Joseph A. Dorman

Adjunct Instructor

Photo of Joseph Dorman

History of Documentary Film

Joseph Dorman is an award-winning filmmaker and the founder of Riverside Films.  He is a winner of television’s prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for Excellence. His latest film on the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and his fight against poverty will be coming out in 2017.

Mr. Dorman wrote and directed the critically acclaimed theatrically released documentary, Arguing the World, about the controversial sixty-year political journey of the eminent political writers and thinkers, Daniel Bell, Irving Howe, Irving Kristol and Nathan Glazer.  The New York Times described it as “enthralling…  one of the deepest portraits of… of ideas ever filmed,” and The New Yorker raved “Superb.”  It was named one of the best films of 1998 by The New York Times, and New York Magazine and was shortlisted for the Oscars.

His film, the award-winning Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness (2011), was called “compelling” and “wonderfully rich.” It was one of the top grossing documentaries of 2011, playing across the country.

In 2016, his film Colliding Dream (2016) about the controversial history of Zionism premiered theatrically in February of 2016 and was described as “Compelling and Engrossing,” by Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times, and “A great documentary,” by Variety.

Mr. Dorman co-wrote the script of the documentary blockbuster, The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Journey, which was named the best documentary of 2001 by the National Board of Review and described by film critic Andrew Sarris as “extraordinary.” He also wrote the theatrically released documentary Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry.

He was a senior producer for the primetime PBS newsmagazine series on the news media, Media Matters, hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex Jones, has produced numerous films on the developing world for PBS, Discovery and the United Nations and was a producer for the PBS series The Eleventh Hour.

Mr. Dorman also writes for The New York Times Book Review and other publications. His books include Arguing the World: The New York Intellectuals in their Own Words (2001) and the forthcoming When Ideas Mattered, The Nathan Glazer Reader, which he co-edited and for which he wrote the introduction.  In 1999 he was invited along with playwright Arthur Miller and director Joan Micklin Silver to give Harvard University’s annual William E. Massey Sr. Lecture in the history of American Civilization.