Jeff Zimbalist

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Jeff Zimbalist
Jeff Zimbalist.jpg

Jeffrey Leib Nettler Zimbalist (born August 15, 1978 in Northampton, Massachusetts) is an American filmmaker. With his brother Michael, he runs a production company called All Rise Films.

Early life and education[edit]

Jeff Zimbalist grew up in western Massachusetts, attending public school in Northampton. He played baseball, football, and competitively skied. He got his bachelor's degree from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.


Together with Matt Mochary, Jeff Zimbalist won the Best Emerging Filmmaker Award at the 2005 TriBeCa Film Festival for his film Favela Rising. Favela Rising also garnered a 2006 Emmy Nomination for Zimbalist, was named as the 2005 International Documentary Association's Film of the Year, was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2005, and won 36 International Film Festival Awards, including Best Documentary at Sydney and Leeds International Film Festivals. The film follows the life of Anderson Sa through the favelas of Rio de Janeiro in his attempt to use Afro-Reggae music to provide a positive outlet for the residents of a dangerous environment. The film was distributed by Thinkfilm and HBO Documentary Films in North America and was theatrically released in 16 countries, including by the Institute of Contemporary Art in the UK.

In 2010, Disney / ESPN Films released "The Two Escobars" which Jeff directed and produced with his brother Michael Zimbalist. Jeff also was credited as the director of photography and editor. The film was nominated for another Emmy and was an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and the IDFA International Film Festival. In 2011, Jeff and Michael Zimbalist's script for The Two Escobars was nominated for a best nonfiction script by the Writers Guild of America and was named 2010 Documentary Of The Year alongside The Tillman Story by Sports Illustrated.[1] Of the over 50 films in the Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 series, Vulture ranked "The Two Escobars" as the best one.[2] The Zimbalists shared the 2011 Peabody Award with this first season of ESPN Films 30for30 filmmakers.[3] Since, in addition to producing other 30for30 films, the Zimbalist brothers have also directed two other entries into the 30for30 series, including "Arnold's Blueprint" with Arnold Schwartzenegger and "Youngstown Boys", which won an Emmy in 2014.[4]

Zimbalist directed "The Greatest Love Story Ever Told" about the Bollywood film industry in India, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 and was theatrically distributed worldwide with Wild Bunch. In 2014, the Zimbalist brothers wrote and directed a scripted feature film on the early life of soccer legend Pelé for Imagine Entertainment with Brian Grazer producing. Pelé was distributed theatrically worldwide. Pelé himself attended the premieres at the Cannes Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival.

In 2018, Jeff created and was showrunner on the Netflix marquee investigative music documentary series ReMastered.

The same year, Zimbalist won an Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival alongside over 20 other international film festival awards, 5 New York Film & TV Gold Awards and the Grand Prize, and two Emmy nominations for his documentary Momentum Generation and premiered Nossa Chape at SxSw Film Festival. Nossa Chape was released theatrically in the US on June 1, 2018 by Fox with an introduction by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and broadcast premiered during the World Cup on Fox June 23, 2018. It has a 92% Rotten Tomatoes critics score and a 100% audience score. Nossa Chape won Best Picture at the 2018 Los Angeles Film Awards, where Momentum Generation won Best Inspirational Film, and the Zimbalist Brother's feature documentary Give Us This Day, tracking 3 police officers and 3 residents in the highest homicide rate city in the U.S., won the Best Director honor. Give Us This Day also won 4 Medals at the New York Film & TV Awards. Also in 2018, Jeff released the Phenoms series on Fox Sports.

As a director, cinematographer and editor, Zimbalist's work has also been featured in a retrospective at the Big Sky Film Festival, at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. He has produced development documentaries for over a dozen clients throughout the United States, in South Asia, Africa and Latin America, including the Ford Foundation, the World Bank, the Templeton Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank, as well as provided media consulting services to the UNDP and various international nonprofit service organizations. Jeff teaches at the New York Film Academy and the Maine Photographic Workshops. He is a Massachusetts State Cultural Council Fellow, a Cinereach grantee, a San Francisco Film Society Rainin Grant recipient, LEF grant recipient, and a Ford Foundation Grantee.[citation needed]

Jeff's charitable work includes a recruiting video for Amigos de las Américas, an organization that he volunteered with as a teenager.


  1. ^ "'Inception,' 'Fighter,' 'The Kids Are All Right' Among Writers Guild Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "30 for 30 earns Primetime Emmy nom". 15 July 2011. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  4. ^ admin. "Overdue: ESPN 30 for 30 finally wins first sports Emmy - The Sherman ReportThe Sherman Report". Retrieved 27 June 2019.

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