Citizen Film is a nationally acclaimed 501(c)3 nonprofit documentary production company. We are storytellers and coalition builders dedicated to creating culture and community, and building a more robust, more resilient democracy.
Our films, sculptural multimedia installations, and other documentary works engage an audience of 1M+ per year in civic spaces ranging from public media platforms to public schools. Many of America’s most prestigious institutions have showcased our work, from the Sundance Film Festival to MoMA-NY.
The following is a sampling of Citizen Film productions since 2002. Click the images to view clips.
Citizen Film’s 2018 PBS Special spotlights the stories of citizen activists who strive to realize America’s promise of freedom, fairness and opportunity, in spite of deepening divides. Stanford University professors Condoleezza Rice and David M. Kennedy come together from different perspectives to grapple with America’s ideals and identity.
American Creed is an ongoing Educational Public Engagement initiative. Documentary films of different lengths have engaged an audience of well over 1.5M people to date on PBS platforms and beyond.
STUDENTS RESPOND TO AMERICAN CREED
A PBS suite of short films continues to be shown and discussed in classrooms around the country with discussion prompts co-designed by Citizen Film and the National Writing Project. To illustrate the success of this educational engagement program, PBS commissioned a short documentary, nationally disseminated on PBS LearningMedia and PBS World.
PROGNOSIS – notes on living
This recently completed documentary was created by Citizen Film from hundreds of hours of footage collected by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Debra Chasnoff after she was diagnosed with stage-4 breast cancer. The result is a gripping, emotionally raw journey that is universally relatable and darkly funny. Together with PBS Next Avenue, Citizen Film has launched a national campaign of screenings and community conversations that spark discussion and understanding of end-of-life issues and options.
Stream the film April 16 thru 30 through the Wicked Queer: Boston LGBTQ+ Film Festival.
POTSDAM REVISITED: OVERTURE TO THE COLD WAR
93-year-old virtuoso violinist Stuart Canin recounts how, as an 18-year-old GI deployed to the German front, he suddenly found himself performing a concert for the “Big Three” as they prepared to negotiate the post-WW2 fate of the world.
This program reimagines the public engagement role of an archive (the Stuart Canin archive at the Hoover Institution) with a suite of media and a traveling performance –showcased at venues ranging from Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall to New York’s Lincoln Center– combining film, multimedia projections and live music Media includes a KQED Presents television package and a radio segment on NPR’s Weekend Edition reaching an audience of more than 700,000 people.
To view a short film, CLICK HERE (password: violin)
WHAT WE CARRY WITH US: REFUGEE STORYLABS
Young refugees curate their own prized possessions in exhibitions shown in museums and public spaces. A shipping container is outfitted with luminous LED screens showcasing “video ads” for the refugees’ belongings. Inside the shipping containers, short documentaries are followed by immersive live video chats.
These media installations have been presented on New York’s Times Square and at UC Berkeley’s Magnes Gallery. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a dozen short films garnered more than 250,000 views on YouTube.
JOANN SFAR DRAWS FROM MEMORY
This public television documentary tracks the internationally bestselling graphic novelist Joann Sfar’s odyssey from the nib of his pen to the unusual family stories that are the well-spring of his work. Follow the artist from his adoptive home in Paris into a whimsical universe where the colors, textures and spirit of North Africa and Eastern Europe’s lost Jewish communities come back to life.
KQED Presents disseminated the film to the PBS network, and Citizen Film partnered with Paris-based Les Films du Poisson on a second program that reached more than 1M viewers via the European Public Media network ARTE.
To view a 45-minute “director’s cut,” CLICK HERE (password: jsdm6)
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BRIDGE OF BOOKS
This documentary chronicles the adventures of an enterprising 23-year-old who rallied together an international network of volunteers and set out to rescue the world’s Yiddish books. Twenty years and 1.5 million Yiddish books later, Aaron Lansky has helped save a rich, diverse, and surprisingly modern literature from oblivion.
Our short film aired on public television when it was first produced as part of a nationally-disseminated hour-long program Citizen Film created for KTEH. The film is on permanent display in the Yiddish Book Center gallery at Hampshire College.