Book Now: Available for Film Festival & Event Screenings

Contact Lisa Rivo, NCJF Co-Director at lisarivo(at)brandeis(dot)edu or call 781-736-8600.

A New Feature Documentary by Aviva Kempner

In Theaters Now


“A great American saga of interracial cooperation”
-Julian Bond, Civil Rights activist

“A powerful civil rights story, engaging both the heart and the head.”
-Dan Raviv, CBS Radio


Best Documentary Jury Award, Teaneck International Film Festival

Lipscomb University Prize
of the Ecumenical Jury, Nashville Film Festival

In Theaters Nationwide


Montgomery, Little Rock, Tucson, Los Angeles, Boulder, Tallahassee,
Savannah, St. Louis, Santa Fe, New York, Greensboro, Portland (OR), Charleston, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Houston, Charlottesville, Norfolk, Seattle, Tacoma, Cleveland & More!

Select Event & Festival Screenings


Washington Jewish Film Festival
Nashville Film Festival
Toronto Jewish Film Festival
National Center for Jewish Film Festival
National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2015 Rosenwald Schools Conference
Charleston, SC
NAACP National Convention
Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival
Cleveland Jewish Film Festival
Martha’s Vineyard Film Center
Cinema Arts Center
Huntington, NY
Jacob Burns Film Center
Pleasantville, NY
Real Art Ways
Hartford, CT
Laemmle Theatres
Los Angeles, CA
Angelika Film Center
Dallas, TX
Bryn Mawr Film Institute
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Avalon Theatre
Washington, DC
The Academy Art Museum
Easton, MD
Rutgers Jewish Film Festival

National Trust for Historic Preservation Charleston Premiere, with director
Virginia Film Festival w/ Aviva Kempner
Teaneck International Film Festival
Sedona International Film Festival
Columbia Jewish Film Festival
Central Florida Jewish Film Festival
Columbia University Institute for Israel & Jewish Studies w/ Aviva Kempner
Chattanooga Jewish Film Festival
Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival
George Washington University, Department of Religion
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture w/ Aviva Kempner
University of Maryland, Hoff Theater
Aiken Playhouse
The Julius Rosenwald School Foundation of Northumberland County
Oklahoma Historical Society

Washington Jewish Film Festival
JCC Manhattan
Boulder Jewish Film Festival
Mobile Jewish Film Festival
West Volusia Historical Society, Athens Theatre
Longue Vue House and Gardens w/ Aviva Kempner
Premiere Cinema presented by Congregation B’nai Israel Galveston, TX
St. Louis Jewish Film Festival
Florida Atlantic University, Grand Palm Room
Brooklyn Central Library/ Simon Wiesenthal Center
Tolerance Week Sioux City
Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival
Harrisburg Jewish Film Festival
North Carolina Museum of History
Seattle Jewish Film Festival
The National Archives, Washington D.C.
Louisville Jewish Film Festival
Hillel of Metro Detroit, Wayne State University
Sacramento Jewish Film Festival and The California Museum
Houston Jewish Film Festival
Maryland Day event, Galesville Community Center and Rosenwald School
Baltimore Jewish Film Festival
Indianapolis Jewish Community Center
Temple Emanu-el Kirk Cashmere Jewish Film Festival at the Honolulu Museum of Art
Cherry Hill Jewish Film Festival
Haverford College
JFilm: The Pittsburgh Jewish Film Forum
Maine Jewish Film Festival w/ Aviva Kempner
Montclair Historical Society
Indianapolis Jewish Community Center
League of Women Voters/ Thaddeus Stevens College
Westchester Jewish Film Festival/ Jacob Burns Film Center
Rockland International Jewish Film Festival
Dayton Jewish Film Festival
Santa Cruz Jewish Film Festival
JCC of Greater New Haven
Brandeis University
Tulane University

Northern Virginia Jewish Film Festival
JCC Greenwich
US Dept. of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
Burritt on the Mountain
Huntsville, AL
Asheville Jewish Film Festival
Hosanna School Museum Darlington, MD
Detroit Jewish Film Festival
Michiana Jewish Film Festival
Notre Dame, ID
Georgia State University
Mendocino Film Festival

March on Washington Film Festival
Virginia Historical Society
Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site w/ Aviva Kempner
“Unity in 3 Parts”, Griffin,GA
Chicago Urban League

Oxford College of Emory University
Robinson Film Centre/ N. Louisiana Jewish Film Festival

Traverse City Film Festival w/ Aviva Kempner
Arizona Jewish Historical Society
Mathews Film Society
MoonShadow Film Society
Swarthmore College
Central Scholarship Event, Johns Hopkins University Club
Owings Mills, MD
University of Kent, Centre for Philanthropy UK Premiere
Scrabble School Preservation Foundation
Anti-Defamation League/ Skirball Cultural Center Los Angeles, CA
Great Huts Resort Port Antonio, Jamaica
Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill
Museum of Science and History
Jacksonville, FL
Edward Waters College
Jacksonville, FL
Clemson Honors College
Clemson, SC
Furman University
Greenville, SC
Capri Theater Montgomery, AL
Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival
Alexandria Film Festival
San Diego Jewish Film Festival
Langston Hughes Performing arts Institute
Carmel Jewish Film Festival


Rosenwald is the incredible story of Julius Rosenwald, the son of an immigrant peddler who never finished high school, who rose to become the President of Sears. Influenced by the writings of the educator Booker T. Washington, this Jewish philanthropist joined forces with African American communities during the Jim Crow South to build 5,300 schools, providing 660,000 black children with access to education in the segregated American South.

