Donna Kanter has earned distinction as owner of a film and documentary company, and as writer-producer-director of over two dozen films, including Cold Case Cops, Pope John Paul II’s Vatican, The White House: Behind the Gates, Lucy: Queen of Comedy, and A Civil Action In Pursuit of Justice.
Most recently, she was a cinematographer and writer-producer-director of two feature theatrical documentaries The Presence of Their Absence: A Personal and Film Journey and Lunch.
THE PRESENCE OF THEIR ABSENCE
The Presence of Their Absence (thepresenceoftheirabsence.com) pioneers a new tradition of story telling that belongs uniquely to children of Holocaust survivors. The film follows Fred Zaidman, a Los Angeles son of survivors, on his odyssey to unravel the mystery his parents had held secret throughout their lives.
Virgil Films Entertainment distributes the documentary. It was selected for the Directors Guild Director Finder series, Writers Guild Film Series, Skirball Cultural Center Film Series, in festivals, and premiered internationally at the Cinematheque in Tel Aviv in 2020, and on HD digital platforms.
LUNCH (www.lunchthedocumentary.com) features 12 comedy legends who had been swapping stories and sustaining friendship over matzo ball soup for 40 years: With Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Arthur Hiller, Gary Owens, John Rappaport, Monty Hall, and Donna’s father, Hal Kanter.
The film premiered for the Directors Guild Director Finder Series, was selected for the Writers Guild Film Series, and international film festivals. It won first prize in the National Entertainment Awards, the Gold Remi in the WorldFest Houston, and the Hollywood Film Festival’s Silver Medal. Vision Films distributes LUNCH
Donna preceded LUNCH with a theatrical documentary about seven comedy writers and the waitress who inevitably steps on their punch lines.
She then wrote and directed Friends for Life, a short, live-action film based on the Paulist Press book she edited about renowned feature film set photographer Louis Goldman. Hidden by Italian priests during WWII, Goldman, then 17, focused his lens on his enemies. Donna has completed the screenplay A Dangerous Alliance based on Goldman’s story.
She is developing two feature documentaries, Collateral Damage, on children of war survivors, and Dr. Death will See You Now, on the Right to Die controversy.
As owner of the Donna Kanter Company, Inc., Donna has excelled in her mission to employ and mentor filmmakers, four of whom she sponsored for membership in the Writers Guild and American Cinema Editors.
During her six-year service as Governor of the Writers Peer Group in The Television Academy, Donna waged a successful campaign to retain the writer and director awards on the Primetime Emmys broadcast.
She earned special merit as Treasurer for her formation of the Academy’s first investment policy, and for championing new tools for artistic creativity and distribution of filmmakers’ work.
A member of the Writers Guild, Donna has supported contracts for independent and low budget documentary filmmakers. Her creation of the ABC series, FBI: The Untold Stories formed the Guild’s non-fiction-drama hybrid formula.
Other documentary credits: Inside the FBI, Ringing Bros. Revealed, Great Heists, Eyes to the Skies, Families: On The Road To Somewhere (duPont winner), The Silent Sin (Emmy), The Angry Earth, No Access (Series), Case Reopened: Avenging The Victims, Crosshairs of Fire: The NOHO Shootout.
Raised in an atmosphere of comedy writers, Donna gravitated to labor and investigative reporting at KING-TV Seattle and became its first Executive Producer before joining Newsweek, ABC as a foreign editor, and producer for David Brinkley’s news documentary program
A graduate of UC Berkeley, Donna earned her M.A. in Italian Literature from the University of Florence.
A two-time Emmy recipient and member of the AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, Donna Kanter is a founding member of The Alliance of Women Directors, and member of the WGA, DGA, and IDA.
She has conducted interviews with Warsaw Ghetto and Holocaust survivors for the Shoah Foundation. In 2016, she won the National Journalism Entertainment’s First Prize for her tribute to writer Ben Starr in the Writers Guild Magazine.
Donna is a board member of the Norman Lear Center, USC Annenberg School for Communication that explores implications of the convergence of entertainment, technology, and society.
She is a trustee of her father Hal Kanter’s vast body of work for charitable donation to The Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Donna is the middle of three daughters, her parents Hal and Doris both writers (Hal, also a film and television producer and director), and granddaughter of Albert L. Kanter, creator and founder of Classics Comics and Classics Illustrated.