2023 Boston Jewish Film Festival – Guests

Paul Michael Bloodgood, Director/Producer, Finding Light

Lone Star Emmy-winning filmmaker Paul Michael Bloodgood enjoyed a career spanning 20 years as a professional ballet dancer, performing in a myriad of principal roles.

Paul Michael has a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and the Humanities from St. Edward’s University and is a SAG-AFTRA stunt performer with recent work in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. Paul Michael has also appeared in major feature films directed  by filmmakers including Michael Bay, Forest Whitaker and Richard Linklater.

Stephen Mills, Choreographer/Film SubjectFinding Light

Known for his innovative and collaborative projects, Lone Star Emmy-winning choreographer Stephen Mills has over 45 dance productions in the repertoire of companies across the United States and around the world, including Hong Kong Ballet, Ballet Augsburg, American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, Atlanta Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Washington Ballet, Cuballet in Havana, Cuba, BalletMet Columbus, Dayton Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, Ballet Pacifica, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Louisville Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater, The Sacramento Ballet, Dance Kaleidoscope, and Ballet Austin.

Chandler Levack, Writer/Director, I Like Movies

Chandler Levack grew up in Burlington, Ontario and lives in Toronto, where she studied cinema at the University of Toronto and screenwriting at the Canadian Film Centre. She has directed numerous music videos, earning two JUNO nominations, and is a veteran music writer and a current film critic for the Globe & Mail. In 2017, her short film We Forgot to Break Up premiered at TIFF and went on to play SXSW. In 2022, her debut feature film I Like Movies premiered at TIFF, was selected for Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival and won prizes around the world. She is currently working on her second feature Anglophone, a portrait of the Montreal music scene circa 2011, with Zapruder Films and Banner House Productions.

Isaiah Lehtinen, Actor, I Like Movies

Isaiah can be seen as the lead in the independent feature I Like Movies which recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and for which he was named a TIFF RISING STAR. Other credits include Deadly Class and When The Street Lights Go On.

Louise Archambault, Writer/Director, Irena’s Vow

Screenwriter and director Louise Archambault made her feature film debut in 2005. Familia won Best Canadian First Feature Film at TIFF. In 2013, Louise created a world sensation with her second feature film, Gabrielle, Canada’s entry for the 2014 Oscars and Golden Globes. As prolific as she is talented, Louise Archambault is also a very sought-after director with several TV series for Radio-Canada and CBC at her credit. In 2019, she released two feature films: Il Pleuvait Des Oiseaux (And the Birds Rained Down), an intense drama which premiered at TIFF, and Merci Pour Tout (Thanks for Everything), a girl road movie. Her recent film work includes Irena’s Vow (2022), a World War II drama shot in English in Poland, and Le Temps d’un été (For A Summer, 2023), set on the shores of the St. Lawrence River and already a bona fide success in Quebec.

Hilla Medalia, Director/Producer, Mourning in Lod

Hilla Medalia is a Peabody winning and Emmy nominated director/producer with over 20 years of experience in the documentary field. She is the founder of award-winning Medalia Productions whose films have aired by the leading broadcasters in the world, including MTV, HBO, Arte, Netflix, Paramount, and BBC and screened at the Venice Biennale, Cannes, Berlinale and Sundance among others.

She is a regular lecturer at The NY Film Academy, NYU, EWA (European Women’s Audiovisual Network) and the New Fund for Cinema’s Women Greenhouse on the subject of production, directing and crowdfunding.

Hilla is a mentor for the NFCT’s Program for Emerging Filmmakers, at Ex Oriente and Dok Incubator. She acts as a lector and judge at film festivals and forums, Hilla is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the PGA and she holds an M.A. from Southern Illinois University.

Romy Neumark, Moderator, Mourning in Lod

Romy Neumark is a Gerard Weinstock Visiting Lecturer and Fellow at Harvard’s Center for Jewish Studies. During the 2023-2024 academic year, she will teach about Israeli documentaries and Israeli media. In addition, she will conduct research on diversity-focused journalism training programs in Israel.

As an Israeli public broadcaster, she worked as a senior anchor at KAN before arriving at Harvard as a Nieman fellow (2023). Neumark created and hosted “Night News” on television and a weekly radio interview show at KAN and previously reported on in-depth magazine stories and anchored a daily news program at Channel 10 News and Gali Tzahal.

