Helen Levitt Documentary (Help Support)

Here are the results of a Google image search for American Jewish photographer Helen Levitt. Documentary film director Mina Son recently contacted me looking to help promote and find funding for a film on Levitt  being put together by Director Tanya Sleiman. You can check out the project at (http://kck.st/U36c7Z). The website includes information as to how to lend your financial support. The project looks very cool. Here’s what I was sent.


Uncovering Helen Levitt: a camera-shy photographer hits the NYC streets for 70 years, transforming American street photography forever.


Before street photographers took Manhattan by storm, there was Helen Levitt. An artistic pioneer and the ultimate photographer’s photographer, Levitt lived as a total enigma, determined to dodge the public eye in favor of what she loved most: poker, baseball, and, above all, capturing the city at play. 95 Lives searches for the many, colorful lives of this female pioneer and the formidable contributions she made to 20th century art and to the city that shaped her incredible body of work: New York.

From Director Tanya Sleiman:

I am taking on this no-nonsense photographer because I am passionate for the work’s power to make us laugh, think, and travel straight to the moment and place it was captured. I have found a magical world and want to share this story of discovery with others. 

I launched this project when I first met Helen Levitt in 2008. I then began production in Fall 2009 in New York with contemporary street photographers and conducted interviews with artists, friends of Helen Levitt, and scholars related to the story. I felt the race against time in order to speak with some of Helen Levitt’s friends who were thriving yet nonetheless in their late 80’s and early 90’s. The interviews I secured in the earliest productions are fabulous insights into mid-century New York and California arts communities.  For 3 years, I have been working in museum archives, city and national archives, historic film collections, and talking with surviving friends of Helen Levitt. 

I am raising money on Kickstarter to film dramatic reenactments of key moments of Helen Levitt’s 95 years. Your support will make the finished film the cinematic experience an artist like Helen Levitt deserves. These scenes are historically accurate and grounded in scholarship, but enacted vibrantly to help make the film come alive for today’s viewers.

The best way to support this project is to make a donation in any amount you can. Kickstarter is all or nothing. If we don’t reach our goal of $28,500, we lose it all. We’d also love help in telling friends about the project! Whether it’s in person, through phone calls, emails and with social media on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and beyond. We treasure every dollar not for what it buys, but for the support you share.

For more in 95 Lives, see http://www.indiewire.com/article/project-of-the-day-a-camera-shy-photographer-shoots-nyc-for-70-years

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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