American Masters (2015 Season) – Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice

Production Bios

Air date: 01/23/2015

 American Masters – Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice


Premieres nationwide Friday, January 23, 9-10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)



Production Biographies


Molly Bernstein

Producer, Director and Editor

Molly Bernstein has written and directed documentary profiles of leading figures in the arts for the Sundance Channel and AMC. She has also worked extensively as an editor on documentary films, including the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning American Masters — Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About and Liberty! The American Revolution, a Peabody Award-winning PBS series produced by Middlemarch Films. Bernstein has produced many short films with Particle Productions about contemporary artists and art collectors around the world. She is currently completing a documentary about the photographer Rosamond Purcell.


Alan Edelstein

Producer and Co-Director

Alan Edelstein received an Academy Award nomination as producer of the documentary short The Wizard Of Strings, a profile of the 1920s string instrumentalist and vaudeville star Roy Smeck. He has worked as a writer and producer for Nowak Associates, Great Projects Film Company and Sundance Channel, among others. Recent projects include a promotional film for Education for Employment, a non-profit organization addressing the dire unemployment problem among youth in the Middle East and North Africa, shot on location in the West Bank, Jordan and Yemen. A journalist as well as a filmmaker, he has written on arts and culture for publications including The New York Times, the Forward and Transition.


Michael Kantor

American Masters Series Executive Producer

For more than two decades, award-winning filmmaker Michael Kantor has created outstanding arts programs for television. He joined American Masters as the series’ executive producer April 30, 2014.

His most recent PBS documentary series, Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, hosted by Liev Schreiber, premiered in fall 2013 and was nominated for an Emmy Award. Random House published the companion book. In January 2013, Kantor’s Peabody Award-winning, 90-minute film, Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy, aired as part of the Great Performances series on PBS. Narrated by Joel Grey, it included performances by Matthew Broderick, Kelli O’Hara, David Hyde Pierce, Marc Shaiman and many other Broadway talents. In 2012, Kantor produced The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater with Michael Tilson Thomas, which aired on PBS and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy. Kantor served as executive producer of the 90-minute special Give Me the Banjo, hosted by Steve Martin, and created Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America, the critically acclaimed six-part documentary series, hosted by Billy Crystal, that debuted in January 2009. His script for episode four, When I’m Bad, I’m Better: The Groundbreakers, co-authored with Laurence Maslon, was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. His landmark six-part series Broadway: The American Musical was hosted by Julie Andrews and honored with the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Series in 2005. That same year, he created three hours of DVD extras for 20th Century Fox’s 40th anniversary release of The Sound of Music.

Kantor wrote, directed and produced the award-winning profile American Masters: Quincy Jones: In the Pocket. With Stephen Ives, he co-directed Cornerstone: An Interstate Adventure for HBO, and produced The West (Executive Producer Ken Burns). His 20 years of work in documentaries include projects as varied as EGG: the arts show, Coney Island, The Donner Party, Margaret Sanger and Ric Burns’ New York series. As a writer, Kantor created Lullaby of Broadway: Opening Night on 42nd Street, co-authored the companion books to Broadway (Bulfinch) and Make ‘Em Laugh (Grand Central Publishing) and has published numerous essays and articles. He is president of Almo Inc., a company that distributes The American Film Theatre series, which includes Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance (starring Katharine Hepburn), Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh (Lee Marvin) and Chekhov’s Three Sisters (Laurence Olivier) among its titles. Kantor has served as a Tony nominator and teaches documentary filmmaking at the School for Visual Arts in New York City.




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