The Bagel: An Immigrant's Story

When my grandmother, the renowned filmmaker Joan Micklin Silver, passed away, she left behind an unfinished project, entitled The Bagel: An Immigrant’s Story. The documentary was never completely edited, but there is a wealth of footage that she shot detailing the history of the bagel: its ethnic origins as a Jewish staple, the labor struggles surrounding bagel-makers who fought for fair wages, and its eventual assimilation into a mainstream breakfast food. She filmed dozens of hours of interviews with historians, food critics, bagel makers, and friends meditating on what exactly makes the bagel such an enchanting food. The discovery of the footage in mini-DV format offered me the exciting possibility of completing her last major project. This documentary will reflect on the legacy of the bagel as a symbol of Jewish immigration and the history of its rise and assimilation.

  • Jack Wareham
  • Joan Micklin Silver
    Crossing Delancey; Hester Street
  • Sarah Teale
    Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections; The Weight of the Nation; Dealing Dogs; Hacking Democracy
  • Nela Wagman
    Come Find Me; That Was Delicious; Magnetism
  • Jack Wareham
  • Jerry Stiller
    Key Cast
    Seinfeld; Hairspray; Zoolander
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    40 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2024
  • Production Budget:
    300,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Jack Wareham, Joan Micklin Silver

Jack, Joan Micklin Silver’s grandchild, grew up in the Lower East
Side in New York City and in Los Angeles. Born to a family of film-lovers, they fondly remember taking the 6 train to Midtown East to watch movies with their grandparents, Joan Micklin and Raphael Silver. After high school in Los Angeles, Jack attended UC Berkeley, where they wrote film reviews for the campus newspaper and volunteered at the Pacific Film Archive. They are now a master’s student in philosophy at the New School for Social Research, where they study psychoanalysis, Frankfurt School social theory, and contemporary feminist thought. In their free time, you’ll find them projecting movies with their roommates, playing chess, and on occasion, cooking five-course meals for friends.

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