I'm a Bronx born writer/filmmaker.
Murder at the Yeshiva is my first novel and I’m presently writing my second NYPD homicide detective novel with Detective Mo Shuman.
I’ve written Solidarity Forever, an oral history of the I.W.W. (University of Minnesota Press) with Dan Georgakas and Deborah Shaffer. I also co-authored a play "The Wobblies: The U.S. vs. Wm. D. Haywood et. al.," (with Peter Robilotta) which was performed at the Hudson Guild Theatre in New York and published by Smyrna Press.
I wrote a one-hour story for PBS entitled "The Mighty Pawns" about a black inner city chess team, which was shown nationally on Wonderworks and distributed nationally by Disney. As a writer/producer for Fox television’s Current Affair I produced various segments: "Alan Berg," "Elvis Presley," "A Cycle of Justice," and "The Night Natalie Died." I worked as a writer/producer for CBS News’ 48 Hours and produced segments like "Another America," "Underground," "Stuck on Welfare," and "Earth Wars."
I have received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (three times), N.Y. Council for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Ford Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and the New York Council on the Arts. I have produced numerous feature length documentaries including "Finally Got the News," about black auto workers in Detroit; "Retratos," on the Puerto Rican community in New York; "Coming Home," on Vietnam Veterans; and "The Wobblies" (with Deborah Shaffer) focusing on the Industrial Workers of the World a turn-of-the-century labor union.
This study of the Wobblies is a vital part of our history that has never appeared in the traditional chronicles. It’s time – high time – we knew of this indigenous American movement. An excellent book.
- Studs Terkel
“’The Wobblies’” is a history of the IWW, researched lovingly and corroborated by the reminiscences of some of the union’s former members, who are now in their 80’s and 90’s. Along with filming interviews with these stalwarts, the directors have collected songs, posters, portraits and animated and live-action footage of the period. When the facts are presented as fully as they have been here, the feelings that accompany them aren’t difficult to imagine.”
- Janet Maslin
The New York Times
“In this heart-warming, brain-stirring compilation mixing personal testimony with archive material, we are shown America’s first mass movement, the Industrial Workers of the World fighting against mounting odds for the bare minimum needed to keep body and soul apart,. Instead of saving the world by turning inward for their own spiritual improvement, they set out to change it, regardless of anything that was inflicted upon them – beatings, assassinations, exile, imprisonment, insults, blacklisting. It is an illuminating history of democracy which deserves the widest audience.”
- Alan Brien
The Sunday Times (London)
In its way, “Building the American Dream: Levittown, N.Y.” a new documentary by Hofstra University Prof. Stewart Bird and a team of student assistants, looks at both ends of America’s archetypal suburb. Through interviews, old photos and home moves, Bird manages both to provide a touching portrait of Levittown’s creation and to suggest that young people may never again have as easy a time financially in reaching the American Dream.
Beyond the great social achievement of Levittown was the story of Levitt himself. As it happened, Levitt gave his last interview to Bird. It was a poignant moment, the old builder talking about the future, after years of failed projects had ruined his business. “Now we’re in a peculiar position,” he tells Bird. “I’m incapacitated. My father and my brother, both dead.
We’re just marking time. But I have a regular organization ready to plunge in full-time. I need another six months. I’m just now beginning to walk.” A few weeks later, the father of suburbia was dead.
- Jack Sirica
Chess is not your everyday, Super Bowl-type of game, but it serves as the fascinating backdrop of “Mighty Pawns,” an excellent and inspirational story about the salvation of so-called “problem” students in an inner-city school.
This is not one of those sterile, preachy message dramas, the soap-box approach. It’s a realistic story about a new teacher in a tough environment, the students there bored and disliking their lot. Determined to arouse their interest, the teacher persuades them to try the game of chess eventually, but not easily, winning them over.
By now the school team has been winning, and is going to the national championships. It’s a happy ending, which avoids the peril of contrivance to get there. And, incidentally, this is based on real-life happenings at a school in Philly.
The case is uniformly topnotch, the best of them being Terence Knox, as the dedicated teacher; Paul Winfield the principal, and Alfonso Ribeiro, the whiz kid at chess. Direction by Eric Laneuville and script by Stewart Bird are very good.
The Wobblies: U.S. vs. William D. Haywood et. al.
“There is humor in the proceedings; I was constantly absorbed and because the tone of the show, despite its serious subject and implications was generally light, it proved enjoyable theater.”
- Harold Clurman,
“…The Wobblies is essentially a moving and fascinating document of our early bloody labor history.”
- Arthur Sainer,
The Village Voice
“The most accurate portrayal of Vietnam veterans I’ve ever seen.”
- Dr. Robert J. Lifton,
Author of Home from the War
Finally Got The News
“Its portrayal of men and conditions in Detroit makes Goddard’s auto workers’ discussion in BRITISH SOUNDS look like high tea…the film’s off-hand coverage of life in the auto industry, and its effective presentation of a black militant position make it a very startling document to white middle-class audiences, radical or otherwise.”
- Ernest Callenbach,
Home Free All
Stewart Bird has benefited from his years of winning awards as the docu helmer of socially conscious pics like “The Wobblies,” and “Coming Home,” a docu about Vietnam vets that preceded the Hollywood production. He knows and develops his characters with tolerance and a great deal of humor, and displays a gift for straightforward story-telling about psychological complexity. Central to each of the principal’s lives is his experience in Vietnam, confessed to a montage of black-and-white flashbacks. The device does not interfere and slowly develops Barry’s worst fears about conformity.