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The Tribe

An unauthorized, unorthodox history

of the Jewish people and the Barbie around 15 minutes

"A powerful, universal film that will surprise and challenge anyone who has wrestled with issues of faith, identity, and history."
Roberta Munroe, Sundance Film Festival Programmer

"A smart, funny, 18-minute film."

The New York Times

“Tribe is a brilliant, irreverent, wry and buoyant film"

John Columbus, Director, Black Maria Film Festival

What can the most successful doll on the planet show us about being Jewish today? Narrated by Peter Coyote, this award-winning film mixes old school narration with a new school style. Weaving together archival footage, animation, Barbie dioramas, and slam poetry, The Tribe takes audiences on an electric ride through the complex history of the Jewish people- from Biblical times to present day- through the story of Barbie. The film sheds light on the questions: What does it mean to be an American Jew today? What does it mean to be a member of any tribe in the 21st Century?


The first documentary to reach #1 on iTunes, The Tribe had its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival, has played in over 100 festivals, has won 17 awards, was ordered to be played on every US Naval ship and is used in educational institutions around the world.

What the Tribe meant to this journalist in The Forward...

Long before the blockbuster movie, Barbie taught me how to embrace Judaism

— and celebrate Yom Kippur

A 2005 documentary showed me that the history of Barbie

and the history of American Jews are weirdly connected

By Sophie Brett-Chin August 1, 2023

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Share THE TRIBE on the interweb here->


18 Years After It's Sundance Premiere, My Thoughts on The Tribe


By Tiffany Shlain

I’m a blonde blue-eyed Jew named Tiffany and I’m married to a blond blue-eyed Jew named Ken. So perhaps it makes sense that eighteen years ago, I directed a film called The Tribe, an unauthorized, unorthodox history of the Jewish people and the Barbie doll. My husband and I co-wrote the film, which in many ways, was a distillation of all of our conversations about being Jewish in an assimilated culture. As someone who was always told I didn’t “look Jewish” I always thought it was one of the great ironies of the 21st century that the world's most famous WASP, Barbie, was created by a Jewish woman. Read the whole essay on REBOOT here ->

Produced, Directed and Edited by Tiffany Shlain
Written by Tiffany Shlain & Ken Goldberg
Art Director: Gil Gershoni
Narrator: Peter Coyote


“Hebrew Mamita” Written and Performed by Vanessa Hidary
Music Composed by Paul Godwin
Special Animations by Stefan Nadelman 
Sound Design & Rerecording Mixer Dave Nelson
Additional Music Composed by Matt Ganucheau


Production Management: Citizen Film
Assistant Director: Romy Itzigsohn
Associate Editor: Dalan McNabola
Animator: Thomas Eugene Green
Music Supervisor: Paul Godwin

Script Contributors: Carlton Evans, Susan Stern, Romy Itzigsohn

Lead Donor: Roselyne Chroman Swig

Patrons: Natan Fund, The Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund, Charles H. Revson Foundation, Aaron Foundation, Alexander M. and June L. Maisin Foundation, Andrea & Charles Bronfman Slingshot Fund

Angels: Reboot, Rosanne & Al Levitt, Barbara & Richard Rosenberg, Betty & Jack Schafer, Anita & Ronald Wornick, Phil Schlein

Donors: Joyce Linker, Sue & Richard Wollack, Joelle Steefel/Joelle Spitzer Philanthropic Fund, Robert & Michelle Friend Foundation, Nancy Grand, Connie & James Shapiro, Barbara Otto, Donny Linker, Kevin Linker, Dana Linker, Marilyn Waldman, Peter Yolles and Jill Einstein, Joe Epstein, Jeremy Kidson, Peter & Melanie Maier

8 min Interview with a very pregnant director, 13 years ago about The Tribe below->

Quotes from Festivals

“Tribe is a brilliant, irreverent, wry and buoyant film ... one of this year’s Black Maria Film Festival biggest and most worthy hits. I love this film and so do audiences.”

– John Columbus, Founder and Director, The Black Maria Film Festival

“The Tribe is a concise and innovative statement about Jewish identity today...It says much of what I feel.”

-Janis Plotkin, Executive Director, Film Arts Foundation

“A smart, funny, witty film that gets at complex issues of Jewish identity in a very compelling and pithy manner.”

-Nancy Fishman, Director of Programming, SF Jewish Film Festival

“The Tribe juxtaposes a straight commentary with hilarious found footage graphics to get across a complex message in an entertaining way. The fast-paced clash of word and image makes you pay attention and think. Sergei Eisenstein’s intellectual montage lives!”

-Marilyn Fabe, Film Theory Scholar UC Berkeley

Quotes from Jewish Educators

"The best presentation of the postmodern, deconstructed Judaism I see everywhere and in everyone, and it’s beautiful.

-Rabbi Larry Pinsker

“It's great that serious artists are focusing their intelligence and imagination on what it means to be a Jew today. It stimulated a whole array of responses both intellectual and emotional.”

-Robert Sherman, Director, Bureau of Jewish Education

“I can’t even express to you how much I LOVED this film! It was immediately engaging, fun, funny, creative and, ultimately, deeply moving!"

-Dr. Sharone Rosen, DC Cantor, Temple Beth Torah, Granada Hills, CA

“I just saw your film and think its wonderful. I’m very enthusiastic about your work in creating a new Jewish culture."

-David S. Ariel President, Siegal College

“OH MY GOD the film was my life, an actual journal of my thoughts and personal history. It was an amazing film. I just saw it last night at the Black Mariah Film Festival.”

-Deborah Mosch Professor of Foundation Studies The Savannah College of Art and Design


Quotes from the Audience

“Now that I’ve seen this film, the world will never look the same to me again.”

-John R. Carter, Sr.

“‘The Tribe’ is phenomenal. I was talking about it all night.”

-Jason Wishnow

"Your work really connected me to a very new perspective. I still have not found my tribe but I would like to renew the search…thanks for the push.”

-Aaron Ray

“I laughed and cried. The 18 minutes that just flew by. It rang so true to home."

-Brian Maya

Tribe Discussion Kit & Educator Kit

The Tribe Educator's Kit includes a DVD of the film, a deck of conversation cards for all ages, The Guide From The Perplexed discussion book, and a complete High School and University level Educator's Guide. We currently have a limited supply! We will have a digital version of curriculum available soon. Sign up for our newsletter to stay posted.
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