Richard Trank

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Richard Trank

Los Angeles, U.S.
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley
Known fordocumentary filmmaker
Children1 son, 1 daughter

Richard Trank (born July 30, 1964) is the Executive Producer, Principal Writer and Director of Moriah Films, the documentary film division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Trank has served as the Media Projects Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center since 1984. He also serves as the director of film content and exhibits for the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and Jerusalem. Trank is the father of American film director, producer, and screenwriter Josh Trank and reality television producer and writer Emma Trank.


Trank began his work with Moriah Films, the film division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, when he worked on Echoes that Remain, which examined Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe before the Holocaust, a film that won the 1992 Houston International Film Festival's Gold Special Jury Award.[1] The film was narrated by Martin Landau and Miriam Margolyes. [2]

In 1994, Moriah Films released its first production Liberation (1995), which covered the Allied forces and their campaign to liberate Europe as well as depict Hitler's executing of his "Final Solution|final solution." Trank served as executive producer for the film. [1] The film has its premiere at the 1995 Berlin International Film Festival|Berlinale where it was a selection for its Panorama section. Liberation was narrated by Ben Kingsley, Patrick Stewart, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Following his work on Liberation, Trank produced The Long Way Home, a film which depicts the world after the events of World War II and the Jewish refugee situation that arose during that time. The film, which was written and directed by Mark Jonathan Harris, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1998[3], giving Trank his first Academy Awards|Academy Award. Trank's work on the film led to it winning the Gold Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival|Chicago Film Festival that year. The film also won the Best Documentary award at the 1997 Palm Springs International Film Festival|Palm Springs International Film Festival.[4]

In 2001, Trank wrote, produced and directed In Search of Peace, Part One: 1948-1967, which looked at Israel's first two decades.[5] The film was narrated by Michael Douglas and included the voices of Ed Asner|Edward Asner, Anne Bancroft, Richard Dreyfuss|Richard Dreyfus, and Michael York.

In 2004, Trank wrote, produced and directed Unlikely Heroes[6], which chronicled seven different stories of resistance during the Holocaust. The film was narrated by Ben Kingsley. The film had its premiere at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in 2004[7].

In 2005, Trank wrote, produced and directed Beautiful Music, a short documentary about the relationship between an orthodox Jewish piano teacher and her blind, autistic Palestinian musical savant student in a neighborhood of Jerusalem. The film was narrated by Brooke Shields. The film had its premiere at the Hollywood Film Festival in 2007 where it won Best Documentary.[8]

In 2006, Trank wrote, produced and directed Ever Again, a documentary that examined the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe and the United States. The film was narrated by Kevin Costner[9].

In 2007, Trank wrote, produced and directed I Have Never Forgotten You, a documentary based on the legacy of Simon Wiesenthal, a Jewish Austrian Holocaust survivor, famed Nazi hunter, and writer. The film was narrated by actress Nicole Kidman. The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2007. [10] The film was screened and won a special mention award at the Jerusalem Film Festival in 2007. The film was also screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

In 2009, Trank wrote the screenplay, produced and directed Against The Tide, which was narrated by actor Dustin Hoffman. The film examined the story of Peter Bergson, a Jewish activist who fought to change restrictive US immigration laws during the Holocaust era in order to save the Jews of Europe, an effort which saved more than 250,000 people in the final year of the war. The script for the film was nominated for Best Original Documentary Screenplay by the Writers Guild of America. [11]The film was also screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

In 2011, Trank wrote, produced and directed Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny, narrated by Ben Kingsley. The documentary examined the period when Winston Churchill was fighting Adolf Hitler on his own after becoming Prime Minister in May 1940 and his efforts to convince President Roosevelt to join the war effort. The film, which was co-produced by Rabbi Marvin Hier, features interviews with Winston S. Churchill, grandson of Winston Churchill, and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

In 2012, Trank wrote, produced and directed It Is No Dream, a film which documents the life and legacy of Theodor Herzl, considered to be the father of Zionism|Modern Zionism. The film was narrated by Ben Kingsley and starred the voice of Christoph Waltz as Theodor Herzl. The film premiered at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival.

In 2013, Trank wrote, produced and directed The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers, the first film in a two-part series about the history of modern day Israel based on the book, "The Prime Ministers" by Ambassador Yehuda Avner. The film had its debut at the Jerusalem Film Festival. The film follows Ambassador Avner over the course of his career during which he worked for Prime Ministers Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir, as well as in the late 1960s when he served as an aide to Yitzhak Rabin. The film included the voices of Sandra Bullock as Golda Meir, Michael Douglas as Yitzhak Rabin, Leonard Nimoy as Levi Eshkol, and Christoph Waltz as Menachem Begin.

