Main fundraiser photo

Documentary Film Fundraiser for Saba and Savta

Donation protected
Saba and Savta is about the everyday life of an elderly Jewish couple searching for their lost family history and preserving what culture they know before their memory dissipates.

Saba and Savta is a 60-minute, feature, documentary film about a Jewish-Italian couple, married for 50-plus years, searching for their lost family history while preserving what culture they know, before their memory dissipates. Sheldon and Joan Treibitz, residents of Lake County, FL for 20 years travel back to Brooklyn, New York to visit the Treibitz family cemetery plot for potentially the last time. Joan and Sheldon take viewers and their granddaughter, Shelley, the director of the film, along a familiar route to their homecoming, a drive they've driven for over twenty years. While traveling to New York City, they stop to visit family, who once lived in close quarters with them in Brooklyn when they were a young couple. Throughout their travels they revisit their past lives in Brooklyn and visit their family's first documented history in the United States, Ellis Island, rewriting and sharing their past with the future generation of their family.

Through the eyes and memories of Joan and Sheldon, an exploration of family ensues as they are known as the archivists and genealogists of the family; mapping, documenting and archiving photographs, documents, licenses and films relating to the family as there is no record of their family before booking their passages to America in the early 1900s. This story will unfold and immerse viewers in the life of an untraditional Jewish family searching for a family's roots while trying to rebuild lost connections. Joan and Sheldon shed light on the modern orthodox, conservative and reformed Judaism movements in America, having belonged to each community at a time in their lives. Despite the changes in how they practice Judaism their faith in god, family, and each other never waiver no matter the difficulties they know lie ahead and in the past.

The Goal:
The goal of this film is to preserve a family’s previously lost and undocumented history while inspiring and teaching people about different kinds of Jewish people in the United States. Through the collaboration of various Jewish and senior communities along the East coast of the United States, this story will bridge the gap between ethnic and religious identity, with the celebration of all life on earth and honoring the elderly. Our common goal is to change the narrative around Jewish representation in the media while showcasing a unique and personal existence within this community; aiming to show how an individual can find community and connection to the past and present by embracing the land, their migrant history, and accepting one’s identity. Please help us recover and record Sheldon and Joan's family history and share their story with the world.

What Your Contribution Supports:
Every dollar you contribute will save lives by helping us make this film possible. Sheldon and Joan's story is unlike many 1st generation American's, and your support will help us share their story with the world. Your contribution will help us raise awareness about lost and erased Jewihs and Italian American histories, and help us to rewrite a new history to leave for generations to come.

Your contribution and support will help us offset the costs of travel and make this film that will bridge gaps in history, memories, lost family connections, and educate people about the diverse voices in Jewish idenities. You can be apart of this community that shares knoweldge and uncover a generation of Jewish and Italian family's lost history.

Where Are We Filming?
  • Leesburg, Florida
  • Howie In The Hills, Florida
  • Monmouth County, New Jersey
  • Brooklyn, New York
  • Long Island, New York
  • Merrimac, Massachusetts

Specifically, we need your help with:

Production related expenses. There is a lot of travel involved for this film. Not only for the crew but the participants as well.
  • Airfares
  • Car Rentals
  • Meals
  • Gas
  • Hotel Accomodations
We are also looking to raise money to help pay for several pieces of equipment to rent.
  • Easy Rig
  • Canon C500 II
  • Ziess 24mm Cine Lens
  • Ziess 35mm Cine Lens

If we're fortunate enough to meet our goal, we're going to push for funds to help hire an editor and colorist for post production.

Style and Approach:
Saba and Savta's artistic style is influenced by the cinema verite movement of documentary filmmaking. The approach to filming will involve a collaboration of approaches from participatory and performance styles of documentary filmmaking. Through the interaction between the filmmaker and the participants and the filmmaker and the audience, the film will take shape, exemplifying the filmmaker’s voice and vision for the story. Due to the filmmaker’s intimate relationship between herself and the participants, Sheldon and Joan, in the film, a performative approach will flow naturally throughout the production. The filmmaker will be a character, regardless of whether or not we see her face, we will hear her voice and her poking, prodding and questioning subjects in the film. Through the use of Steadicam, sticks, and P.O.V camera work, observational footage, direct and indirect interviews, text on screen, archival footage, music, and compelling dramatic structure, the film will immerse viewers in Sheldon and Joan’s world. The music will also play a role in telling the story and will act as a superstructure for the narrative arc of the film, embracing Sheldon and Joan’s ethnic roots and their emotional journey throughout the film.

