Playing for Time (1980)

Playing for Time, made in 1980 for two million dollars, is one of television’s most honored films, winning four Emmys for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress as well as a Christopher Award and that year’s Peabody Award. It screened at the Cannes and Deauville film festivals. Starring Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Alexander, Shirley Knight, Viveca Lindfors, Marisa Berenson, Christine Baranski and Melanie Mayron, Playing for Time is the true story of an all woman orchestra in Auschwitz that was forced to play while men and women went into the gas chambers. Many notable women worked on this film, among them costume designer Ruth Morley, known for iconic work in Taxi Driver, Annie Hall, Tootsie and Ghost; casting director Lynn Kressel who cast Spiderman; and the entire Law & Order series.

Linda Yellen, executive producer and producer of Playing for Time, has written, directed and produced over 20 films, and worked with outstanding talents behind and in front of the camera. She often uses ensemble cast films, known, as is Playing for Time, for their realism—a style that has become her forte. Some of her work includes Chantilly Lace, Parallel Lives, and Simian Line.