Engines of Truth | A 'Stories She Tells' Conversation

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Leading Jewish women non-fiction filmmakers discuss the role of Jewish values, identity, and culture, as well as feminism, as engines and subjects for their groundbreaking documentary films. Faciltated by Caroline Libresco.

is currently directing, producing and writing A CRIME ON THE BAYOU. She was the Director/Producer/Writer of THE RAPE OF RECY TAYLOR (2017) that had its World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival and its North American Premiere at the New York Film Festival. She is Director/Producer/Writer of the Oscar shortlisted, Peabody and Emmy Award-winning THE LOVING STORY (2011; HBO) and a Producer of LOVING by Jeff Nichols. Numerous festivals and awards. A CRIME ON THE BAYOU (dev. HBO) with THE LOVING STORY and THE RAPE OF RECY TAYLOR form a documentary trilogy addressing historic roots of racism and the brave voices who fought against it. Buirski founded and ran the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival from 1997 to 2008. She is a member of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences. Prior to her work in film she was the Foreign Picture Editor at The New York Times and an editor at Magnum Photos.

 is best known for her ability to take the dark worlds of chemical exposure, heedless corporate behavior and environmental injustice and make them personal, highly-charged and entertaining. Her films include THE UPRISING OF '34, the Sundance award winning and two-time Emmy nominated B​LUE VINYL (SFJFF 2002),​ its Peabody Award-winning prequel A​ HEALTHY BABY GIRL (SFJFF 1997), and EVERYTHING'S COOL. Three of those premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, with national broadcasts on PBS (POV), HBO and The Sundance Channel. A committed field-builder and educator, Helfand co-founded Working Films​ in 1999 and​ ​Chicken & Egg Pictures​ in 2005. In 2019, Helfand recieved the JFI Freedom of Expression Award, and presented her films ABSOLUTELY NO SPITTING (SFJFF 2019) and COOKED: SURVIVAL BY ZIP CODE (SFJFF 2019).

is an award-winning filmmaker with a passion for history and social justice, Roberta Grossman has written, directed and produced more than 40 hours of film and television. Grossman wrote, produced and directed WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY (SFJFF38), about Emanuel Ringelblum and the secret archives of the Warsaw Ghetto, co-produced by Arte and NDR. In 2018, Grossman co-directed and produced the Netflix Original Documentary SEEING ALLRED (WinterFest 2018), about the women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Grossman’s 2012 HAVA NAGILA (The Movie) (SFJFF 2012 Opening Night Film) uses the song Hava Nagila as a portal into 150 years of Jewish history, culture and spirituality. BLESSED IS THE MATCH: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF HANNAH SENESH (SFJFF 2008), Grossman’s 2008 film, was shortlisted for an Academy Award, aired on PBS and won the audience award at 13 Jewish film festivals. Grossman directed ABOVE AND BEYOND (SFJFF 2014), for producer Nancy Spielberg, about the American–Jewish WWII pilots who volunteered to fight in Israel’s War of Independence. 

 is a two-time Emmy® Award winning and Academy Award® nominated documentary filmmaker. Her most recent film, ON THE RECORD examines what it means to bring a rape accusation against one of the most powerful figures in the entertainment industry. Her previous film, THE INVISIBLE WAR , a groundbreaking investigation into the epidemic of rape in the U.S. military, spurred Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to announce significant policy changes and catalyzed Congress to pen and pass 35 pieces of reform legislation. Ziering also produced OUTRAGE, a searing indictment of the hypocrisy of powerful, closeted politicians and the institutions that protect them, and directed and produced DERRIDA, a film about the renowned French philosopher Jacques Derrida who invented the concept of deconstruction. Ziering was also notably involved in the powerful 2015 film, THE HUNTING GROUND. Amy’s collaborations with global superstars like Lady Gaga, Silicon Valley power players like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and influential politicians like President- Elect Joe Biden and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, have revolutionized the way documentary filmmakers and activists are creating change. 

 is an internationally acclaimed producer, director, writer and camerawoman. Her groundbreaking films include: BEIRUT: THE LAST HOME MOVIE (Grand Prize Winner & Best Cinematography, Sundance Film Festival 1988; Frontline WGBH), the ten-hour AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY (Berlin and Sundance Film Festivals 1999, Gracie Award 1999, Primetime PBS/BBC/ARTE), the six-part, FLYING CONFESSIONS OF A FREE WOMAN (IDFA and Sundance Film Festivals 2008; Sundance Channel), and the feature MY REINCARNATION (Emmy Award nominated, IDFA and Hamptons Film Festivals; IDFA Audience Award 2010; Premiere POV 2012). Fox recently completed her first fiction feature, THE TALE, which she wrote, directed, and produced, with an outstanding all-star cast which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2018.

 is a leading film festival curator, producer, program strategist, and story consultant with 26 years of experience as an arbiter in the independent film sector. From 2001-2019, she was Senior Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival. She was Founding Director of Sundance Institute’s Catalyst Program, which raised $30+ million for 89 projects in its first six years. She also co-founded and directed Sundance Institute’s Women’s Program, a multi-faceted initiative working to create gender parity in independent film. Previously, she was an executive at ITVS, senior publicist for the SF International Film Festival, and associate director of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Among her projects as creative producer are FANCI’S PERSUASION, starring Justin Vivian Bond; Tribeca FF Jury Prize-winner, SUNSET STORY; and Peabody Award-winner AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS. She also executive produced DISCLOSURE, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Caroline is currently Senior Advisor to the Thessaloniki Film Festival, and is actively developing projects through her company Gabbert/Libresco Projects. She serves on the board of IDA, is a member of AMPAS, and appears widely on film juries and panels internationally. She holds an M.A. in History of Religion from Harvard University and an M.F.A. from UCLA Film School.  

This Program is part of the Stories She Tells series, supported by a generous grant from Propel.