ALLIANCE documentary film

Fleeing from the religious persecution of a tyrannical Russian czar to the desolate fields of a new world, forty-three refugee families traveled across the ocean in 1882 to found one of the first Jewish farming communities in America.

Over the next few decades, more than 300 other immigrant families would join them.

This is… ALLIANCE.

Produced and directed by Susan Donnelly and filmed by Ted Salins, ALLIANCE aims to capture the unique story of the first successful Jewish farming community in the United States, the Alliance Colony. Founded in 1882, the Alliance Colony was a first-time social experiment, bringing persecuted Russian Jews to the United States to form an agricultural-based community. 

Check out our film teaser at


Message from Director/Producer Susan Donnelly

When my great-great grandfather, Solomon Salunsky, arrived to the shores of America in 1882 at the age of 49, he had no idea what life awaited him. He found his way to a dusty piece of land in a state he had never heard of before and was faced with becoming a farmer. Despite the struggles that lay ahead, this was the opportunity of a lifetime. Less than a year later he brought his young wife and their nine-year-old son, my great-grandfather, to join him in this new life in the Alliance Colony.

Inspired by my ancestors, I have now embarked on a journey of my own: to learn more about and share this amazing colony with others through the creation of a documentary film. ALLIANCE will cast a light on the brave souls that made this unique experiment thrive. This will be the only documentary bearing witness to the stories of Alliance descendants and their ancestors, as well as a currently relevant exploration of immigration, ethnic persecution, and the changing definition of American Jewry over the last century.

What We Need and What You Get

Become a Founding Friend of ALLIANCE. Join the ALLIANCE support network as we work to tell the unique and inspiring true story of the Alliance Colony—a story of bravery, immigration, resilience, and family.

Your contribution, no matter the size, is a tremendous help to making this film come to fruition.

All Founding Friends will receive special recognition in forthcoming ALLIANCE media and in the closing credits of the documentary PLUS my endless gratitude. 

In addition, anyone who donates $250 or more during this funding campaign will receive access to a digital screener before it is available to the general public.  

The Whole Megillah                $1000+

Absolutely Kvelling                 $500–$999

A Real Mensch                           $200–$499

Like Mishpocheh                       $50–$199

Mitzvah                                           up to $49

Where will the money go?  

Meeting our financial goal will help to fund the shoots, pay for archival materials, pay for an editor, show we have a ready audience, and hopefully get the attention of grant makers and investors who can fund the film entirely. 

What to include with your donation:

If you would like your donation to be in honor of an individual and/or if you are a descendant of an Alliance family, please send an email to [email redacted] with this information.

Other ways you can help

If you want to help but don't have much disposable income, please spread the word about the ALLIANCE film and campaign on your social networks. Find us on Facebook @AllianceDoc .

**Susan Donnelly (Director/Producer) and Little Buttercup Films is deeply grateful for your support.**
  • stacy rosecan 
    • $25 
    • 4 mos
  • Harris Colton 
    • $100 
    • 6 mos
  • Alan Keller 
    • $50 
    • 12 mos
  • Andrea Portocarrero  
    • $40 (Offline)
    • 22 mos
  • Rocio Gomez Botero 
    • $50 (Offline)
    • 27 mos
See all


Susan Kehnemui Donnelly 
North Kensington, MD