NJCU Professor Joel Katz Honored with 2020 JC Arts Award

December 1, 2020
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JERSEY CITY, N.J. | New Jersey City University (NJCU) Professor Joel Katz, a filmmaker and quarter-century veteran of the institution’s Media Arts Department, will be honored by the Jersey City Arts Council as part of the 2020 Jersey City Arts Awards. Katz is being honored with the Jersey City Arts Council Award in Film & Television.

As an educator, Katz has mentored the university’s media art students — many of whom are first-generation college students — since his arrival on campus as part of the NJCU faculty in 1996.

As a filmmaker, his documentary and memoir/essay films deal primarily with racial and social justice issues. Strange Fruit (2002), about the history and legacy of the anti-lynching protest song first made famous by Billie Holiday, is in wide educational distribution and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. His work has appeared on PBS's Independent Lens, shown in New York's Film Forum. Katz’ filmmaking website is onierafilms.com.

Since 1999, Katz has served on the Board of Directors of Third World Newsreel, and joined the Advisory Board of the Black Maria Film Festival in 2011. His recent film The #1 Bus Chronicles (2019) profiles the lives of riders of the NJ Transit line that links Newark and Jersey City. Other documentary and essay films include White a Memoir in Color (2011), Dear Carry (1997) and Corporation with a Movie Camera (1992).

Among the agencies that have supported his films are the National Endowment for the Arts, the Independent Television Service, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, the U.S./Mexico Fund for Culture, the Puffin Foundation, and the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media

Katz earned a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College and a Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College.

Award sculptures of the 2020 winners are currently on display at The Canopy Hotel in downtown Jersey City.

Ira Thor
, Senior Director of University Communications and Media Relations | ithor@njcu.edu | 201-200-3301

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