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Films

Yale Strom has directed nine award-winning documentary films and is the first documentary filmmaker in history to be given his own run at Lincoln Center's prestigious Walter Read Theatre.
 

Film screenings are available based on Yale's schedule, view his calendar of upcoming events to secure your seat. If you are interested in seeing one of Yale's films, please email him.

American Socialist

The life and times of
Eugene victor debs

Bernie Sanders inspired a generation but who inspired him? Yale Strom's new documentary traces the history of American populism by exploring the life and times of Eugene Victor Debs, the man whose progressive ideas fueled generations to come from FDR's New Deal to Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. Here is an objective but passionate history of the movement as founded and championed by Debs, a movement that continues to have an impact on our lives today.

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A letter to wedgewood

the gabriella hartstein auspitz story

Gabriella Hartstein was the child selected in 1922 Czechoslovakia to greet British Colonel (later Lord) Josiah Wedgwood who discussed Christian Zionist support for a Jewish State. In 1938, following the invasion of Czechoslovakia by German-backed Hungarian fascists, Gabriella appealed successfully to Wedgwood for help. The film describes the Central European milieu in which Gabriella grew into adulthood.

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A great day on eldridge street

On October 12, 2007 over 100 Klezmer musicians and Yiddish singers gathered on the steps of New York City's Eldridge Street Synagogue for a unique photo shoot. Brought together from all over the world were the most influential Klezmer artists today! Artists ranged from Theodore Bikel to John Zorn. This film chronicles this musical weekend, both as a celebration of Klezmer music and Yiddish song as well as the revival of Klezmer as the main soundtrack of Jewish culture today through its pathos and humor.

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romania!
romania!

Romanian director Radu Gabrea traveles to New York to delve into a specific aspect of Klezmer music: the Romanian Doyna. Gabrea interviews musicians and experts, e.g. Yale Strom, Elisabeth Schwartz, Ze'ev Feldman, Andy Statman, Michael Alpert a.o. Together they explore the mutual influences between Romanian, gypsy and Jewish music in the old country, the similarities between the Romanian Doyna and the Klezmer Doyna influenced by the musical modes of the synagogue and cantorial music.

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a man from munkacs

the gypsy klezmer

A Man From Munkacs: Gypsy Klezmer explores the symbiotic relationship between the Rom and Jews who lived together before and after World War Two in the Carpathian region. The film examines how this persecuted group (the Rom) saved Jewish folk music until it could be returned to the Jews. We learn about Gyula Galombosi, a Rom virtuoso violinist who traveled throughout the Soviet Union playing classical, Rom, Russian and klezmer music until his death in1986. His hometown was Munkacs and in this hometown lived the Jakubowicz family. Ferenc (Feri) Jakubowicz was the first Jewish child born after the Holocaust in Munkacs, which was cause for great celebration - Jewish life was being renewed.

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Klezmer on
fish street

The Klezmaniacs are an American klezmer ensemble who were booked to play in Krakow as part of a festival of Jewish music held there; vocalist Shira Shazeer invited her grandmother, Alta Frohman, a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust, to accompany the group as a translator, and filmmaker Yale Strom tagged along with a small camera crew. The documentary Klezmer on Fish Street is a record of their experiences, as Strom and The Klezmaniacs examine Poland, the legacy of Jewish culture in a nation without Jews, and the commercial exploitation of the Holocaust while Frohman struggles to find evidence of the Poland she knew as a girl.

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l'chayim,
comrade stalin!

Filmmaker Yale Strom travels by train to Russia's Jewish Autonomous Region, once proclaimed a haven for the country's Semitic populations but, in reality, now more of a barren landscape. Strom is accompanied by a translator/bodyguard who denies the existence of anti-Semitism while muttering racist statements along the way. Archival and contemporary footage shows the chaotic past, present and possible futures of a region whose identity is still unclear.

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Carpati: 50 miles, 50 years

This film tells the story of Zev Godinger a proste yid, or simple Jew, living in the Carpathian mountains in the Ukraine. Zev has a special and rather harmonious friendship with his Gypsy neighbors. Carpati captures the unique melodies and cadences created by communities of outsiders in this region. In 1931, when Godinger was just a boy, the Carpathian area was part of Czechoslovakia and the Jews - mostly poor farmers - numbered a quarter million. Today fewer than 1,500 reside there, and by the year 2000 their community will likely die out. Director Yale Strom uncovers the last stronghold of Jewish life in a region once vibrant with a melting pot of thriving cultures. Narrated by Leonard Nimoy.

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The last klezmer

leopold kozlowski, his life & music

Klezmer music, sometimes called Jewish "soul" music, has a rich and lengthy past, and now, a revitalized future. This festive Jewish band music originated in pre-World War II Poland, but now resonates in a cultural and musical revival all across America. THE LAST KLEZMER looks at one of the pioneers of this music, a remarkable, 69-year-old man named Leopold Kozlowski. An actor and musical consultant in Steven Spielberg's SCHINDLER'S LIST, Kozlowski is the last active Klezmer musician trained in the original, prewar tradition.

This spirited documentary follows Kozlowski as he returns, for the first time in fifty years, to the Polish village where he was raised. As this charming and moving film shows, both Kozlowski and his music have survived and remain vibrant and inspiring.

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at the crossroads

jews in eastern
europe today

As massive transformation sweeps through Eastern Europe, each of the changing countries searches for identity. What does this search mean for Jews? At the Crossroads journeys into this landscape that is haunted by the past and illuminated by Jewish men and women who live with a complex and problematic identity. Filmed on location in cities and villages in Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia, this documentary follows New York Klezmer musician Yale Strom as he meets local Klezmer artists, Jewish activists, and people on the street. While elderly Jews struggle to hold onto traditions from another era, the younger generation explores other paths in order to reinvent what it means to be a Jew. 

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