Speakers at 2017 Jewish Film FESTIVAL
Dr. Moshe Avital
Not the Last Butterfly
Dr. Moshe Avital was born in Czechoslovakia. During the Holocaust he was imprisoned in 6 concentration camps. He was deported to Auschwitz at age 14 with his entire family, was separated from them, and after much suffering he was liberated from Buchenwald by the American Third Army on April 11, 1945.
In Nov. 1950 he came to the United States and pursued his higher Academic education at Yeshivah University, graduating with high honors, and earning a B.A and M.S. in Education, and a PhD in Hebrew Literature.
Dr, Avital is a well known author and speaker on the Holocaust. He presents extraordinary testimony, both as a survivor and as an educator, bringing to light many unknown facts of the Holocaust Era. He provides Psychological, Philosophical, and Theological analysis, as well as reflections regarding the perpetrators of the Holocaust.
For seven years Amir leading the film section of ynet – Israel’s biggest news website – as a directing editor, writer and critic, covering Israeli cinema as well as American and international. He serves as a selection crew member of Utopia film festival in Tel Aviv and as the artistic director of States of Mind festival for American Indie movies in Israeli, and also nominated as a jury member in other film festival in Israel.
He’s is currently working on his PhD in film theory at Tel Aviv university, and residing in Brooklyn, New York.
My Hero Brother
Producer Enosh Cassel, is a graduate in Film and Media at Tel Aviv University, and is the founder and owner of a film Technology Company. In 2011, he took his brother, Hannan, to Nepal on a three-week trek in the Himalayas which he documented on film. Israel’s channel 2 featured an item about the trip, which was broadcast on the news and caused a wave of enthusiastic responses throughout the country. Among these, many came from brothers and sisters of special needs children. This inspired Enosh, together with his friend Itamar Peleg, (a guide and organizer of challenging tours around the world), to create the project “My Hero Brother” with the goal of taking a group of brothers and sisters of down syndrome young adults on a similar trek. After a year of preparation and fundraising, a group of eleven sibling pairs embarked on a journey to India for the “journey of a lifetime.
3/8/2017 7:30 PM
Matthew Castelluccio was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident in 2003. Shortly after beginning his outpatient rehabilitation at Helen Hayes Hospital he was introduced to Adaptive Sports. The experience far exceeded Castellucio’s expectations. He learned that he could still enjoy the wide variety of activities that he used but that there was a whole new world of activities he had never tried. The clinics were more than an opportunity to try an activity; it provided him with a key social component that was missing from his recovery process. Through his interaction with other participants of the clinics he learned that there are no limitations in life except for the ones we place upon ourselves.
Matthew has been employed as the Adaptive Sports Coordinator and Patient Counselor on the Spinal Cord unit at Helen Hayes for the last 7 years.
The Pickle Recipe
Lynn Cohen‘s roles on film and television have ranged from Mags In THE HUNGER GAMES to Golda Meir in Steven Spielberg’s MUNICH and Maman in Louis Malle’s VANYA ON 42ND STREET to the nanny Magda in SEX AND THE CITY (both the two movies and the TV series). Included among her many other movie and TV credits are Woody Allen’s MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY and DECONSTRUCTING HARRY; EAGLE EYE; INVINCIBLE; THE EXTRA MAN; EVERYBODY’S FINE; HELLO LONESOME; LAW AND ORDER; NURSE JACKIE, DAMAGES, and BORED TO DEATH. On the New York stage, she has appeared in such plays as Tina Howe’s CHASING MANET (with Jane Alexander), HAMLET (with Kevin Kline), MACBETH (with Live Schreiber), ORPHEUS DESCENDING (with Vanessa Redgrave), and ISRAEL HOROVITZ‘S NEW SHORTS with Barefoot Theatre Company.
She has also trod the boards in many of the country’s leading regional theatres. Recent productions include THREE SISTERS in the new Sarah Ruhl translation directed by John Doyle and Beckett’s HAPPY DAYS. Awards include a Fox Fellowship; a Richard Seff Award from Actors Equity Association: a Screen Actors Guild ensemble award (for SEX AND THE CITY), and a Bowden Award from New Dramatists. Barefoot Theatre Company Ensemble Member. Actors Equity Association: a Screen Actors Guild ensemble award (for SEX AND THE CITY), and a Bowden Award from New Dramatists. Barefoot Theatre Company Ensemble Member.
