Aviva Slesin


Photo of Aviva Slesin

Master Class in Documentary: Director's Series

Aviva Slesin is an accomplished, award-winning documentary filmmaker. She won an Academy Award in 1988 for her feature-length film, The Ten Year Lunch: The Wit and Legend of the Algonquin Round Table. The film screened at Sundance and many other film festivals around the world and aired on American Masters/PBS. Her other films include Voices in Celebration, a documentary that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the National Gallery of Art, Directed by William Wyler, a biography of the late Hollywood director which also screened at Sundance and was nominated for an Emmy and, more recently, Secret Lives: Hidden Children and Their Rescuers During World War II, which was based on her own experience as a “hidden child” in Lithuania. This documentary was nominated for two Emmys in 2004, aired on HBO/Cinemax, was a critic’s pick of the New York Times and was named one of the best 10 documentaries of the year by Andrew Sarris. She also produced and directed many short films for Saturday Night Live, HBO’s Real Sex, CTW’s Sesame Street, John Hockenberry’s Edgewise, Comedy Central’s HA! and, most recently, Talk About Art, for the National Gallery of Art. A selection of her work, The Long and Short of It, was screened as a special program at The Sundance Film Festival.

In 2015 Ms. Slesin was the recipient of a New York University Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Award for which she was nominated by her students.

Ms. Slesin began her career as a film editor on such films as Making Television Dance, about choreographer Twyla Tharp, The Rutles, a Beatles satire written and directed by Monty Python’s Eric Idle and The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir, produced by Shirley MacLaine.

She is the president of Aviva Films NY and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as the Directors Guild of America.