"The Catskills" is a feature-length documentary film on the rise and fall of the Borscht Belt.
With a trove of lost-and-found archival footage and a cast of characters endowed with the gift of gab, "The Catskills" journeys into the storied mountain getaway north of New York City that served as refuge for Jewish immigrants fleeing poverty as well as a lavish playground for affluent Jewish families.
Stand-up comedians share their best shtick while former waiters, entertainers, and dance instructors recount tales of the family-run resorts and bungalows that inspired films like "Dirty Dancing."
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Lex Gillespie is a three time Peabody Award-winning public radio journalist-turned-filmmaker. "The Catskills" is his second film. His first, "The Mamboniks" (2019, 90 mins), explored the mambo craze of the 1950s. His features for public radio exposed dangerous jobs in garment factories on the US-Mexico border, chronicled the return of the sacred Blue Lake to the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, and told the story of a hip hop opera set in a Korean mom-and-pop corner store.
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