The Pickle Recipe
During his 33 years at Doner Sheldon produced thousands of television, radio and web advertisements for a host of regional and national and international clients. In addition he also was the creative director and writer of many campaigns. He’s a total creative producer, overseeing all aspects of a project from inception to completion. Working with budgets up to 7 figures he always sought to maximize every ounce of a project’s potential. At its height, Sheldon lead 27 people in the broadcast production department, hiring the most talented professionals and nurturing them to become leaders in their own right. Working in many countries around the world he’s won nearly every advertising award including multiple gold lions and Clios. In addition, he has created video projects for many non-profit organizations in the Detroit area.
On the Map
Lisa Fischman graduated from Ramapo College where she was a three sport athlete playing volleyball, basketball and track and field. During this time, she also competed with the Maccabi USA National Basketball Team in Israel, Australia, and Brazil where she acquired five gold medals and one silver medal. After playing basketball in college, she signed with Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel where she played professional basketball for a year. Upon completing one season overseas, Fischman came back to compete on a professional tour team, “Lady Truck All Stars” based out of Texas. Fischman graduated from Ramapo College of New Jersey with a Communications degree. After working in sports marketing for a few years she returned to school at Montclair State University for her Master’s Degree in Education. Fischman is now a Kindergarten teacher in Newark, New Jersey and a professional development consultant for Montclair State University. She also runs the afterschool program for her school where she shares her love of sports with her students. She resides in her home town of Bloomfield, New Jersey and has continued to work connecting Judaism with sports through Maccabi USA as a board member, chairman and coach.
For the past 10 years, Glantz has worked extensively with legendary German producer Artur Brauner who has produced five of Stephen’s Holocaust scripts. Mr. Glantz’s most recent Brauner film, Auf Das Leben, was named Best German Language Film at the Austrian Film Awards. Their 2011 film, Wunderkinder, has won over 13 awards, including Best Screenplay at Copenhagen. Mr. Glantz has written over 10 feature films for Warner’s, Disney, Paramount, Tri-Star, MGM, Universal, HBO and New Line Cinema working with directors such as Bruce Beresford, Steven Gylennhall, Agnieszka Holland and Sidney Poitier, among others. Four of his television movies have been produced. Murder So Sweet for NBC; For the Love of my Daughter for CBS, To Live Again, also for CBS; and The Watsons Go To Birmingham, based on the Newberry Award winning novel by Christopher Paul Curtis. Current U.S. projects include the WWII love story, Remember Me for producers Kim Waltrip and Mark Harris (Crash and Gods and Monsters); and Rialto, for director Lizzie Borden (Born in Flames and Working Girls). Among his current Brauner films in development is an adaptation of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, for Istvan Szabo (Being Julia, Sunshine and Mephisto); Golem for director Domink Graf; and Crescendo for Markus Rosenmueller who also directed Wunderkinder. In 2009, Harper Collins published his book, Clara’s War, co-authored with Clara Kramer and based on her Holocaust diary. Translation rights have been sold to 21 countries. The American Library Association in 2010 named the book a Sophie Brody Honor Book. Glantz was a Scholar in Residence at Brandeis University in 2008 and 2010 and has also taught at Williams College. He currently teaches screenwriting and a course on Genocide and the Media at Emerson College. His Holocaust films are part of the permanent collection of the new Visual Hall at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem and are shown worldwide by the Goethe Society.
