About the Filmmaker

Award-winning filmmaker Aviva Kempner has been making independent films since 1979

Aviva Kempner


Washington, DC based filmmaker Aviva Kempner makes award winning documentaries about underknown Jewish heroes for 44 years. Kempner just completed A Pocketful of Miracles: A Tale of Two Siblings, which chronicles the heroism of the two Ciesla Foundation namesakes, Helen Ciesla Covensky and David Chase—siblings who survived the Holocaust separately and managed to reunite after the war. She just co-directed, co-wrote and co-produced Imagining the Indians: The Fight Against Native American Mascoting, a documentary on  the movement to remove Native American names, logos, and mascots from the world of sports. Her The Spy Behind Home Plate is about baseball player and OSS spy Moe Berg. Kempner launched the  SEW: Sports Equality for Women website which strives to amplify the stories and voices of women in sports.

 She made Rosenwald, a documentary about how philanthropist Julius Rosenwald partnered with Booker T. Washington in establishing over 5,000 schools with African Americans in the Jim Crow South. 

She also made Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, about Gertrude Berg who created the first television sitcom and Peabody awarded The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, about the Hall Famer slugger who faced anti-Semitism during the 30s. She also produced the award-winning Partisans of Vilna, about Jews fighting the Nazis.

She is presently making a film on screenwriter, journalist and activist Ben Hecht,  who exposed the horrors of the Holocaust to the American public and advocated to bring more Jews to US shores and helped bring survivors to a permanent Jewish home in Palestine.Kempner is also making Pissed Off, a documentary short exploring the struggles faced by female lawmakers in Congress who advocated for potty parity in the United States Capitol.

A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Kempner is a voting rights and statehood advocate for Washington, D.C. and proudly serves on the board of DC Vote.



Rosenwald Film Bonus: Teaching Guide