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A Holocaust survivor donates his violin to an instrument drive, changing the life of a 12-year old girl in the Bronx.
272 backers pledged $49,038 to help bring this project to life.
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Please VOTE for JOE'S VIOLIN for Indiewire's "Project of the Week". It takes less than minute!  VOTE NOW!

We're going strong but our campaign ENDS TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT! Help us meet our stretch goal so we can bring this powerful story to life! 

Surpassing our original goal means we can shoot an interview with Joe's brother (also a survivor), be more ambitious with our dream team animators, and commission an original score.

NEW PERK! Everyone who donates will be entered in a raffle to win one of ten books written by Jon Stewart and The Daily Show writers. **BOOK WILL BE AUTOGRAPHED AND PERSONALLY SIGNED TO YOU, OR THE RECIPIENT OF YOUR CHOICE, BY JON STEWART HIMSELF!** (Books are "America: The Book" or "Earth: The Book")

Please Donate Now!

The Story

Hello! I’m Kahane Cooperman, the director of the short documentary, Joe’s Violin. About a year ago, on my way to work, I heard a promo for WQXR's musical instrument drive on my car radio: something along the lines of “All instruments collected will go to NYC school kids in need - Donate now like so-and-so of Brooklyn and Joseph Feingold, a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor who donated his violin.” Those 15 seconds sparked something in me – an intense curiosity about the history of this violin, the person who donated it and the young student who would soon receive it. I was drawn to the idea that two vastly different people might benefit from the same violin, years apart.   

When I started this project, I was the Producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - coming up on my 18th year. My background, however, was in documentaries and my passion for them had never faded.  Before The Daily Show, I worked for Maysles Films and had directed and produced several docs. The journey of this violin was the perfect reason to return to my love for storytelling, a siren call back to my roots. 

Over the past year, an emotional story has been unfolding before me. I've had the opportunity to learn about Joseph's life - one full of great joys and the deepest, darkest of sorrows. With the help of the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, his violin has found an inspiring new home at the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls (BGLIG), a charter school in the poorest congressional district in the country, where, in addition to a rigorous academic curriculum, every student learns to play string instruments beginning in kindergarten. At BGLIG, the devoted principal and string teachers have chosen an exceptional 12-year-old student named Brianna to receive Joe's violin. For this young musician, playing the violin has been a great comfort through many life challenges over the years.

Currently, Brianna is practicing a new song on Joe's violin - a profoundly meaningful one that Joe's mother sang to him before the war. In June 2015, when Joseph and Brianna meet for the first time, she will surprise him with this song, playing on the very same violin that has brought him so much comfort and joy for more than 70 years. Joe and Brianna will forever be connected through this one violin; something that could have never happened without a simple act of generosity.

Why we need your help:

We have completed and self-financed all shoots to date working with a very talented, passionate and dedicated filmmaking team including producer Raphaela Neihausen and the legendary cinematographer Bob Richman. Locations have included Manhattan, The Bronx and Los Angeles.  

Now we need to raise funds to cover the following: 

  • 3 more shoots with Joseph and Brianna
  • Editing fees
  • Animation
  • Archival footage
  • Music
  • Post-production 

The $35,000 we have raised through this Kickstarter campaign will help move us towards meeting these goals, but doesn't cover them completely.  PLEASE HELP US MEET OUR STRETCH GOAL NOW! There are not many grant opportunities for short films so you are our best chance for funding! Please consider giving whatever you can - any amount is appreciated. We would be over the moon if we can surpass our fundraising goal!

We deeply appreciate any support and can't wait for the opportunity to share the beautiful story of Joe's Violin with the world!  Please donate and spread the word now!!

Why support this particular film?

Joe's Violin reminds us of the impact a small generous gesture can have on another human being.  By donating his violin, Joseph Feingold is enabling a new generation to connect to the history of the Holocaust, keep the music of his instrument alive, offer another person the pleasure of playing it, and others the pleasure of hearing it.

Joe's Violin is especially important right now when funding and resources for arts education in America are extremely threatened. The Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls passionately incorporates music education into their daily academic curriculum. This film illuminates the undeniably positive effect that music education has on young lives.

