meaning, history and future.

Joseph Dorman, (Producer/Director/Writer) is a winner of the George Foster Peabody Award for excellence. His latest film, Kroll Film Fund-supported Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness was one of 2011’s most acclaimed and highest-grossing documentaries. He also directed the Kroll Film Fund-supported documentary, Arguing the World which concerns the sixty-­year political journey of the eminent political writers and thinkers, Daniel Bell, Irving Howe, Irving Kristol and Nathan Glazer. He also cowrote the script of the documentary blockbuster, The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Journey, which was named the best documentary of 2001 by the National Board of Review.

Oren Rudavsky was the producer of media for the Russian Jewish History Museum and Tolerance Center, which opened in Moscow in 2012. This past year, Oren produced a series of films on the Civil War for the American Jewish Historical Society as well as a film on the life of Avital Sharansky. Oren’s non-fiction feature, Kroll Film Fund-supported Hiding and Seeking was nominated as best documentary in 2004 for an Independent Spirit Award, enjoyed a wide theatrical release and was selected for broadcast in 2005 on the acclaimed PBS series POV.  His Kroll Film Fund-supported film, A Life Apart: Hasidism in America enjoyed a highly successful theatrical release, was on the short list for the Academy Awards best documentary and received an Emmy nomination for its national PBS release.

2013 Kroll Fund Film Panelists

A rigorous, two-tiered panel of scholars, critics, filmmakers, and curators reviewed submissions and recommended grantees. Panelists included:

Jeremy Dauber, Atran Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture at Columbia University

Nancy Fishman, Principal, Nancy Fishman Releasing; former Program Director of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

Jason Hutt, award-winning filmmaker who received grants from the Foundation for Jewish Culture’s Kroll Fund for Documentary Film for Orthodox Stance (2007) and Sukkah City (2013)

Susan Margolin, co-founder of the distribution company New Video Group and currently co-president of Cinedigm Entertainment Group

Lisa Schwarzbaum, critic and essayist who served as a film critic for Entertainment Weekly from 1994 to 2013

Daniella Tourgeman, Jewish Film Festival Curator, Jerusalem Cinematheque

Aviva Weintraub, Associate Curator at The Jewish Museum and Director of the New York Jewish Film Festival, a collaboration between The Jewish Museum and Film Society of Lincoln Center

Program Overview

Since 1996, the Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Film has supported the completion of close to 100 original documentaries that explore the Jewish experience in all its complexity. The fund was created with a lead grant from Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation and sustained over 10 years with major support from the Charles H. Revson Foundation.

The priority of the fund is to support projects that address significant subjects; offer fresh, challenging perspectives; engage diverse audiences; and expand the understanding of Jewish experiences. In the past, grants have generally ranged in size from $15,000 to $35,000. Nonfiction films supported by the Kroll Fund have received Academy Award® and Emmy Award nominations, Golden Globe Awards, George Foster Peabody Awards, and prizes at festivals such as the Berlin International Film Festival, Silverdocs, the Sundance Film Festival, and the Tribeca Film Festival. Past grantees include Waltz with Bashir, Trembling Before G-d, Arguing the World, Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust, A Healthy Baby Girl, Crime After Crime, The Law in These Parts, William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, Off and Running, Joe Papp in Five Acts, and The Rape of Europa, among others.

Eligibility

Applications for this year’s grant cycle are suspended until the fund’s transfer to a new organization is approved and finalized. Please check the Foundation’s website later this year for more information.

Applicants for the Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Film must:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (director or producer);
  2. Be in postproduction at the time of application;
  3. Be an individual, a nonprofit organization with federal tax exempt status, or have a fiscal conduit that agrees to receive and administer an award on behalf of the project;
  4. Have creative, editorial, and budgetary control of the proposed project; and
  5. Own the copyright of the completed film.

Program Funders

The Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Film has received generous endowment and operating support from the Righteous Persons Foundation, the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Lynn and Jules Kroll, Robert and Joan (z”l) Arnow, the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, Laura Scheuer, Robert Carroll, Chris D’Angelo, the Nash Family Foundation, the estate of Marvin Rosenblatt, the Howard and Geraldine Polinger Family Foundation, the Wyler family, the Streisand Foundation, the Joseph and Anna Gartner Foundation, the Albert and Trudy Kallis Foundation, the David Geffen Foundation, the Simms/Mann Family Foundation, and Steve and Ellen Susman.

If you are looking for information about the educational program Inside the Docs: Reaching Out through Documentary Film, click here.

For a list of Film Fund grantees from 1996-2012, click here.

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