Nathaniel Kahn, Director/Film Subject, My Architect

Nathaniel Kahn is an Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker. His documentary My Architect (2003)—about his father, the architect Louis Kahn—was nominated for an Academy Award, two Independent Spirit Awards, and won the Directors Guild of America Award. His film Two Hands (2006) about the pianist Leon Fleisher was nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy. Kahn’s documentary on the interaction between the worlds of art and commerce, The Price of Everything (2018) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was broadcast by HBO and was nominated for an Emmy. His film The Hunt for Planet B (2021) about NASA’s Webb Telescope. premiered at SXSW, was broadcast by CNN and won an Emmy for Outstanding Science and Technology Documentary

Stefan Sarazin, Writer/Co-Director, No Name Restaurant

Born in Würzburg in 1964, Stefan Sarazin was an assistant to various photographers while he attended drama school in Munich from 1982 to 1984. Initially under contract for a play at the Residenztheater under the direction of Ingmar Bergman, he moved on to the HB Studio in New York from 1985 to 1987. From 1989 to 1996 he studied documentary film at the University of Television and Film in Munich and directing at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome. As a writer and director, he made the feature films PASSACÖR (1993) and NACKTER HIMMEL (1996), his graduation film. His 1996 European Script Award-winning screenplay NITSCHEWO became a feature film that he directed in 2001. In addition to other material, he developed the concept and the content for NO NAME RESTAURANT during extensive travels and research in Israel and the Sinai Desert from 2002 to 2007.

Peter Keller, Writer/Co-Director, No Name Restaurant

Born in 1966, Peter Keller studied medicine in Munich and Ireland from 1987 to 1993 and gained experience on set on various practice films by students at the University of Television and Film Munich (HFF). After graduating, he was a production assistant in film from 1994 to 1996, and from 1996 onward, in addition to stints of medical residency, he was a performer and dancer at Munich’s Nationaltheater. From 1998 to 2004 he was a production manager and assistant director at various production companies. After initial forays into video, the short motion picture SCHICHT (2002) was his first professional calling card. In 2005 he founded the production company ppfilm. This was followed by the short film LETZTE BERGFAHRT (2008)

Luzer Twersky, Actor, No Name Restaurant

Luzer Twersky is an actor, writer, and an occasional musician. He was raised as a Hasidic Jew in Brooklyn, NY and broke away from his community in 2007 to pursue a career as an actor and writer. He has been nominated and won numerous awards for his performances including Best Actor at the 2014 Torino International Film Festival for Felix and Meira.

Fritjof Hohagen, Producer, No Name Restaurant

Fritjof Hohagen is the the creative driving force at Munich and Berlin based enigma film which he founded in 2006. Since then, he has produced more than 10 feature films, most recently the international culture clash comedy NO NAME RESTAURANT, for which he was awarded with the Bavarian Film Award 2022 “Best Producer”. Fritjof previous productions include the award-winning desert drama FATA MORGANA (2007) starring German shooting-star Matthias Schweighöfer („Army of Thieves“), the drug-sport-drama RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! (2008) starring Max Riemelt („The Matrix Resurrections“) or the film adaptation of Noble Price winner Elie Wiesel’s novel DAWN (2011) starring Jason Isaacs („Harry Potter“). Fritjof scripted and produced the german-swiss-coproduction THE BLACK BROTHERS (2013) directed by Academy Award-winner Xavier Koller („Journey of Hope“) starring Moritz Bleibtreu („Baader Meinhof Complex“). Other productions include the german-austrian drama HANNA’S SLEEPING DOGS (2016) which won the renowned „Golden Goblet Award“ 2016 at the International Film Festival Shanghai and the Political-Thriller UNDER THE RADAR which won numerous national and international awards including the INTERNATIONAL EMMY AWARD 2016 „Best Performance by an Actress“ for Christiane Paul.

Ma’ayan Rypp, Writer/Director,  The Other Widow

Ma’ayan Rypp is a writer-director who was born in 1984 and raised in Tel Aviv. She holds American, Canadian, and Israeli citizenship and is a native speaker of English and Hebrew. Her short films have been screened at various festivals, including Cannes, Palm Springs, and Raindance, winning best film, most promising artist, and special awards. Her first feature film, THE OTHER WIDOW, was developed as part of the Cannes residency and screened at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival as part of the inaugural feature film competition. Ma’ayan has worked in the art department on various films and is currently developing her second feature film.