Lastly, Joe's Violin will celebrate the intangible power of music to comfort the soul, evoke memory, and bring pure joy to all of us.

Can I make a tax-deductible donation?

Yes! You can make a tax-deductible donation through our fiscal sponsor New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT).  

Please make your check out to "NYWIFT" and put the project name "Joe's Violin" in the memo portion of the check.

Checks should be sent to: New York Women in Film & Television, 6 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016.

About the filmmakers

Kahane Cooperman: Director/Producer

Kahane Cooperman is Executive Producer of Amazon Studio's new docu-series The New Yorker Presents. Prior to this role, she was Producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Originally hired for her documentary background, she was with the Daily Show since its inception in 1996, starting out as a field producer before becoming Senior Producer, Supervising Producer and then Co-Executive Producer from 2005-2013. For her work at the show, she received ten Primetime Emmy awards and two Peabody awards. 

Kahane began her documentary career at Maysles Films in NYC. She has produced and directed several documentaries including Cool Water, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and Making Dazed about Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, which was broadcast on AMC and acquired by the Criterion Collection. Kahane also produced the feature doc Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam, directed by Nick Broomfield.

Kahane is on the advisory board of the Montclair Film Festival. She has an MFA in Film from Columbia University.

Raphaela Neihausen: Producer

Raphaela Neihausen is the founder and Executive Director of DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival. She is also Executive Director of Stranger Than Fiction, a weekly series at IFC Center now its 10th year, described as “indispensable” (New York magazine) and voted “NY’s best documentary programing” (Time Out New York). From 2011 - 2014, she also launched the Montclair Film Festival, as Executive Director.

Raphaela produced the documentary Miss GULAG (recipient of grants from the Ford Foundation and Sundance Documentary Fund) that premiered at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival and was broadcast all over the world.

For seven years prior, she worked for Mercer Management Consulting (now Oliver Wyman) where she advised Fortune 100 companies on business strategy and rose to the position of senior associate. She holds a BSFS/MA joint degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Some images from the production to date:

Kahane interviewing Joseph in his apartment.
Kahane interviewing Joseph in his apartment.
Bob films Brianna receiving the violin at BGLIG
Bob films Brianna receiving the violin at BGLIG
Brianna practices while her mom makes dinner.
Brianna practices while her mom makes dinner.
Joe at home, playing his violin.
Joe at home, playing his violin.

A LITTLE TASTE OF REWARDS

Criterion DVD, signed by Richard Linklater
Criterion DVD, signed by Richard Linklater
Postcard signed by filmmakers, mailed anywhere in the world
Postcard signed by filmmakers, mailed anywhere in the world

Risks and challenges

Since we are so far along in the production of Joe's Violin, we have far fewer risks than a project that's just beginning. We've been graciously granted access to the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls, Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, WQXR, and into the lives of our main subjects. We've already accumulated the much of footage we need.

The biggest risk we face now is not completing the film because of a lack of money. We need funds to film Joseph as he visits Brianna's school in June, shoot another two interviews, license archival footage, create animations, hire editors, pay for music and to support other post-production expenses.

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    Receive a signed Criterion DVD or BluRay of Richard Linklater’s cult classic “Dazed and Confused” (including Kahane’s behind-the-scenes doc “Making Dazed”) -- SIGNED BY DIRECTOR RICHARD LINKLATER, plus all rewards at the $500 level.

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    Enjoy a personal tour of NY Public Radio with Instrument Drive Director Kathleen Drohan (select from several dates), plus all rewards at the $500 level.

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    Receive a one-on-one film consultation with Thom Powers, documentary programmer of the Toronto International Film Festival, DOC NYC and Stranger Than Fiction, recently called the documentary “kingmaker” by the New York Times. Also receive a season pass to the acclaimed documentary series Stranger Than Fiction (STFdocs.com) at IFC Center, plus all previous rewards.

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    Receive an invitation to the film’s rough cut screening (travel expense not included), an Associate Producer credit on Joe’s Violin, plus all previous rewards.

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Funding period

- (32 days)