Kristi Jacobson

Kristi Jacobson- Founder; Director/Producer

Kristi Jacobson is a NY-based filmmaker whose films capture nuanced, intimate, and provocative portrayals of individuals and communities. Her award-winning work has been presented nationally and internationally, both in theaters and on networks including HBO, PBS, Channel Four/UK, ESPN, ABC, CSB, A&E and Lifetime. It has premiered at the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals, and has been featured in publications including The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalThe Los Angeles TimesThe GuardianVanity Fair, Men’s VogueFilmmaker MagazineTime Magazine and many others. Jacobson is a member of the Director’s Guild of America, NYWIFT, and a two-time Sundance Creative Producing Fellow. She is a recipient of grants from Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Institute DFP, Chicken & Egg Pictures, and many others.

A Place at the Table, produced by Participant Media, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was released by Magnolia Pictures in early 2013.  Called “one of the most important…and gripping non-fiction films to debut in some time” by Indiewire, the film had a theatrical release in over 35 U.S. cities. A Place at the Table examines the shocking paradox of hunger in the wealthiest nation on earth, through the stories of three Americans who face food insecurity daily. The film features original music by Grammy award winning indie-folk duo The Civil Wars and Grammy – and Oscar – winning producer/composer T Bone Burnett.


Jacobson’s 2007 film, TOOTS, a portrait of larger-than-life New York saloonkeeper and personality Toots Shor, garnered several nominations and awards, including the ‘National Board of Review’s Top Documentary Award’ following its critically acclaimed theatrical release in 2007. Called “one of the most compelling, yet forgotten stories of the 20th Century” by journalist Walter Cronkite, TOOTS was selected as a critics’ pick by The New York TimesThe New York Post and New York Magazine and features interviews with some of America’s most accomplished journalists, athletes and sports writers (among them Cronkite, Mike Wallace, Frank Gifford, Whitey Ford, Pete Hamill, Nick Pileggi, Gay Talese). The New York Times called it “a first-rate portrait … a rare exception. Cheers to Ms. Jacobson for keeping alive the memory of New York’s golden era, and a man who embodied it.

Prior to founding Catalyst Films in 2004, Jacobson collaborated with two-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple on several films, including American Standoff, which Jacobson directed and Kopple produced. Kenneth Turan of the LA Times called American Standoff, “deeply human…surprisingly heartbreaking...” The film, examining the role of unions in modern times and the legacy of Jimmy Hoffa, premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and aired on HBO’s award-winning “America Undercover” series later that year. Other films produced and/or directed with Kopple include the Voices of Courage; Award-winning documentary Defending Our Daughters, an investigation into women’s human rights abuses in Bosnia, Pakistan and Egypt, broadcast on Lifetime Television; Justice for All? a short documentary exploring the issue of immigration law made for the Alliance for Justice.

For television Jacobson has tackled a wide range of subjects, including violence against women, HIV and AIDS, and the extreme sport of BASE jumping. Among her television credits are: Colonial House (PBS), which received an Emmy nomination and was winner of 6 Cine Golden Eagle Awards; Together: Stop Violence Against Women (Lifetime), Tanya Tucker: Country Rebel  (A&E Biography); Sex, Drugs and Consequences hosted by Barbara Walters (ABC Television); E:60 (ESPN).

Jacobson also directs commercials and web content for a variety of clients including The US Holocaust Memorial Museum and DeSantis Breindel.

Jacobson, based in New York, is a member of the Directors Guild of America, New York Women in Film and Television and was a 2009 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Duke University, where she studied sociology.