Festival Year: 2014

Roberta Grossman

Roles: Producer

Grossman was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a major in History and her MA in Producing from the American Film Institute Center for Advanced Film Studies in Los Angeles.

Her first film, with co-director Michelle Paymar, was Sippie (1983), a biography of blues singer-songwriter Sippie Wallace. She produced and co-wrote Jack Leustig’s 500 Nations, an 8-hour CBS mini-series on the history of Native Americans (1995) . Executive producers were Jim Wilson and Kevin Costner. Grossman wrote, produced and directed many historical documentaries for various networks including: In the Footsteps of Jesus for The History Channel; The History of Sex and Rock and Roll for VH1;Special Report: Las Vegas for MSNBC; Christianity: The First 1000 YearsMysteries of the Bible: Judas; and Heroines of the Hebrew Bible for A&E; and Women on Top, for AMC. In 1999, Grossman founded Katahdin Productions with Lisa Thomas. Katahdin Foundation, (dba Katahdin Productions), and has co-produced and/or supported documentary films that have earned Academy Award nominations and festival awards. In 2005, Katahdin released its first feature film, Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action. Grossman directed this documentary about contemporary, Native American, environmental justice struggles. Music from the movie, “Sacred Ground: A Tribute to Mother Earth” won the 2005 Grammy for Best Native American Album. In 2008, Katahdin released Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh. The film was produced and directed by Grossman and told the story of Hannah Senesh, a World War II era poet and diarist who parachuted behind enemy lines to rescue her mother and other Hungarian Jews. It won the audience award at 13 Jewish film festivals, was broadcast on PBS, nominated for a Primetime Emmy, and shortlisted for an Academy Award. Grossman and Sophie Sartain’s Hava Nagila: The Movie was released in 2012. The feature-length documentary traced the journey of the song, Hava Nagila, from the Ukraine to YouTube. Released theatrically and screened at 80 Jewish film festivals, Hava Nagila:The Movie was either opening or closing night at more than half of those festivals. Director Dyanna Taylor’s film about her grandmother, the photographer Dorothea Lange, Grab a Hunk of Lightning, aired on PBS’s “American Masters” in 2014 and was produced by Grossman. She directed Above and Beyond (2015) for producer Nancy Spielberg. The feature-length documentary told the story of Jewish American World War II era pilots who volunteered to fight for Israel in its 1948 War of Independence, also establishing the Israeli Air Force. Interviews with pilots who flew these missions is one of the highlights of the film.

Grossman is currently producing a documentary about the secret archives of the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. The archive, known as Oyneg Shabbos, was assembled and hidden under the leadership of historian Emanuel Ringelblum. The film, which will be called Who Will Write Our History? is based on the book of the same name by historian Samuel Kassow, of Trinity College in Connecticut, and published by Indiana University Press in 2007. Grossman optioned the rights to the book and is now working with Executive Producer Nancy Spielberg to raise money for the film, scheduled for release in 2017.

Festival Year: 2014


Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning

(US, 2014, 120min)