His television work has been broadcast on a variety of venues, from INDEPENDENT LENS to SESAME STREET, and has won multiple awards, including EMMY awards and nominations, CINE Golden Eagles, GABRIEL awards, CHRIS award, and SILVER APPLE award. Juan was a producer/director at WGBH-Boston on AMERICAS, a national PBS series for which he co-produced "In Women’s Hands", on women’s participation in political life in Chile, and produced "Builders of Images," on artists’ particular role in Latin American societies.

Juan’s award-winning independent documentaries have been aired on PBS and in many festivals and are in worldwide distribution. These include "aetano in Bahia, on Brazilian singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso, Ringl and Pit, on German pioneer photographers Grete Stern and Ellen Auerbach, A New World of Music, on the New England Conservatory’s Youth Philharmonic Orchestra’s tour of Chile and Argentina, and the "Poetry Heaven" series, on the Geraldine R. Dodge’s Foundation’s poetry festival.

Our Disappeared/Nuestros Desaparecidos, on people Juan knew who were disappeared by the Argentine military dictatorship of the 70s, was funded by ITVS, the Sundance Institute and Latino Public Broadcasting, and aired nationally on the PBS series Independent Lens. It also screened in many national and international festivals.

Juan has also curated several film series, including Latin Visions, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and Cine Argentino, at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Juan studied sociology in his native Argentina, and worked as a journalist, photographer and educator until he left for the US in 1977 to leave behind the military dictatorship. He holds an M.A. in Communications from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Juan is a former board member and president of International Film Seminars, organizers of the Flaherty Film Seminars.


Films by Juan Mandelbaum

Our Disappeared / Nuestros Desaparecidos

Through a casual Google search director Juan Mandelbaum finds out that Patricia, a long-lost girlfriend from Argentina, is among the thousands who were kidnapped, tortured and then "disappeared" by the military during the 1976-1983 dictatorship. Juan embarks on a journey to find out what happened to Patricia and others he knew who disappeared, and along the way re-examines his own choices. Using rare archival footage he evokes the dreams for a revolution that would transform Argentina. As he shares dramatic stories told by parents, siblings, friends and children of the disappeared, Juan grieves the tragic losses and shows that when brutal regimes attack the fabric of a country with great impunity, the suffering lasts for generations. And yet now that the children of the disappeared are themselves becoming parents, it becomes clear that in the end, life wins.

Ringl and Pit

A captivating portrait of Grete Stern and Ellen Auerbach, two pioneering artists who met in Berlin in 1929 and started the “ringl + pit” studio to do advertising photography.  Full of humor and vitality at 88 and 86 years old, they reflect on their work, their lifelong friendship, and what being a “New Woman” was like during those times.  Ringl and Pit traces their lives from their early days in Weimar Germany, to their escape from the Nazis and subsequent separate careers in London and Palestine, New York and Argentina.