The Tribe

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An unorthodox, unauthorized, history of the Jewish people and the Barbie doll…in about 18min.

What can the most successful doll on the planet show us about being Jewish today? Narrated by Peter Coyote, the film mixes old school narration with a new school visual style. The Tribe weaves together archival footage, graphics, animation, Barbie dioramas, and slam poetry to take audiences on an electric ride through the complex history of both the Barbie doll and the Jewish people- from Biblical times to present day. By tracing Barbie’s history, 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 premiered at Sundance, has won 17 awards, and is used in hundreds of Jewish and educational institutions around the world.

Order the Educator’s Edition, Home Discussion Kit, or DVD

Home Discussion Kit                                  Educator's Discussion Kit

Filmmaker Tiffany Shlain speaks around the world at a wide range of events.

If you are interested in booking Tiffany, click here

New Jewish film in the works: (part of the Let it Ripple series)


The Making of a Mensch will take the science we explored in last year’s film The Science of Character (2014) and reframe it through the lens of the great Jewish teachings of Mussar, which explores character development as far back as the 10th century (these teachings predate Freud and all of psychology). By exploring character development through these Jewish teachings, the film and discussion materials will offer a new framework to think about Jewish traditions. If we begin with the questions, "who am I," and "who do I want to be in this world," we can then reframe the way we think about our rituals and traditions to help us get there.

The Making of a Mensch will be our sixth "Cloud Film," where we make films collaboratively with people all over the world. Stay tuned for announcements on how to participate. We are also very excited to be working with the Foundation for Jewish Camp (Director of Education Rabbi Avi Orlow is a collaborator on the project), and will be inviting kids from camps across the country to participate.

Click here to find out more.

Director's Statement (The Tribe):

Unlike the majority of films made in LA, our film “The Tribe,” stars a gang of blond haired, blued-eyed ladies, who REALLY are made of plastic. Barbie dolls – to be exact. One of our shoots required over 100 dolls, spanning a variety of styles and ethnicities. In truth, “we had hardly any fashion budget,” and knew that due to circumstances beyond our control, we would have to return all the beautiful dolls (unharmed, of course) after using them in our shoot. Like kids in a candy store, we bought every doll they had, after which we so carefully stacked, jammed, squeezed and piled all of the pretty dolls, smiling beatifically into our little VW bug. With a cornucopia of dolls pushing out of every window, we managed to get into our seats. A less than discreetly horrified-looking woman walked by us and asked, “What are you doing?” Myself and my Assistant Director, Romy, turned to each other then looked at her and said, “Our friend’s child really likes Barbie.” Shocked, she said, “Well I hope she does.” We turned back and said, “He does,” driving off quickly.

Discussion with Director Tiffany Shlain and Supplemental Videos: 

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