On the Map
Bob Griffin grew up on Long Island, and dropped out of Columbia in 1970. Visiting a friend in Israel, he ended up playing basketball in the Israeli league. The highlight was playing for the Maccabi Tel Aviv team that won the European Championship in 1977. During that period he completed his B.A. at Tel Aviv University, and retired from basketball to go to graduate school at Yale. He has taught English Literature at Bowdoin College, Tel Aviv University (for 18 years), and is now at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
Grain of Truth
Slawomir Grunberg is an Emmy Award winning documentary producer, director and cameraman is a graduate of the Polish Film School in Lodz. Born in Poland, he immigrated to the US in 1981 and has since directed and produced over 45 documentary films including: Don’t Cry When I’m Gone, Karski & The Lords of Humanity, Shimon’s Returns, Castaways, Santa Rosa, The Peretzniks, Portraits of Emotion, Coming Out in Poland, The Legacy of Jedwabne and Saved by Deportation. Grunberg’s film School Prayer: A Community At War, screened on PBS, received an Emmy Award. It also won The Jan Karski Award, a competition designed to recognize and award outstanding television documentaries produced on the theme of moral courage. Grunberg is a recipient of Guggenheim Fellowship, the New York Foundation for the Arts and Soros Justice Media Fellowships. His credits as director of photography include: Legacy (Academy Award nomination for best documentary feature in 2001), and Sister Rose’s Passion, which won best short doc at Tribeca Film Festival in 2004 and received an Academy Award nomination for best documentary short in 2005.
Marcia Haddad Ikonomopolus
Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos has served as the Museum Director of Kehila Kedosha Janina since 2004 and sits on the Board of Trustees of the Synagogue and Museum. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative and is President of the Association of Friends of Greek Jewry. She was born into a traditional Sephardic Jewish family from Salonika and has devoted her life to telling the story of Greek Jewry as an author, translator, editor and lecturer. She holds two BAs, one from Brooklyn College in Psychology and the second from Queens College in Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, plus two MAs, the first in Psychiatric Casework from the New School and the second in Italian from Queens College.
Chosen by Indiewire as one of “8 More Female Cinematographers You Should Know About”, director of photography Laela Kilbourn has accumulated documentary feature credits including five Sundance Film Festival hits: the Peabody Award winning HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO; AMERICAN TEEN; the Emmy-nominated WORD WARS; and her additional cinematography on HOT COFFEE and the Oscar-winning 20 FEET FROM STARDOM. She also filmed MAGIC CAMP, winner of the Outstanding Achievement in Family Filmmaking Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival; SYNC OR SWIM, winner of the Billie Award for Journalism from the Women’s Sports Foundation; and History’s eleven part docu-series SANDHOGS. She has worked on projects for HBO, FX, NBC, AMC, A&E, Nick Jr., NickMom, ESPN, MTV, VH1, WeTV, Trio, TruTV, and TV One. Her narrative work includes the award-winning JUNE WEDDINGS as well as HIC! OPEN A DOOR IN THE USA, winner of the BAMKids Film Festival Best Live Action Short Award and Prix Jeunesse International Finalist, and she was additional camera on the acclaimed FX series THE AMERICANS. Her work in collaboration with contemporary visual artists includes BLIND SIDE, an installation piece at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Laela is a member of the International Cinematographers Guild and New York Women in Film & Television, and has served as a juror for the Brooklyn International Film Festival, Documentary Feature Awards, as a panelist on “The Female Perspective: Women in Cinematography” at the Canon Creative Studio, and as a guest speaker at The New School, Department in Media Studies & Film, Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Studies. She has a degree in social anthropology from Harvard University.
Carol has been affiliated with Rockland Jewish Family Service as a therapist and social worker since l991. In addition to individualized counseling, she has designed and runs the RJFS Jewish Family Life Education programs. Carol facilitates groups dealing with marriage, second generation, loss and bereavement. She strives to bring the wisdom of Jewish text and tradition to address contemporary and lifecycle situations. Carol has completed a Masters Dual Degree Program from the Jewish Theological Seminary in Jewish Studies and an MSW in Social Work from Columbia University. In addition, she has an MEd from Teachers College of Columbia University in History & Education and has completed graduate studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Carol has also taught in the Melton Program and serves as an adjunct instructor for Rockland Community College.
Stuart Liebman received his B.A. in Social Theory from Brandeis University, an M.A. in Art History from Boston University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from New York University. Now an Emeritus Professor at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center, he served as the Founding Coordinator of the Film Studies Certificate Program at the CUNY Graduate Center as well as the first Chair of the Department of Media Studies at Queens where he taught for 37 years. He has also taught at Columbia University and New York University and lectured extensively in both the United States and abroad.