In 2015, Trank wrote and directed The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers, also based on Ambassador Yehuda Avner's book, as a follow-up film to The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers. The film was based on the book by Ambassador Yehuda Avner. The film held its premiere at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival. Whereas the first film focused on the founding Prime Ministers of Israel, Soldiers and Peacemakers looked at Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, and Shimon Peres. The film explores Avner's decision to work for Menachem Begin, Anwar Sadat's visit to Jerusalem, the Camp David Accords, difficulties between Jimmy Carter|President Carter and Begin and tensions between Israel and the US during the 1982 Lebanon War.[12]The film was narrated by Michael Douglas as Yitzhak Rabin and Christoph Waltz as Menachem Begin.

In 2015, Trank also wrote, produced and directed the short subject documentary Our Boys, which had its premiere at the Jerusalem International Film Festival.[13] The film is based on the kidnapping and murder by Hamas of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah.[14] Howard Jacobson, winner of the Booker Prize, is one of several individuals who discuss issues brought up during the film. [15]

In 2016, Trank began work as writer, producer and director of Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres, a film based on the life of Shimon Peres, Israel's 9th President and two-time Prime Minister. Nine months after production began on the film, President Peres died due to a stroke. The film features interviews from several world leaders including former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and actress and director Barbra Streisand. The film is narrated by George Clooney and will be premiering in Summer/Fall 2020 as a Netflix original documentary.



  • Echoes That Remain (1991) Co-Producer[17]
  • Liberation (1995) Executive Producer[18]
  • The Long Way Home (1997) Producer[19]
  • In Search of Peace (2001) Writer, Producer, Director[20]
  • Unlikely Heroes (2003) Writer, Producer, Director[21]
  • Beautiful Music (2005) Writer, Producer, Director[22]
  • Ever Again (2006) Writer, Producer, Director[23]
  • I Have Never Forgotten You (2007) Writer, Producer, Director[24]
  • Against The Tide (2009) Writer, Producer, Director[25]
  • Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny (2010) Writer, Producer, Director[26]
  • It Is No Dream (2012) Writer, Producer, Director[27]
  • The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers (2013) Writer, Producer, Director[28]
  • The Prime Ministers: Soldiers & Peacemakers (2015) Writer, Producer, Director[29]
  • Our Boys (2015) Writer, Producer, Director[30]
  • Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres (2018), Producer, Writer, Director[31]

Personal life

Trank earned his BA degree at the University of California, Berkeley and did graduate work at the University of Southern California.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Moriah Films & the Simon Wiesenthal Center into the Spotlight". International Documentary Association. 1997-09-01. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  2. Echoes That Remain, retrieved 2020-05-19
  3. "Movie Reviews". The New York Times. 2020-05-19. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  4. "Palm Springs International Film Festival (1997)". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
  5. In Search of Peace, retrieved 2020-05-21
  6. Unlikely Heroes (2003) - IMDb, retrieved 2020-05-21
  7. "2004 Archives - Page 2 of 6". Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  8. "Moriah Films". (in français). Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  9. Ever Again, retrieved 2020-05-21
  10. Welle (, Deutsche. "Film on Wiesenthal's Legacy Opens at Berlinale | DW | 12.02.2007". DW.COM. Retrieved 2020-05-21.
  11. "2010 Writers Guild Award Winners". TV Source Magazine. 2010-02-21. Retrieved 2020-05-22.
  12. "The Prime Ministers: Soldiers & Peacemakers". North Coast Journal. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  13. "פסטיבל - עמוד בית". Jerusalem Film Festival (in עברית). Retrieved 2020-05-22.
  14. Rudoren, Jodi; Kershner, Isabel (2014-06-30). "Israel's Search for 3 Teenagers Ends in Grief". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-05-22.
  15. Our Boys, retrieved 2020-05-22
  16. "Here is everything new coming to Netflix in May 2020". Time Out United States. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  17. Echoes That Remain, retrieved 2020-05-15
  18. Liberation, retrieved 2020-05-15
  19. The Long Way Home, retrieved 2020-05-15
  20. In Search of Peace, retrieved 2020-05-15
  21. Unlikely Heroes, retrieved 2020-05-15
  22. Beautiful Music, retrieved 2020-05-15
  23. Ever Again, retrieved 2020-05-15
  24. I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life & Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal, retrieved 2020-05-15
  25. Against the Tide, retrieved 2020-05-15
  26. Winston Churchill: Walking with Destiny, retrieved 2020-05-15
  27. It Is No Dream, retrieved 2020-05-15
  28. The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers, retrieved 2020-05-15
  29. The Prime Ministers: Soldiers and Peacemakers, retrieved 2020-05-15
  30. Our Boys, retrieved 2020-05-15
  31. Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres, retrieved 2020-05-22

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