Joseph Dorman

Adjunct Instructor, Open Arts

History of Documentary Film

Joseph Dorman is an award-winning independent filmmaker and the founder of Riverside Films. He is a winner of television’s prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for excellence.

His most recent film, the award-winning Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness, was called “compelling” and “wonderfully rich,” and had a 100% positive rating from critics on the Rotten Tomatoes website. It was one of the top grossing documentaries of 2011, playing across the country and simultaneously in 14 theaters in the New York City area. Mr. Dorman also 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.

He is currently finishing a major film on Zionism and the Middle East as well as a documentary on the life and career of pioneering AIDS pediatrician James Oleske, the man who discovered HIV/AIDS in infants.

Mr. Dorman co-wrote the script of the documentary blockbuster The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Journey, which played to packed houses across the country and 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 including a profile of Jordan’s Crown Prince Hassan and was a producer for the PBS series The Eleventh Hour.

In 1999 Mr. Dorman was invited along with playwright Arthur Miller and director Joan Micklin Silver to give one of Harvard University’s annual William E. Massey Sr. Lecture in the history of American Civilization.