WQXR-FM Sparks Oscar-Nominated Short

Best Documentary Short Subject category is sweet music for Joe's Violin.

Kahane Cooperman, the longtime former executive producer of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and, more recently, co-curator of 2016 Amazon series The New Yorker Presents, has a date with the Academy Awards. Her film Joe’s Violin is among this year’s nominees for Best Documentary Short Subject.

Here’s how the short was pitched on Kickstarter, where just under $50,000 was raised:

A Holocaust survivor donates his violin to an instrument drive, changing the life of a 12-year-old girl in the Bronx.

The origins of the film connect actually to another medium, radio, as The New Yorker reminded last fall:

In the spring of 2014, Cooperman was driving to work, listening to WQXR-FM, the classical-music station, when she heard a promotion for a donation drive: the station was collecting used instruments to be given to schoolchildren. The promo mentioned one violin in particular that had been donated by a 91-one-year-old Holocaust survivor. “There weren’t any more details than that,” Cooperman, said. “But my curiosity was piqued immediately.”he set out to find out more about this old man and his violin.

The man, she discovered, was Joseph Feingold, who had made his donation after hearing a similar segment on WQXR. A retired architect who was born in Warsaw, he moved to the United States in 1948 after spending six and a half years in a labor camp in Siberia.

The Instruments Drive is a relatively recent addition to WQXR’s outreach efforts. The station, licensed out of Newark, is the country’s most-listened-to classical music broadcaster. One of Cooperman’s two co-producers on Joe’s Violin is Doc NYC executive director Raphaela Neihausen.