The Righteous Persons Foundation (RPF) has pledged US$100,000 in direct grants to the Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Film (LJFK), supporting four Jewish-themed feature documentaries.
The news comes after the LJKF’s parent organization, the New York-based Foundation for Jewish Culture, announced in September that it would be shutting its doors.
As such, applications for the LJKF’s next grant cycle are suspended until the fund’s transfer to a new organization can be approved and finalized, which the organization is hoping will happen later this year.
Since being set up in 1996, the LJKF has supported the completion of almost 100 original documentaries that explore Jewish issues. The fund was created with a lead grant from Steven Spielberg’s RPF and sustained over 10 years with major support from the Charles H. Revson Foundation.
The four docs chosen for funding will each receive a $25,000 grant to help with post-production costs. Details of the films, along with synopses provided by the LJKF, follow below:
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.
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.
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.
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.