Curator of Film, Photography, Digital Art and Music (Judah L. Magnes Museum)

Bill Chayes

Bill Chayes began his career in film production, exhibition design and education by working with classic film documentarians Richard Leacock at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and John Marshall at the Center for Documentary Anthropology in Cambridge, Mass.

Bill began a teaching career at Tufts University and Clark University in Massachusetts that culminated when he became Senior Lecturer in Film Production at San Francisco State University and was awarded the Meritorious Performance and Professional Excellence Award.

He served the University of California, Berkeley’s Magnes Museum as Exhibition Designer and Curator of Film, Photography, Digital Art and Music where he designed and/or curated over 70 major exhibitions.

As producer/director of documentary, experimental and educational films, Chayes has won many national and international awards. Birth of a Community: Jews and the Gold Rush is a staple in 4th grade public and Jewish schools and has played frequently on PBS. Divine Food: 100 Years in the Delicatessen Trade has been on 25 PBS stations, in many festivals and has played with a deli lunch at hundreds of Jewish gatherings across the country. Jews and Buddhism: Belief Amended, Faith Revealed, narrated by actress Sharon Stone, has been seen frequently on PBS and in 60 festivals worldwide, and was named “one of the outstanding documentaries of 1999” by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and is in over 50 university libraries across the country. Los Romeros: The Royal Family of the Guitar had national PBS prime time broadcasts in September 2001 and February 2002 and was nominated for an EMMY.

Chayes Productions has now nearly completed work on the environmental documentary Call it Home: Searching for Truth on Bolinas Lagoon, a film about the world-famous and endangered Bolinas Lagoon in Northern California. They have recently begun production of a major series of films documenting the attempt of adventurer Roz Savage to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean. These films will help Roz to meet her goal of alerting the public to the desperate state of the worlds’ oceans.

As exhibition designer Bill recently completed the design and installation of the major exhibition Paul Robeson: The Tallest Tree in our Forest, for the African American Museum and Library at Oakland.

Bill graduated with a degree in Architecture from the University of Michigan. He and his wife Michelle, an artist and RN, live and work in Petaluma, California with their two daughters, Imogene and Frida.


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