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Excerpts from Jewish-Subject Films, Exhibitions and Campaigns


This nationally televised PBS Special directed by Sam Ball is accompanied by a robust national public engagement campaign conducted over-the-air, online and in-person, in PBS markets around the country. The program centers around a transpartisan dialogue between two Stanford professors, the Pulitzer Prize winning historian David M. Kennedy, and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, inviting audiences to consider what ideals we ought to share in common, and what it will take to sustain American democracy.
785,000 people watched the film’s Feb. 2018 premiere, and the latest PBS/Nielsen report shows a total of 2.4M household impressions and more than 2.5M views have been garnered over-the-air and online to date. Additionally, in many communities, classrooms, community centers and public libraries around the country are holding in person screenings and community conversations. Thanks to support from the Covenant Foundation, JCCs participate in this campaign, with discussion prompts provided by Facing History and Ourselves. To watch the film and learn more about the public engagement campaign, visit

Students Respond to American Creed

Conversations about Citizen FIlm’s documentary American Creed are facilitated, in classrooms around the country, by educators trained through Citizen Film’s partnership with the National Writing Project and Facing History and Ourselves. More than 5,000 high school students have submitted essay responses to the film’s prompts, including prompts from Facing History’s unit for Navigating American and Jewish Identity, which has been adapted into a guide also utilized by JCCs thanks to support from the Covenant Foundation.

Thanks to a partnership between Citizen Film, the National Writing Project and Facing History and Ourselves, the project
Community Conversations in libraries and community centers and cultural centers have engaged a total in-person audience of 3,970 people in 71 venues to date.


Part of a multimedia collaboration between Citizen Film and the Jewish Museum NY, this documentary explores the life and times of Yiddish theatre director Solomon Mikhoels. It was a centerpiece of the exhibition “Chagall and the Artists of Russian-Jewish Theatre” which included several Citizen Film works for media installations complementing Chagall’s theater sets. “Film sequences in the exhibit, including five minutes of GOSET’s King Lear and a brief, incisive documentary by Sam Ball, suggest that Mikhoels merits billing equal to Chagall…” -The Forward. More than 100,000 visitors to Jewish Museum NY, the Contemporary Jewish Museum SF and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts viewed this work.


This documentary short chronicles the adventures of Aaron Lansky, an enterprising 23-year-old who set out to rescue the world’s Yiddish books. The film, broadcast on public television in 2001, is still on permanent display in primary exhibit gallery of the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA where it is viewed by thousands of visitors per year.


This live multimedia exploration, directed by playwright Corey Fisher and made possible by a Hewlett and Gerbode Collaboration grant awarded to documentary filmmaker Sam Ball and playwright Corey Fisher, portrays the rise and fall of the Group Theatre in 1930s New York, with “terrific archival projections by Citizen Film.” -San Francisco Chronicle


One of two Citizen Film/Les Films du Poisson co-productions for Franco-German and American public television, this documentary profiles artist Joann Sfar, who explores his Algerian-Jewish heritage in best-selling graphic novels. Joann Sfar Draws From Memory was telecast across the US in 2012 thanks to Citizen Film’s partnership with flagship KQED. Our collaboration with Les Films du Poisson and ARTE reached more than 1 million European viewers.


With support from the Jim Joseph Foundation, and the Covenant Foundation, Citizen Film and Columbia University’s Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies fostered digital storytelling collaborations around the country, giving preeminent Jewish studies professors the tools to collaborate with their students on innovative media productions. Students, professors and audiences engaged in imaginative explorations of Jewish themes, ranging from multimedia portfolios examining the work of New York street photographers to short documentaries about Jewish life in the Pacific Northwest.


This public television segment, playfully examining the early history of an American art form, was telecast on approximately 200 PBS stations around the country in 2012.


A selection of MoMA-New York’s Documentary Fortnight in 2005, this documentary tells the story of a young mother in the French Resistance. It is distributed to classrooms by Alexander Street Press and was viewed by more than 20,000 students through 2008, according to a survey conducted with the aid of a Koret Foundation grant. “Smart, funny… and a reminder of the power of a single, dedicated person under pressure.” -The New York Jewish Week

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This film made possible by the Foundation for Jewish Culture, explores the Yiddish-inflected world of MacArthur Genius award winner Ben Katchor. It premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and was presented at prestigious art museums around the world (Centre Georges Pompidou Cinema du Reel, MoMA Documentary Fortnight, etc. including many Jewish museums as part of various graphic novel exhibitions.)


This short memorial film was produced for a National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene multimedia event and gala at Frederick Rose Hall, the home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, in 2012.


Two of several trailers Citizen Film produced several trailers directed by Sam Ball for the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, for 35mm exhibition in several Bay Area Landmark Theatres and at the historic Castro Theatre, SF.


This short film is part of a multimedia installation created collaboratively by Citizen Film, the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM), the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, and the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco in celebration of the Jewish Holiday of Sukkot. The installation was featured in the Atrium of the JCC, and elements Citizen Film created for that installation were also projected on the walls of the CJM. (Citizen Film engaged 50 Jewish teens in creating their own work for a live multimedia celebration.)