Dana Ivgy, Actor, The Other Widow

Ania Bukstein, Actor, The Other Widow

Lior Ashkenazi, Writer/Director, Perfect Strangers

Lior Ashkenazi is known as one of Israel’s most prominent stage, television and film actors. In 2017 Ashkenazi won Best Actor at the Ophir Awards for his performance as Michael Feldman in Samuel Maoz’s Foxtrot, winner of the Grand Jury Prize Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival. He also played Yitzhak Rabin in the feature film 7 Days in Entebbe, alongside Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl. Most recently, Ashkenazi directed the feature film Perfect Strangers ,anIsraeli adaptation of a 2016 Italian film of the same name. He can currently be seen as a series regular on Netflix’s “Hit & Run,” alongside Lior Raz and Sanaa Lathan. Ashkenazi starred opposite Richard Gere in Joseph Cedar’s 2016 feature Norman, playing Israel’s humble, youthful and inspiring prime minister. In 2013 he played a disturbed, violent cop in the Israeli thriller Big Bad Wolves, which received widespread international acclaim. In 2011 Ashkenazi won the Israeli Film Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Joseph Cedar’s Footnote, which was nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars. Ashkenazi also won the 2001 Israeli Film Academy Award for Best Actor for his breakthrough role in Dover Koshashvili’s Late Marriage. On the small screen Ashkenazi starred in Israel’s “In Therapy,” which was later adapted as HBO’s “In Treatment” in the U.S. Ashkenazi can also be seen in HBO’s “Our Boys” and he was a series regular in the HBO Max original “Valley of Tears.

Avner Shavit, Moderator, Perfect Strangers

Avner Shavit is one of the preeminent film critics in Israel. He has been covering both the local and international scenes for two decades and has been a consistent presence at major film festivals including Cannes, Venice, and Berlin. He is also a sought-after interviewer. He holds a PhD from the New Sorbonne University in Paris and is now a visiting professor at Wesleyan University.

Bondi Wilson Walters, Executive Producer/Film subject, Queen of the Deuce

Co-Executive Producer Bondi Wilson-Walters is the daughter of the legendary Times Square exhibitor Chelly Wilson. Bondi grew up within the matrix of the New York exploitation film world. She was active in every aspect of her mother’s business, Variety Films. She has distinguished herself as a producer, distributor and cinema operator, continuing in that function right up to the Disneyfication of 42nd Street. As an adult student, Bondi graduated from Fordham University summa cum laude with a degree in Psychology and is currently writing a memoir/biography about she and her mother, entitled ALL THAT WAS LEFT UNSPOKEN.

Don Walters, Executive Producer/Film subject, Queen of the Deuce

Don Walters is a motion picture producer, director, screenwriter and film editor. He is a Midwesterner born in St Louis. He graduated from the University of Illinois and moved to NYC in the sixties to be a part of the theater and motion picture production. Don is writing a memoir about his life entitled GRANDFATHER’S CHICKEN COOP.

Tamar Manasseh, Film subject, Rabbi on the Block

Rabbi Tamar Manasseh is the Founder & President of Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings (MASK). MASK’s purpose is to put eyes on the streets, interrupt violence and crime, and teach children to grow up as friends rather than enemies. MASK’s primary mission is to build stronger communities through a focus on violence prevention, food insecurity, and housing. Additionally, MASK partners to ensure that community members have access to necessary city services, opportunities for education & professional skills growth, and economic development.

Manasseh has also helped launch MASK initiatives in other Chicago neighborhoods, as well as in cities throughout the nation, including Evansville, Indiana, Staten Island, New York, and Memphis, Tennessee.

Brad Rothschild, Director/Producer, Rabbi on the Block

Director/Producer Brad Rothschild produced the documentary feature, Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald (2012). He directed the documentary film Tree Man (2015) which streamed on Netflix for three years. He produced and directed the documentary film African Exodus (2021), about the plight of Israel’s African refugees and the documentary film They Ain’t Ready for Me (BJFF 2020), which screened at over 100 film festivals, Jewish community centers and synagogues.

Brad’s written work has appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, The Huffington Post, The Forward, and The Times of Israel. He lives in New York City.

Maria Isabel Rosario, Moderator, Rabbi on the Block

Maria Isabel Rosario (she/her) is a member of Temple Israel Boston (TI). At TI she serves as a member of the Leadership Council and is co-chair for the Racial Justice Initiative. Maria is also a member of TI’s racial equity, diversity, and inclusion (REDI) team. She is a member of the Social Justice Education Team at The Rashi School in Dedham, MA. Maria previously worked as an Organizer at the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (JALSA) in Boston where she coordinated JALSA’s Jews of Color initiative and worked with multiple synagogues on voter rights work. Maria is a 2021 URJ JewV’Nation Fellow, a member of the 2022 Jewish Women of Color Circle, and a 2023 JewTina Puentes Fellow. She holds a BA in Social Sciences from Harvard University and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the Mountainview Low Residency writing program at Southern New Hampshire University.

