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Archives | Rosenwald Film

The Rosenwald Schools work in progress screens in Maryland

Historic Takoma and We Are Takoma invited Aviva Kempner (director of The Rosenwald Schools documentary) and Stephanie Deutsch (author of You Need A Schoolhouse and a consultant on our film) to take part an excellent program about a historic school in Takoma Park, Maryland, a suburb of Washington D.C. The event, entitled “Takoma Park’s Black School & The Rosenwald Legacy,” was held at the Takoma Park Community Center on April 29th.

Attendees first heard musical selections by African American composers, played by the Takoma Park band. One of the selections was “Lift Evr’y Voice and Sing,” by James Weldon Johnson, the recipient of the first Rosenwald fellowship. Then, Diana Kohn (the event organizer) introduced the night’s discussion topic. A work in progress excerpt of the upcoming documentary, The Rosenwald Schools, was then screened for the audience.


The Takoma Park Band
Photo credit: The Ciesla Foundation, April 2014

After the screening, Aviva and Stephanie discussed their work and the history of the two-room Rosenwald School that was built in Takoma Park on Geneva Avenue. Alumni from the school were present and shared their memories of attending the school.


Alumni of the Geneva Avenue Rosenwald School
Photo credit: The Ciesla Foundation, April 2014

Thank you to Diana Kohn, Historic Takoma and We Are Takoma for making this event possible.

Aviva Kempner sits in on Nashville Film Festival panel discussion

Women in Film and Television, Nashville, gathered together a great panel of filmmakers for the Nashville Film Festival last weekend. Along with Aviva Kempner, other panelists included Joanna Lucchesi, Sr Vice President, Entertainment Division, City National Bank of Beverly Hills, who has more than 30 plus years of experience in the film and television industry, Guy Noffsinger, Senior Producer, Multimedia Specialist NASA, Washington, DC with multiple credits as producer, director and writer of NASA released Television and Film projects such as; Space Shuttle, NASA Remembers Neil Armstrong and Friendship 7, 50th Anniversary and Beth Harrington, multi award-winning independent producer, director and writer, who has been making media professionally since 1977.

Harrington premiered her new film, The Winding Stream at the festival. The Winding Stream – The Carters, The Cash Family and The Course of Country Music is a music history and performance film. Her film features members of the Carter and Cash families and includes an interview with the legendary Johnny Cash who was interviewed by Ms. Harrington 3 weeks before his death in 2003. Local television personality Demetria Kalodimos emceed the program. Kempner also showed the two work in progresses of The Rosenwald Schools to an enthusiastic audience.


Guy Noffsinger, Beth Harrington, Deborah Gordon, Demetria Kalodimos, Joanna Lucchesi, and Aviva Kempner

Thanks to Women in Film and Television, Nashville, for putting together a great event!

Two new works in progress of The Rosenwald Schools screen at DC JCC

Thanks to the Washington Jewish Film Festival, a brand new work in progress version of The Rosenwald Schools with the added interview with Rep. John Lewis screened last Sunday, April 13th at the Washington D.C. JCC. The large audience saw both the new work in progress and a special premiere of a 9 minute sequence about Julius Rosenwald’s immigrant father and the philanthropist’s childhood in Springfield, Illinois that will be near the beginning of the film.

The event was co-sponsored by Docs In Progress, The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, and Women in Film & Video.

The audience was very responsive to the program; many who attended gave valuable suggestions to us for how to improve the film. Thanks to all those who attended for your wonderful input!

If the funds are raised we hope to have the film ready for release in March 2014 and have a premiere at the Washington Jewish Film Festival, 25 years after director Aviva Kempner founded the festival with Miriam Morsel Nathan.

For ways to see the work in progress of the film and show it at a fundraising parlour party, contact cieslafdn@gmail.com. We would be most grateful for help in finishing the film and you would be listed among the end credits. All contributions are tax deductible.

New work in progress of The Rosenwald Schools screens at DC JCC

A brand new work in progress version of The Rosenwald Schools with the added interview with Rep. John Lewis screened last Sunday, April 13th at the Washington D.C. JCC. The large audience saw both the new work in progress and a special premiere of a 9 minute sequence about Julius Rosenwald’s immigrant father and the philanthropist’s childhood in Springfield, Illinois that will be near the beginning of the film.

The event was co-sponsored by Docs In Progress, The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, and Women in Film & Video.

The audience was very responsive to the program; many who attended gave valuable suggestions to us for how to improve the film. Thanks to all those who attended for your wonderful input!

If the funds are raised we hope to have the film ready for release in March 2014 and have a premiere at the Washington Jewish Film Festival, 25 years after director Aviva Kempner founded the festival with Miriam Morsel Nathan.

For ways to see the work in progress of the film and show it at a fundraising parlour party, contact cieslafdn@gmail.com. We would be most grateful and you would be listed among the end credits.

Denzel Washington in a new Broadway production of ‘A Raisin in the Sun’

A new production of A Raisin in the Sun, starring Denzel Washington, debuted in the Ethel Barrymore Theater in New York last week. The show is getting good reviews, including one by Ben Brantley of The New York Times.

Describing the set, Brantley writes:

A claustrophobic fatigue pervades the cramped, South Side Chicago apartment in which “A Raisin in the Sun” is set. And despite its often easygoing tone, a happy ending feels far from guaranteed. As designed by Mark Thompson, the Youngers’ living room cum kitchen is a narrow corridor that keeps its three generations of inhabitants in close, erosive proximity.

The kitchenette apartment where the action of A Raisin in the Sun takes place is based on the tiny shared-bath apartments that many African Americans called home in overcrowded, segregated early 20th century Chicago. After seeing the cramped conditions in the area of Chicago known as “The Black Belt,” Julius Rosenwald built the Michigan Boulevard Garden Apartments, a spacious, modern, well-equipped building in the heart of the neighborhood in 1929. A scene from the 1961 film adaptation, starring Sidney Poiter, will be included in The Rosenwald Schools documentary and is already incorpoated in the twenty minute work in progress, which is used for fundraising to complete the movie. For ways to see the work in progress of the film and show it at a fundraising parlour party, contact cieslafdn@gmail.com. We would be most grateful and you would be listed among the end credits.

You can read more about the new Broadway production at The New York Times.