SXSWedu, AFS China, Broadcast Premier


This Spring brought a triple-treat almost simultaneously.  “Once in a Lullaby”  was selected by American Film Showcase for some documentary diplomacy in China.  American Film Showcase is an initiative by the United States Department of State in partnership with The University of Southern California Cinematic Studies Department to ship filmmakers and their films to countries that we may-or-may-not have a good relationship with.  The goal is to increase peace and goodwill between nations and I think it is one of the coolest things our government is doing.  I’m still finding it hard to believe that I was sent as an envoy to screen “Once in a Lullaby” and “We Love You” to Chinese audiences.  While there I also met with Chinese filmmakers and taught lectures and workshops to both college-age and High School students.  I have been wanting to travel to China for a long time and it was an amazing experience and an incredible honor.  You can read all the details and view some pictures on their website at the link below.

Jonathan Kalafer’s report from Wuhan, China

While I was bouncing around in China “Once in a Lullaby” received its broadcast premiere on public television.  Check your local listings for WLIW and NJTV to see if there are any more screenings coming up.  I was a little sad that I wasn’t able to watch the film broadcast over cable but it was a heck of a reason to miss it.  Thank goodness for DVR.  I was especially happy because the broadcast was preceded by a fun interview with John Servidio.


Right after China I got to realize another dream of mine.  I always wanted to go to SXSW.  SXSWedu is SXSW for educators and I only had enough time to pack a bag before I traveled directly to Austin Texas for screenings in the legendary Alamo Drafthouse Cinema as part of SXSWedu film program.  It was an amazing screening and there were many educators in the audience which contributed to a lively and thought provoking Q&A.

I’m still having a hard time believing I had that much fun and learned that much in such a short span of time.  What a fantastic end to a brutal Winter!

About New Jersey Pictures

Jonathan Kalafer is an award-winning director/producer of documentaries and an innovative educator serving at New Jersey Institute of Technology and The County College of Morris. His teaching has been acknowledged by the George Lucas Educational Foundation and he procured a “VH1 Save the Music” grant for Jersey City Public Schools. His students serve as both inspiration and collaborators for his professional documentary filmmaking, and he often includes them in the decision making process. Most recently he began working with The TriBeCa Institute to bring their unique programming and opportunities to his students. His most recent documentary "Once in a Lullaby: The PS 22 Chorus Story" (2012 director/producer) premiered at TriBeCa to a sold out audience and critical acclaim. Most recently it was selected by Toronto International Film Festival Tiff.Kids program and selected by the US State Department and USC for their Documentary Diplomacy program American Film Showcase. It earned the "Audience Award" at Woodstock Film Fest and "Best Documentary" at the New Jersey Film Festival. It was also nominated for a Gotham Award and was an official selection at numerous high profile film fests. Past films include We Love You (director/producer 2009) which premiered at the L.A. International Short Film Festival, where it won the “Best Documentary” award. It also won “Best Short Documentary” at the New Jersey Film Festival and was a finalist in the U.S.A. Film Festival. "Diary of Immaculee" (producer 2006) made the official shortlist for an Academy Award nomination and was part of the One X One program at The Toronto International Film Festival. It was also selected as a part of the DocuWeeks program and nominated for a "Best Short Documentary" by the I.D.A. Jonathan produced a segment for Universal's "Katy Perry: The 3D Experience" documentary and his video work has appeared on taste-making websites such as Brooklyn Vegan and Pitchfork. He has written pieces that have appeared on the Wall Street Journal's website and in print in Chilltown Magazine. He authored an innovative Media Arts and Sciences curriculum for JCPS that empowers students to be more informed consumers of media as well as producers of media themselves. Jonathan resides in Mendham with his wife Kori and his two sons Zachary 7 and Broden 5.This page contains my professional work, personal clips and is the archive of my students' work.
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