He has published widely about early French cinema and theory, post-war German cinema, and Soviet and East European films in a variety of scholarly and critical journals both in the United States and Europe. His many publications include special issues of scholarly journals he has edited: Alexander Kluge: Theoretical Writings, Stories and an Interview (October No. 46, Fall 1988) and Jean Renoir (Persistence of Vision 12/13, Fall1996). The issue of October (No. 72, Spring 1995), “Berlin 1945: ‘Liberators Take Liberties,’” devoted to German feminist filmmaker Helke Sander won the Association of American Publishers Award for “Best Issue of a Scholarly Journal” in 1995. His anthology of readings about Claude Lanzmann’s film Shoah was published in 2007 by Oxford University Press. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Professor Liebman has been awarded a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in 2006 he was named an “Academy Film Fellow” of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles. A Senior Research Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. during the Spring of 2004, Professor Liebman was also a Fellow of the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute in 2008-09. He is currently completing a book on the first decade of Holocaust representation in world cinema.
Alyssa Miller, Director, Public Affairs, joined Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic (PPHP) in August 2016. Prior to moving to New York, she served as the Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood in South Carolina. She lobbied and advocated on behalf of women’s health care at the State Capitol and worked to increase access to comprehensive health care for all of South Carolina’s citizens. Alyssa received her Bachelor of Arts from Arizona State University and her M.P.A. Northeastern University.
Suzanne Mitchell has directed and produced numerous long and short form documentary films, television series and specials as well as cutting-edge content for the web. Her projects have garnered two Emmys, two Gracie Awards, an Omni Intermedia Award, and a Cine Golden Eagle. Her 2013 film Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde celebrated a successful festival run, winning numerous awards, including an Audience Favorite and Best Documentary, before its nationwide theatrical release. Running Wild was hailed by the New York Times as “a grand documentary” and by the Village Voice as “inspiring in the best possible way.”
Mitchell produced two comprehensive historical documentary programs — ABC’s The Century, with Peter Jennings, which included exclusive interviews with nuclear scientist Hans Bethe, Steve Jobs and others; and A&E’s The Millennium Biography Special, which focused on 100 of the most influential people of the last 1000 years. Suzanne’s passion for history solidified her role as the producer of mini documentaries on History’s epic series America The Story of Us. Her work as an independent producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show includes Harpo Productions’ 2008 Martin Luther King special and the 2011 Freedom Riders special. Recruited by AT&T to create cutting edge web programs, Mitchell developed, supervised, and produced hundreds of episodes of The Hugh Thompson Show, a variety-talk show that melded technology, art, history, and entertainment.
Most recently, Mitchell Directed two short films. The first, filmed at Burning Man 2015 in the Black Rock desert, follows renowned sculpture James Tyler as he sets out to erect an 8,000-pound brick sculpture in one of the harshest environments on earth. brickhead EARTH is an artful account of transformation that mirrors the quickly changing landscape in this brutal desert and seeks to bring attention to the most endangered places on our planet. Suzanne’s second short film this year is ED, a film about what it means to grow old. If age is determined by how one acts and feels then Edward Simons is still a very young man.
Her career as a multi-faceted content creator continually takes her to interesting places and introduces her to fascinating people. As long as there is a need for storytelling, Suzanne Mitchell will continue to shine a light on humanity.
Mario Moran is a passionate athlete who moved to Miami after being shot during a street altercation in his tough northern New Jersey hometown. Dealing with the separation from his family and physically challenged in a new city, Mario found a place with the Miami Heat Wheels through a spinal cord injury support group, and realized that it was his ticket to a new beginning.
Anthony Pavlacka, M.A., BCBA is a driven, passionate, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), with over seven years of experience in Autism treatment and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Anthony is the Director of Autism Services for ARC of Rockland.