Ron Frank, Director, Remembering Gene Wilder

Ron Frank has earned a Peabody award and Emmy nomination, and has worked as director, writer, editor and producer. He was producer and editor for “MLK: The Assassination Tapes” for Smithsonian Channel for which he received the George Foster Peabody Award. One of Ron’s earlier television documentaries was “The Hunt for Adolf Eichmann”, narrated by Gregory Peck for A&E. He was director and writer for his own personal documentary family story “The Eternal Road” on PBS; which also chronicled the story of a lost opera by Kurt Weill that foreshadowed the fate of German Jewry. Ron produced and edited “The Lost JFK Tapes” for National Geographic Channel, a two hour special on the JFK assassination for which he received an Emmy nomination. He is director, producer and editor of his theatrical documentary film, “When Comedy Went to School” about the birthplace of standup comedy in the Catskill Mountains. He produced and directed two films with Deepak Chopra; “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” and “How to Know God” for 20th Century Fox Entertainment. Ron has taught documentary filmmaking at UCLA. He has lived in Jerusalem, Israel and worked for CNN, ABC News where he produced and edited numerous film and television productions. He lives in Los Angeles and Connecticut.

Glenn Kirschbaum, Writer/Co-Director, Remembering Gene Wilder

Emmy Award winning producer/director/writer Glenn Kirschbaum has spent more than forty years working in television production. A native of Boston, Glenn has overseen hundreds of hours of programming on such networks as The History Channel, A & E, Discovery, National Geographic, The Travel Channel, The Food Network, and HGTV.

Kirschbaum began his career as an independent writer/director. In producing his first documentary feature, Adolf Hitler: Man and Myth. His film was honored with two national Emmy Awards.

Kirschbaum spent the next several years writing the NBC hit program, Unsolved Mysteries. In that capacity, he was nominated for another national Emmy Award.

In 1997, Glenn was hired by Greystone Television as Vice President of Television Programming. In that role, he oversaw production on dozens of films for The History Channel. He also oversaw several series that aired on A&E and The History Channel. More recently, Glenn served as the Co-Executive Producer of Combat Zone on the Discovery Channel.

Glenn’s latest film, “Remembering Gene Wilder“, is a heartfelt, feature documentary honoring the beloved star.

Paula Apsell, Executive Producer/Co-director, Resistance: They Fought Back

Paula S. Apsell is executive producer and co-director of Resistance – They Fought Back. She spent 33 years as the senior executive producer of the PBS NOVA science series. Prior to that, she produced and directed a dozen NOVA episodes, was a Fellow in the Public Understanding of Science at MIT, and produced medical documentaries with ABC’s Dr. Timothy Johnson. During Paula Apsell’s tenure, NOVA won every major broadcasting award, most many times over, including the Emmy; the Peabody; the duPont-Columbia University Gold and Silver Batons; and an Academy Award nomination. She has been recognized with numerous individual awards for her work, including the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Emmy of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Kirk Wolfinger, Co-director, Resistance: They Fought Back

Kirk Wolfinger is co-director of Resistance – They Fought Back and created the visual concept for the film. He is an Emmy and Peabody Award winning filmmaker and President of Lone Wolf Media, production partner for the feature-length documentary. Lone Wolf is widely known as a leader in factual entertainment, specializing in adventure, science and historical programming, and has produced many award-winning nationally broadcast documentaries on PBS as well as the National Geographic, History and Smithsonian Channels. Kirk has produced and directed more than 25 documentaries for the PBS science series NOVA alone, including Holocaust Escape Tunnel, which inspired Resistance – They Fought Back.

Michael Berenbaum, Film subject, Resistance: They Fought Back

Michael Berenbaum is a writer, lecturer, and teacher consulting in the conceptual development of museums and the development of historical films. He is director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust at the American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism) where he is also a Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies. He served as Project Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, overseeing its creation and he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.

Joey Schweitzer, Writer/Director, (FreshFlix) New Lives

Joey Schweitzer is a filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York, an avid Mets fan, and a food network enthusiast. He’s a graduate of NYU Tisch’s Kanbar Institute of Film and Television. Currently, Joey is a Video Content Creator at the Anti Defamation League, one of the US’s leading anti-hate NGOs, while developing his first feature film. His NYU Thesis Film “New Lives,” a Polish language period piece about Holocaust survivors in 1950s Brooklyn, is in its festival run.