I am a filmmaker, teacher and media-activist committed to telling stories, and mentoring others to tell stories, that are socially conscious, entertaining, cinematically challenging [meaning they push or stretch the field], tenacious and personal (literally and/or stylistically). At the center of each film is a relationship where something of significance is both at stake and worth the trouble to fix, expose, heal or lose— even if it hurts.

Blue VinylThis website is my first attempt at communicating with the people who’ve been touched by my films and taken by their topics – enough to learn more about the evolving link to audience engagement and activism. It’s also for an ever-growing community of emerging and re-emerging mediamakers who are committed to social justice filmmaking. And finally, this site is for those who might want to hire me for filmmaking workshops and speaking engagements (universities, conferences and trainings). I’ll also try my hand at blogging here while I am on the road with EVERYTHING’S COOL or in production with HEATWAVE: an unnatural disaster and find a way to write about my work in the field with highlights from Working Films and Chicken and Egg Pictures.

A little background on me and my evolution from then till now…

WeaversThe film that first inspired me was The Weavers: Wasn’t That a Time (1982, Jim Brown & George Stoney). I was fifteen years old and Pete Seeger reached out of the TV set and grabbed me by the heart and I looked at my mom and said: “That’s what I want to do when I grow up!” What? Play the banjo? she exclaimed, (I didn’t play the banjo!). No I want to make that kind of film… Oh honey, that’s a documentary, she said, relieved.

What I wanted was to be on the other side of the TV set… to be talking to the people who were making the history, who were singing “the dangerous songs” that linked art to activism – I wanted to talk to them before the audience got to see them. And... I wanted to get out of Merrick, Long Island.

So that is what I pursued and started to do. And then when I was twenty-five I was diagnosed with DES-related cervical cancer and my social-change filmmaking took a radical shift — it got personal.

Millions of women, including my mom, had been prescribed the anti-miscarriage “wonder drug” diethylstilbestrol despite the... click for more


On Mother’s Day 2007 the Sundance Channel broadcast a very special never-before-broadcast-together Mother’s Day Triple-feature that spans 17 years of my family “in the movies”. .

Indeed – it is one long and loving exploration of motherhood, DES and parenting in the time of chemical exposure and reproductive technology.

Don’t miss... A HEALTHY BABY GIRL and its sequel BLUE VINYL (co-directed by Daniel B. Gold), followed by the television premiere of the epilogue EK VELT: At the End of the World. (Yes... Just when you think the irony is over the Helfand’s finally sell their house and move to... you won’t believe it!).

7:00pm – A Healthy Baby Girl

8:00pm – Blue Vinyl

9:40 om – Ek Velt: At the End of the World (U.S. Television Premiere)

At the same time this triple-feature is something to ‘schep’ a great deal of ‘nakhes’ (take pleasure and pride in Yiddish), and my father would have, it is very bittersweet. He passed away seven weeks ago. For those of you who didn’t know of his passing, or only knew him in the movies, I am sorry to share this with you on the web.

On the other hand, letting you know about his death in the same breath as his triple feature is perhaps the most wonderful kind of tribute. This MOTHERS DAY broadcast, scheduled when he was “well” in December ‘06, is dedicated to him. My dad was my greatest ally and collaborator and truly a mid-wife to these films.

Please share this pdf (which has screening details and some personal words about my father) and these films with your friends, or list-serves that are interested in social-change filmmaking, environmental health and justice, green-building, family, love or straight-up parenting and humanity.

There will be re-broadcasts over the next few weeks and BLUE VINYL will screen on the Sundance Channel’s new series THE GREEN in July.


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