History Making Productions is a full-service film and video production studio located in Philadelphia best known for provocative character-driven history documentaries, original music, and groundbreaking scholarship. HMP has received more than two dozen Emmy Awards for its inclusive and democratic approach to history and current events. The studio was formed in 2008 by civic leader Sam Katz and his son Philip Katz, who sought to make fast-paced, visually stimulating films for the digital age. Since then, the studio has produced over 200 films and videos on subjects ranging from architecture, baseball, and civil rights to philanthropy, religion, and science.
In 2007, civic leader Sam Katz went to his video store in search of a documentary history of Philadelphia. He had seen film treatments of New York and Chicago and thought for sure he would find a comprehensive treatment of Philadelphia, after all the birthplace of the nation. But none existed. In the months that followed that recognition, Katz canvassed the city, buying coffee for anyone who was an expert in Philadelphia and slowly he built a team of scholars who were asked for essential stories and key themes—what made Philadelphia Philadelphia and why did it matter?
From this wide-ranging exploration, History Making Productions’ signature approach to filmmaking was formed: our stories would emerge not from the work of single scholars but from a broad and diverse range of thinkers, historians, journalists, and witnesses to history. Inclusivity became the company’s first buzzword. As form derives from function, the desire for inclusivity led Katz and his partner and son Philip Katz to develop a film style meant to draw in young and non-traditional audiences—people who don’t normally watch history documentaries. Philip Katz set to work assembling a filmmaking team of directors, writers, editors, and archivists who could turn their vision into a studio. History Making Productions was born and with it, its first major project, the thirteen-part documentary “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment.” Since then the studio has produced over 200 films and videos and its work has been seen by over four million people.