by Carole Dean
In a world where storytelling plays a crucial role in shaping our understanding of different cultures and identities, it is essential to ensure that diverse voices are heard. Roberta Grossman, an award-winning filmmaker, and co-founder of Jewish Story Partners, is on a mission to transform the landscape of Jewish storytelling in film. In a recent interview, she shared insights about the organization’s purpose, its impact, and the future of Jewish storytelling.
A New Narrative for Jewish Stories: Jewish Story Partners, founded two years ago by Roberta Grossman and Caroline Resco, is a non-profit production company with a clear mission: to support filmmakers telling Jewish stories or stories with Jewish content. However, their vision goes beyond the traditional narratives often associated with Judaism. Grossman emphasizes the importance of representing the vast diversity within the Jewish community, encompassing people of different races, classes, and origins. By encouraging a broader range of stories, Jewish Story Partners aims to foster pride in Jewish identity while making a uniquely Jewish contribution to global culture.
Supporting Filmmakers and Films: In just two years, they have awarded 72 grants, amounting to close to $2 million. Their dedicated staff of seven individuals focuses on fundraising and providing support to filmmakers, helping them navigate the challenging process of bringing their visions to life. By offering funding from the development stage all the way through post-production, Jewish Story Partners plays a vital role in priming the pump for filmmakers and encouraging the creation of high-quality documentaries.
Criteria and Funding Opportunities: Jewish Story Partners takes a generous approach in defining what constitutes a Jewish film. Their website showcases a diverse range of films they have funded, highlighting the breadth of stories they support. To be eligible for funding, a film must explore, expand, or deal with some aspect of the Jewish story, broadly defined. The producer or director needs to be based in the United States, but collaborations with international partners are welcome.
In addition to their regular grants, Jewish Story Partners has introduced Reprise Grants, which allow films that have already received funding to return for additional support. They also plan to initiate Educational Impact Grants, focusing on films that have the potential to create meaningful change and reach broader audiences.
Emphasizing Excellence and Reach: They are committed to supporting films that demonstrate excellence and have the potential to reach audiences globally. While filmmakers don’t have to be Jewish themselves, the organization ensures that the films they fund reflect a high standard of quality and hold the potential to spark conversations and contribute to social change.
Roberta Grossman and the team at Jewish Story Partners have built a dynamic platform for filmmakers to tell diverse Jewish stories and explore various aspects of Jewish identity. Through their generous grants and ongoing support, they are creating opportunities for filmmakers to bring their visions to life and reach a global audience. As Jewish storytelling continues to evolve, Jewish Story Partners remains dedicated to expanding narratives, fostering pride, and celebrating the rich tapestry of Jewish experiences in all its forms.
You can learn more about Jewish Story Partners at www.jewishstorypartners.org.
She is creator and instructor of Learn Producing: The Ultimate Course for Indie Film Production. 26 classes which will teach indie filmmakers how to produce their films.
She hosts the weekly podcast, The Art of Film Funding, interviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film production. She is also the author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts. See IMDB for producing credits