Inspired by the Jewish ideals of tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (repairing the world) and a deep concern over racial inequality in America, Julius Rosenwald used his wealth to become one of America's most effective philanthropists. This important new documentary from award-winning filmmaker Aviva Kempner (The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg, Partisans of Vilna) reveals Rosenwald as a silent partner of the Pre-Civil Rights Movement.

Recipients of Julius Rosenwald’s seminal Rosenwald Fund for African American artists and intellectuals include Marian Anderson, James Baldwin, Julian Bond, Ralph Bunche, W.E.B. DuBois, Katherine Dunham, Ralph Ellison, John Hope Franklin, Zora Neale Hurston, Jacob Lawrence, Dr. Charles Drew, Langston Hughes, Augusta Savage, and Gordon Parks. Addressing needs brought about by the Great Migration, Rosenwald also funded the building of housing and YMCAs for African Americans.

Photo: Julius Rosenwald with Booker T. Washington (1915)
Courtesy of University of Chicago Library, Special Collections

LINE review by by Matt Fagerholm | Read
The Journal of the American Institute of Architects by Witold Rybczynski | Remembering the Rosenwald Schools
New York Times by Daniel M. Gold | Review: Rosenwald, on a Philanthropist Who Created Schools for Blacks in the Jim Crow South
NPR All Things Considered | Rosenwald Celebrates 'The Greatest Philanthropist You've Never Heard Of'
Los Angeles Times by Kenneth Turan | Rosenwald reveals a philanthropist with a mission
Christian Science Montior | Rosenwald provokes gratitude for the deeds of its subject
Film Mint by Elias Sevada | Honor the Benefactor: Aviva Kempner’s Rosenwald
The Washington Post by Karen Heller | The Enlightening Legacy of the Rosenwald Schools
Boston Globe by Peter Keough | Rosenwald offers timely lessons in wealth management; “Essential documentary.”
Wall Street Journal by Joe Morgenstern | Rosenwald Review: Doing Well, Doing Good
The Washington Post by Michael O'Sullivan | Review: Rosenwald a singular portrait of a mogul and philanthropist
Jewish Forward by Alexandra Levine | Was Julius Rosenwald Our Greatest Philanthropist?

More Press

Conversation with Aviva Kempner and American Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) | Watch on YouTube

Center for Jewish History roundtable with Aviva Kempner and Julian Bond | Watch on YouTube

Huffington Post by Nell Minow | Aviva Kempner on Her New Documentary About Julius Rosenwald

SFGate by Ruthe Stein | Aviva Kempner brings to screen the legacy of Julius Rosenwald

Belief Net by Nell Minow | Review

Movie City News by Andrea Gronvall | Aviva Kempner Talks Rosenwald

Los Angeles Times by Susan King | Documentary looks at Jewish philanthropist who helped black schools

The Movable Feast by Stephen Saito | Interview: Aviva Kempner On Uncovering A Hidden History In Rosenwald

Cinema Without Borders by Bijan Tehrani | Aviva Kempner Interview

Immersed in Movies by Bill Desowitz | Aviva Kempner Interview

The Philadelphia Inquirer by Steven Rae | How a philanthropist aided black education in Jim Crow South

News One Now with Roland Martin | Watch Aviva Kempner Interview

MSNBC's Morning Joe with Roland Marti | Aviva Kempner and Rev. Al Sharpton discuss the late Julian Bond

American University Radio's The Kojo Nnamdi Show | Aviva Kempner and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton discuss the late Julian Bond

Jewish Telegraphic Ageny by Lisa Hostein | Rosenwald tells story of Jewish philanthropist who transformed black lives

Jewish Exponent by Marissa Stern | Documentary Reveals the ‘Rosenwald’ Behind Rural Black Education

TrustMovies by James van Maanen | Get an Oscar polished up: Aviva Kempner's new doc arrives in theaters

TagHollywood by Andrea Lita Rademan | The incredible story of an unknown civil rights hero

African American Film Critics Association by Kam Williams | Review by Arno Rosenfeld | Film fest panelists tackle social justice — and fundraising

The New York Times by Cara Buckley | Why This Movie Now? Planning Release Dates, From ‘Straight Outta Compton’ to ‘Meru’


USA, 2015, 95 min
A film by Aviva Kempner

A production of The Ciesla Foundation

Writer, Producer & Director Aviva Kempner
Editor Marian Sears Hunter
Animation Carol Hilliard
Photo Animation Raplh Quattrucci
Artwork Keshini Ladduwahetty

Directors of Photography Michael Moser, Christopher Conder, Roger Grange, Mirko Popadic, Allen Rosen, Chapin Hall, Tom Kaufman, Dana Kupper & Stephan Mazurek
Consultants Peter Ascoli, Julian Bond, Stephanie Deutsch, Mary Hofschwelle
Post Production Coordinator Emma Carlin
Associate Producers Andrew Geyer & Michael Rose
Sound Editor Ira Spiegel
Composer Zane Mark

Also Directed by Aviva Kempner

Partisans of Vilna
The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg
Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg


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