Jerry Aronson is an independent filmmaker who, over the last three decades, has established his reputation as a Producer, Director, and film instructor.
His films include the 1978 Academy Award-nominated, The Divided Trail, which follows the lives of four Native Americans who lived in the urban heart of Chicago. Aronson spent eight years documenting the struggles of these people who, encouraged by the government to leave their reservation and start a new life in the city, found themselves all but overwhelmed in a constant struggle to learn new ways and still maintain their identities. After The Divided Trail was nominated it was soon broadcast on PBS in a special series, Matters of Life and Death, in 1980. Jerry was also chosen to be a Directing Fellow at the American Film Institute in 1981.
Aronson also directed a six-hour documentary miniseries America’s Music: The Roots of Country, which examines the evolution of this American music form from its origins in Appalachia to its current preeminence as a billion-dollar industry. America’s Music: The Roots of Country aired on TBS and TNT in 1996.
Aronson first completed The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg in 1993, when it had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The feature-length documentary premiered at Sundance, had a US theatrical run and has since been exhibited at over 250 international film festivals, had a world-wide television and DVD release, and has helped establish Aronson’s reputation as an outstanding documentary filmmaker. He edited a one hour version of the film for the PBS series American Masters which aired the film in 1997. The Ginsberg film won the prestigious International Documentary Association Award of Excellence in 1994. The film was revised after Ginsberg’s passing and the final cut was completed for the tribute DVD which was released in 2007.
Aronson has taught filmmaking in Chicago at Columbia College and at the University of Illinois. In 1973 he was instrumental in creating the award-winning Film Production Department at the University of Colorado. Jerry specialized in teaching the short narrative and the personal documentary which opened many students to the possibility of becoming both narrative and documentary filmmakers. In 2006 Jerry won the University of Colorado Award for Teaching. He retired from teaching in 2008. He is now very excited to be a Producer on a new feature documentary on climate change entitled Chasing Ice, directed by Jeff Orlowski.