Gaylen Ross's accomplished, affectionate documentary takes a sparkling look at the close-knit world of New York City's diamond industry, a trade that working class Orthodox Jews have plied for over seventy years. On West 47th Street million dollar gems change hands among traders with nothing more than a mazel and a brocha (a handshake and a promise) - the dealers trust each other implicitly. They, their sons, grandsons and the occasional granddaughter abide by ethics and practices established centuries ago by their European ancestors. The filmmaker follows a multi-generational cast of hilarious characters from the business's booming late 1980s through the sluggish early nineties. She captures gem cutters wearing yarmulkes singing Hebrew songs as they work and dealers who buy, sell, schmooze and proffer occasional baubles of wisdom. High spirits prevail in this high-risk business, but the stress is apparent on the faces of those who risked too much and lost the gamble. For working class men who remember the pogroms and the Holocaust, however, a few diamonds in the pocket have deeper meaning - if you're forced to move, you can always stay in business. DEALERS AMONG DEALERS is a funny and fast-paced peek into a world where diamonds are a Jewish guy's best friend.
Producer and director of TO RUSSIA FOR LOVE, a documentary on Russian Mail-Order brides, and the American men who marry them. (Broadcast October, 1999)
Co-producer and writer of a feature-length documentary for A&E Television on Swiss Banks and the Holocaust accounts entitled BLOOD MONEY: SWITZERLAND'S NAZI GOLD. It was screened at the Berlin Film Festival, Haifa Film Festival, the competition of Encontros Inernacionais, Portugal, as well as at festivals in London, Vienna, Boston, Miami, and Brazil. The documentary is a 1998 Emmy Award winner; a CableAce nominee for Documentary Special; and Silver Plaque recipient, Chicago International Television Competition.
Gaylen Ross' s documentary film DEALERS AMONG DEALERS , an insider's look into the world of diamond and gem trading, had a national PBS broadcast, and was commissioned as a two-part program for Ch 4 Television, U.K; on NOS in The Netherlands; Canadian Broadcast Corp., and Nippon-TV in Japan. The film screened at the Sydney Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival,
the International Forum of the Berlin Film Festival, Cinema du Reel at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, the Nyon Documentary Festival, Switzerland, the Margaret Mead Film Festival in New York, the Jewish Film Festival sponsored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and the Edinburgh Film Festival. DEALERS received a Gold Plaque from the Chicago Film Festival, a CINE Gold Eagle, a Chris Award from the Columbus International Film and Video Festival, and was named "Best of Fest" of the Edinburgh Film Festival, and best documentary feature of the Louisville Film Festival.
An award winning program on gambling in America for Great Britain's Channel 4 Television, entitled NOT JUST LAS VEGAS, was honored for news and public affairs by the Houston International Film Festival, the Chicago Film Festival and the Columbus Film and Video Festival.
The documentary, OUT OF SOLIDARITY, told the story of three families who Left Poland following their activities in the outlawed Solidarity union, and their subsequent first years in America. It had its broadcast premiere on PBS. The documentary was a recipient of a CINE Gold Eagle, and awards from the National Educational Film and Video Festival, and the American Film Festival.