Anthony received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Concordia College, and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Psychology from New York University. Anthony completed his coursework in ABA through the Florida Institute of Technology, upon which he earned his BCBA certification in 2014. Anthony possesses extensive experience serving children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities in multiple states within the United States. Anthony has held multiple positions in New York and California, supervising clinical professionals, providing exceptional support and services, to individuals and families of those with developmental disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders. During this time, Anthony has provided services in various settings, including center-based, clinic-based, school-based, home-based, and community settings. Anthony has a sibling with a significant developmental disability, and deeply identifies with the challenges that many of our clients and families face.
The Women’s Balcony
Eran Polishuk is the Director of Film and Media at Israel’s Office for Cultural Affairs at the Consulate General of Israel, New York.
In his previous role as producer of the Jewish and International Jerusalem Film Festival at the Jerusalem Cinematheque-Israel Film Archive, he collaborated with numerous cultural organizations in Israel including the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, the Tel Aviv Museum of Arts, Cinema South International Film Festival and many more. One of his greatest sources of pride has always been to represent the very best of Israel arts to the Israeli and international public.
Vincent Russell, Interim President/CEO, joined Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic (PPHP) in August 2015 as the Chief Operating Officer. In his role as COO, Vince has been responsible for effectively managing the medical services programs and operational activities of PPHP; providing administrative leadership and supervision of health center operations, medical services, call center operations, and clinical information systems; and providing leadership to Operations Team to enhance and facilitate effective, efficient interdepartmental activities and achievements of short- and long-term goals of the organization. Vince obtained his Bachelors of Science from The United States Military Academy at West Point, NY and his Masters of Science in Management from Florida Institute of Technology. Additionally, he received his certificate of achievement in Six Sigma Green Belt–Healthcare from Villanova University
Stephen SchaeferThe Frisco Kid
Film critic and entertainment reporter Stephen Schaefer writes regularly for The Boston Herald with interviews, features, reviews and his blog, “Hollywood & Mine” on http://bostonherald.com/blogs/stephenschaefer/. He has written for Variety, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, the NY Post and NY Daily News. A regular at film festivals in New York, Toronto and Berlin, many years ago he published the satirical novel, “Marla’s Truth! The Autobiography of Marla Del Marr as told to Stephen Schaefer” (St. Martin’s Press)
Rabbi Craig Scheff
On the Map
Rabbi Craig Scheff did not follow a traditional path to the rabbinate. Though his friends nick-named him “Rabs” in high school, and despite the many Saturday mornings he spent in synagogue at his father’s side, his formal Jewish studies did not begin until college, and even that was part of a path to law school. While attending Harvard University, Rabbi Scheff chose a concentration in Near Eastern Studies, and graduated with honors magna cum laude.
Upon graduation, he entered Boston University School of Law, where he earned several honors in oral advocacy. Upon becoming a member of the Massachusetts Bar in 1989, Rabbi Scheff practiced commercial litigation for three years. Feeling spiritually unfulfilled, Rabbi Scheff, with his wife Nancy’s support, gave up his career in Law and began the long process of studying towards the rabbinate. In the fall of 1995, Rabbi Craig Scheff arrived at the Orangetown Jewish Center. Just having commenced his third year of Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Craig took the position of Cantor at the OJC. Along with Nancy, who grew up in the OJC community, and their sons Matthew and Scott (5 and 3 years old, respectively, at the time), Craig was determined to make the OJC his home. After serving the OJC for 2 years as Student Rabbi, Craig was ordained in 1998, the same year that Jason was born into the OJC family. Jared would follow in 2000.
Oron Shamir is a seasoned film critic and Lecturer from Tel-Aviv, recently relocated to New York City. Since 2006 he is the Film critic (and former editor) of the cinema section in the popular Israeli magazine CityMouse. He is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Srita.net, one of Israel’s most influential film blogs and a Frequent collaborator as a lecturer and curator with many of Israel’s finest culture institutions. Oron is currently writing his first feature film, a dark comedy, with the support of The New Fund for Cinema and Television.
Stuart Weinstock is a director, screenwriter, and an adjunct professor of Film at Columbia University and Ramapo College of NJ. He is also the Film Programmer for Columbia University’s Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies. Stuart’s short films have screened at festivals worldwide, and he is currently developing several projects for film and television.