Writer, Producer & Director

Aviva Kempner has a mission in life: Her films and writing investigate non-stereotypical images of Jews in history and focuses and celebrates the under known stories of Jewish heroes.

Ms. Kempner was the script writer, director and producer of The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, a film about the Jewish slugger who fought anti-Semitism in the 1930s and 40s. It was awarded top honors by the National Society of Film Critics, the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. The film received a George Peabody Award and was nominated for an Emmy.

Ms. Kempner also produced and co-wrote Partisans of Vilna, a documentary on Jewish resistance against the Nazis, which came out in DVD for its 20th anniversary. She was the executive producer of the 1989 Grammy-award nominated record, Partisans of Vilna: The Songs of World War II Jewish Resistance.

Ms. Kempner lives in Washington, DC where she plays a prominent role in the artist and film community. She is also an activist for voting rights for the District of Columbia. She is the child of a Holocaust survivor and US army officer and was born in Berlin after WWII.

Her many accomplishments include: recipient of the 1996 Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2000 DC Mayor's Art Award: 2001 Women of Vision award from D.C.'s Women in Film and Video chapter and the 2001 Media Arts award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. In 2009, Aviva received the Freedom of Expression Award from the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, the largest and oldest Jewish festival in America.  This award recognizes her films' contributions to creating positive images of Jewish people.

She writes film criticism and feature articles for numerous publications, including The Boston Globe, The Forward, Washington Jewish Week and The Washington Post. She also lectures about cinema throughout the country. Aviva currently has several new film projects in the works. The Rosenwald Schools, about philanthropist Julius Rosenwald's collaboration with Booker T. Washington to build over 5,000 rural schools in the South, is in post-production and she has begun producing documentaries about turn of the century labor leader Samuel Gompers and the itinerant Polish film director, Agnieszka Holland.


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Aviva and her mother, Helen Ciesla Covensky

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