My Journey as a Filmmaker
I did not set out earlier in life to become a filmmaker. Instead, I spent more than 30 years as a newspaper and magazine journalist – working for publications in Los Angeles, Washington DC, and San Francisco, and either reporting or editing stories about politics, legal affairs, entertainment and just about everything in between. But when the opportunity came along to tell a Holocaust-related story that had never been told before, I made a bold leap into the world of documentary filmmaking – and have not looked back since.
Finding New Holocaust Stories – and Turning Them into Films
As the generation of Holocaust survivors disappears from living memory, the need to tell new stories about the Shoah becomes even more important. As a documentary filmmaker, I’ve had the privilege of directing and producing two films – both of which told Holocaust-related stories that had not previously been presented onscreen. How and why I made these two films makes for a dramatic story in and of itself.
Telling Jewish Stories: Going Beyond the Holocaust
My first two documentaries both pertained to the Holocaust. But there are so many more stories to be told, particularly in the United States, where Jews have lived for even longer than America’s existence as an independent nation. In recent years, I’ve concentrated on documentary film projects that tell dramatic but little-known stories about Jews in America that come as a great surprise – both to Jews and non-Jews alike.
Steven Pressman is a documentary filmmaker and former journalist who worked at newspapers
and magazines in Los Angeles, Washington DC and San Francisco. Steve directed and produced
50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus, which premiered on HBO in 2013 and
received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Historical Programming. His film Holy Silence,
which focuses on the Vatican and the Holocaust, premiered on PBS in 2020. Steve’s latest film,
The Levys of Monticello, has won Best Documentary awards at film festivals in the United