Aviva Kempner

Director  |  Producer

A Washington, D.C.-based filmmaker, creates successful and critically acclaimed documentaries about under-known Jewish heroes and social justice. In 2019, she premiered her fifth commercially-released film, The Spy Behind Home Plate. Her other films include Rosenwald, a documentary about how Chicago businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald partnered with Booker T. Washington in establishing over 5,000 schools for African Americans in the Jim Crow South, which she dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement; Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, about Gertrude Berg, who created the first television sitcom; and the Emmy-nominated and Peabody-awarded The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, about the Hall of Famer who faced anti-Semitism during the ’30s.  Both Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, and Hank Greenberg grossed over a million dollars at the box office and are highly ranked, along with Rosenwald, on Rotten Tomatoes.  She also produced the award-winning documentary Partisans of Vilna, about Jews fighting the Nazis.

Kempner also co-wrote and is co-producing the dramatic script Casuse with fellow Imagining the Indian director and producer Ben West. The film is about the Navajo activist Larry Casuse, who Kempner knew while a VISTA volunteer in New Mexico in the early ’70s. While attending the Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., Kempner interned at the Office of the Solicitor at the Department of Interior’s Indian Affairs. Upon graduation, she worked at the National Tribal Chairman’s Association and the National Conference of American Indians.

Kempner is an activist and advocate for statehood for Washington, D.C.as a board member of DC Vote.