A folklorist by training, Susan Levitas has used documentary and feature films to capture unexpected facets of the cultural history of the American South, from blues musicians in Washington to Jewish boxers in Savannah. Levitas earned a BFA in acting from NYU and an MA in folklore from University of Pennsylvania. She worked as a cultural consultant for the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Arts, and other institutions before turning her hand to directing and producing films on the rich musical and cultural life of the South. Her first film, the 1996 documentary The Music District, shed light on the go go, blues, and gospel music of Washington, DC. She followed this a year later with Dirty Rice, a feature film about a man returning to his Louisiana roots. Levitas herself moved from DC to New Orleans later that year. In 2003 she produced Shalom, Y’All, a documentary on the complex past and present of Jews in the American South. In 2007 she began doing voice over work for commercials and promotion. When Hurricane Katrina hit, Levitas relocated to Atlanta with her family, and was so inspired by the help she received from the local community that she began giving back as a board member of Rebecca’s Tent, a women’s shelter located at Congregation Shearith Israel in Atlanta.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Susan Levitas." (Viewed on August 3, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/levitas-susan>.