Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw on Thursday donated $1 million, leading a $2 million funding campaign to launch a new LA-based film foundation dedicated to expanding the range of stories reflecting Jewish lives.
Jewish Story Partners supports independent films with fresh, nuanced perspectives on a diverse spectrum of Jewish experiences, histories, and cultures. Filmmaker Roberta Grossman was picked as JSP’s producing director, and Caroline Libresco, who used to be the director of Sundance Catalyst, will be the artistic director. In 2021, JSP is expected to offer $500,000 in grants to US-based feature-length documentaries.
Grossman and Libresco said in a joint statement: “We’re thrilled to create something that is both additive to the independent film community as well as critical to the Jewish arts and culture landscape. With the support of our incredible partners, Righteous Persons Foundation, Maimonides Fund, and Jim Joseph Foundation, we can accelerate the production and impact of excellent independent films.”
Spielberg and Capshaw also issued a joint statement, saying: “There is nothing like storytelling to foster connections and help us understand life’s deepest truths. We are especially proud to help establish this initiative — which will make visible a fuller range of Jewish voices, identities, experiences, and perspectives — at a time when social divisions run painfully deep and mainstream depictions too often fail to reflect the Jewish community in all its complexity. We hope that JSP projects will long be a source of meaning within the Jewish community and beyond.”
Kate Capshaw, who was originally an Episcopalian, met Steven Spielberg on the set of his film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). She converted to Judaism before marrying Spielberg on October 12, 1991. The two were married in both a civil and an Orthodox ceremony.
Marta Kauffman, who was the showrunner on “Friends,” is on JSP’s founding board of directors, said in a statement: “Storytelling is crucial so that we may understand each other. Jewish stories are important, not only so others may understand us, but so we may understand ourselves. As a member of the inaugural board of directors of Jewish Story Partners, I’m looking forward to helping create a stable and lasting funding organization that can fill the funding gap for independent filmmakers who want to tell a Jewish story.”