Snitow-Kaufman Productions was formed in 1993 to produce film, video and educational media for the general public on social issues from race relations to globalization. We are a non-profit, tax-exempt organization based in Berkeley, California.
"Snitow and Kaufman bring a fair-minded skepticism to everything they film." – Michael Sragow, The New Yorker
"Never ones to flinch from controversy, the two hit all the pressure points." - B. Ruby Rich, SF360
Our Work

In Production

The Mural Controversy

(working title only)

The Mural Controversy by Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow

What does this country owe people who have been historically wronged?

How should we teach American history?

How does a changing society deal with controversial works of art?

These are some of the questions we are addressing in our new feature length documentary film about the recent controversy over Depression-era murals at San Francisco’s George Washington High School.

The conflict began when Native American critics of the “Life of Washington” murals demanded they be painted over because they include a life-size corpse of a dead Indian and images of Indian warriors with scalps in their belts. The critics said these are racist stereotypes even if radical artist Victor Arnautoff intended the murals as a critique of Washington’s participation in genocide against Native peoples. They want an end to the harmful school tradition of students saying “Meet me under the dead Indian.”

Defenders of the murals assert that the artist’s intentions do matter and that the murals represent the real history of this country. They want the school to “teach the murals” as part of the curriculum. Covering the murals, they said, would be “identity politics gone off the rails” and an act of reprehensible censorship against a leftwing artist who studied with Diego Rivera.

Heated debates over the future of the murals spilled into the community and the national press, and there were near riots at hearings and forums throughout the city. The fight – taking place in the wake of battles over Confederate monuments across the U.S. – has become the catalyst for a national discussion about the meaning of reparations, the obstacles to progressive coalition-building, the issues of generational trauma and identity politics, and the ways in which America’s history of genocide and slavery is taught and memorialized. As Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz asks in An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, “How might acknowledging the reality of US history work to transform society?”

Help us make this film:

Contributions of any size are welcome and will be acknowledged. Make checks payable to “Snitow-Kaufman Productions” and send to: Snitow-Kaufman Productions, P.O. Box 7402, Berkeley, CA 94707.

In Release

Company Town

2016, 77 minutes

The once free-spirited city of San Francisco is now a “Company Town,” a playground for tech moguls of the “sharing economy.” Airbnb is the biggest hotel. Uber privatizes transit. And now these companies want political power as well. Meanwhile, middle class and ethnic communities are driven out by skyrocketing rents and evictions–sparking a grassroots backlash that challenges the oligarchy of tech. Is this the future of cities around the world? The feature-length documentary, “Company Town,” is the story of an intense election campaign to determine the fate of the city at the epicenter of the digital revolution. Produced and directed by Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow. Edited by Manuel Tsingaris. 2016, 77 minutes

Broadcast on over 150 PBS stations in October and November, 2017.

If you missed the broadcasts, the film is Now Available from Bullfrog Films
To preview or purchase the film:
Institutional, community group, and home video rates available

Mill Valley Film Festival
Sonoma International Film Festival
Roxie Cinema, San Francisco
Elmwood Theater, Berkeley
Stranger Than Fiction–IFC Center, New York City

“It may just be the finest political film of the year.” –Film Critic Kelly Vance, East Bay Express

“Catnip for political junkies.” — Film Critic Walter Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle

“Fascinating, wonderful, and lively.” — Tim Redmond, 48 Hills

“Company Town” is a shot of political energy, just when we need it most — a valentine to the weird and wild hurly-burly of the electoral process at the grassroots level, from where true democracy springs.” — David Talbot, founder of Salon and bestselling author of  “Season of the Witch” and “The Devil’s Chessboard”

“I was thrilled by Company Town‘s virtuoso storytelling, its compassion, and the message that democracy can actually win the fight (sometimes!) against our corporate overlords.”  — Josh Kornbluth, Monologuist & Filmmaker

“Riveting…This high minded film lets the personal stories it has uncovered speak the truth to us in a way that “disrupts the disrupters…the best kind of story-telling.” — Steven Hill, Huffington Post review by the author of “Raw Deal: How the Uber Economy is Screwing American Workers”

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