Why We Must Tell This Story
This story is important to tell because my grandparent's story is unique and yet similar to many first-generation Americans in the United States, the difference is that this story is about the chronicling of one's life before the memories disappear forever. It's about a forgotten, erased and missing history of a generation of Jewish immigrants and their families in the United States. As a storyteller, I want to tell stories that need to be told and empower those whose voices are often underrepresented in the media to share their story. I believe Saba and Savta will do just that, and hopefully empower others to learn about their family's history and make a meaningful connection with their family and community.

Who's Involved

Sheldon “Shelly” Treibitz
Sheldon “Shelly” Treibitz is a 75-year-old Ashkenazi American Jewish man living in
Leesburg, Florida. Shelly is originally from Brooklyn, NY and lived there until he was in
his early thirties. Shelly is the filmmaker, Shelley's maternal grandfather.

Joan “Jo” Treibitz
Joan “Jo” Treibitz is a 73-year-old Italian, Sephardic-Ashkenazi Jewish woman living in
Leesburg, Florida. Jo is originally from Boston, MA and then moved to Brooklyn, NY
when she was a teenager and resided there until her early thirties. Jo is the filmmaker,
Shelley’s maternal grandmother.

Shelley Davis
Shelley Davis is a 25-year-old Italian, Sephardic-Ashkenazi Jewish woman from
Orlando, Florida. Shelley currently lives in Denton, TX. Shelley is the director and editor
of this documentary.

Bonnie Nantell
Bonnie Nantell is a 52-year-old Italian, Sephardic-Ashkenazi, agnostic Jewish woman from Brooklyn, NY, now living in Mystic, CT. Bonnie is the filmmaker, Shelley’s maternal
aunt and Shelly and Jo’s eldest daughter.

Richard "Ricky" Nantell
Richard "Ricky'' Nantell is a 51-year-old indigenous, caucasian agnostic man from Port
Charlotte, Florida now living in Mystic, CT. Ricky is the filmmaker, Shelley’s maternal
uncle and Shelly and Jo’s son-in-law.

Shelley Davis - Director/Producer
Shelley Davis is an artist, storyteller and documentary filmmaker based in North Texas.
She is currently pursuing her MFA in Documentary Production at the University of North Texas and she graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2018 with a BFA in Studio Art with a focus in Film, Sound Design and Animation. Her work has been shown internationally in Milan, Chicago, Israel, Pheonix, Montreal, New Orleans, Denton, Dallas, Boulder, Miami, Portland, Orlando and Washington D.C.

Emily Sanchez - Cinematographer
Emily Sanchez is a Cinematographer and Assistant Camera from San Antonio, TX, who
now operates out of Austin, TX. She works primarily within the camera department on
projects ranging from music videos, to commercial work, and short narrative and
documentary films. Alongside her good friends David Velez and Brandon Rivera, she
started a Latino Based film collective called Watchale. She is passionate about telling
meaningful stories that explore authentic human moments. She loves the absurd and
surreal and enjoys intertwining those elements in her work. Emily graduated from The
University Of North Texas with a Bachelor's degree of Arts in Media Arts in the Spring of 2020.

Isaac (Izzy) Salant - Producer
Izzy Salant is a Los Angeles-based playwright, actor, and magician, who left the east
coast for Los Angeles after 21 years of freezing and being allergic to going outside. He is a proud member of the Alliance of Jewish Theater, the Playwrights Center, and the
Dramatists Guild. Selected works: Rite of Passage (Punctuate4, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Theater), Peace Talks (Bema Productions, Arena Civic Theater), Maryland is the F#CKING South (The Braid, Formerly Jewish Women's Theater). History: Theater, B.A. (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Journalism, B.A. (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive (Class of 2019, 2021), NEXT at the Braid Fellow (2019, 2021).


  • Anonymous
    • $54 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $18 
    • 5 mos
  • Christina Kakadelis
    • $10 
    • 10 mos
  • Arlene LEADER
    • $25 
    • 10 mos
  • Said Arouri
    • $25 
    • 1 yr


Shelley Davis
Denton, TX

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee