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Steven Spielberg’s new foundation announces first 10 documentaries it will fund

Grant awardees include one film following story of drag queen turned rabbinical student and another on Israeli comic who uses routine to push Israelis to question their biases

Director Steven Spielberg addresses the audience at the 2018 Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Director Steven Spielberg addresses the audience at the 2018 Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

JTA — Steven Spielberg’s Jewish Story Partners foundation, which he and wife Kate Capshaw founded to help fund Jewish-themed documentary films, announced its first slate of grantees on Wednesday.

The 10 projects received a total of $225,000 from Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation and the Maimonides Fund, with extra help from the Jim Joseph Foundation.

Here are the films, first reported by Deadline:

“Coexistence My Ass!” – Directed by Amber Fares

The film follows Israeli comedian Noam Schuster, who is bent on using her standup routine to get Israelis to question their biases.

“The Conspiracy” – Directed by Maxim Pozdorovkin

The film looks at the history behind the lie “that a dangerous cabal of powerful Jews controls the world.”

“Meredith Monk: Dancing Voice, Singing Body” – Directed by Billy Shebar and David Roberts

The groundbreaking composer and choreographer, who has won the National Medal of Arts and a MacArthur grant, gets her own film. The pop legend Bjork is a co-producer.

“Rabbi” – Directed by Sandi DuBowski

“Rabbi” chronicles the story of pioneering Rabbi Amichau Lau-Lavie “from drag queen rebel to rabbinical student to founder of Lab/Shul, an everybody-friendly, God-optional, artist-driven, pop-up experimental congregation.”

“South Commons” – Directed by Joey Soloway

The Jewish creator of “Transparent” takes a hard look at the racial tensions in the Chicago community in which she grew up.

“Untitled Spiritual Care Documentary” – Directed by Luke Lorentzen

Mount Sinai hospitals in New York appoint interfaith chaplain residents each year — this film follows four of them.

“The Wild One” – Directed by Tessa Louise Salomé

It’s the story of Jack Garfein, an Auschwitz survivor who went on to play a key role in the Actors’ Studio group and taught the craft to some of the last century’s biggest stars.

“Heroes” – Directed by Avishai Mekonen and Shari Rothfarb Mekonen

The tale of a group of Ethiopian-Jewish activists who fought to keep their community alive in the 1970s to 1990s, a time of harsh dictatorship.

“Joyva” – Directed by Josh Freund and Sam Radutzky

The 100-plus-year-old Joyva company is among the most recognized Jewish-American candy companies, whose delicacies often end up at holiday celebrations such as Passover. The film focuses on the founder’s great-grandchildren, who are fighting to keep the business afloat.

“Walk With Me” – Directed by Heidi Levitt

Levitt tracks her husband’s battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

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