2023 Boston Jewish Film Festival – Guests
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.
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 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.
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.
Jeannie Smith is the daughter of Polish rescuer Irene Gut Opdyke, who received international recognition for her actions during the Holocaust while working for a high-ranking German official.
The Israeli Holocaust Commission named Irene one of the Righteous Among the Nations and received the Israel Medal of Honor at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.
Jeannie is a recipient of the 2015 Civil Rights award given by the Anti-Defamation League and an honorary member of the Jewish Federation of North America. Jeannie speaks at many other organizations across the country and Europe and has worked with the Polish Embassy regarding Polish/Jewish relations.
Jeannie resides in Washington State. She’s a wife, mother of three sons, a grandmother of five, and a foster parent.
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
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 Passacor (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.
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 Bergfarht (2008)
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.
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.
Most recently nominated for best actress at the Ophirs (Israeli Academy Awards) for the feature film Cinema Sabaya. The film also won Best Film at the awards. Concurrently with Cinema Sabaya, she is also nominated for Best actress for the hostage true story thriller Savoy. The now 6-time-time nominated and 3-time winner of the Israel Film Academy Awards, Dana Ivgy is a household name in her native Israel. In a nutshell, she won a Best Actress Ophir (Israeli Oscars) for her 2014 performance in the comedy Zero Motivation, as the unflappable recruit going through the motions of military service. Zero Motivation was the first Israeli film purchased by Netflix after it won best film at the Tribeca Film Festival. That same year she won a Best Supporting Israeli Oscar for her performance in the drama Next to Her. It was in 2004 that she won her first Israeli Oscar and got considerable world-wide acclaim for her portrayal of a prostitute’s daughter in the movie Or (My Treasure). In 2007 she held her own opposite Juliette Binoche in Amos Gitai’s political drama Disengagement. In 2009, her depiction of the pregnant protagonist in Jaffa, a Romeo & Juliet- inspired drama about a Jewish girl and an Arab boy, led to another nomination. In 2021 she was awarded Best Actress at the Berlin TV awards for Me’ila (Embezzlement).
Ania Bukstein is an Israeli-Russian Actress, a Theatre Award winner, a Woman of the Year in Film winner, and a four-time Ophir (Israeli Movie Academy Awards) nominee. Bukstein is also a singer-songwriter and a classical pianist educated in Moscow and Tel-Aviv Conservatorium. Bukstein stared in movies from the age of 11, her first role was in the movie New Land for which she was nominated for an Ophir for Best Actress (the youngest actor to ever be nominated). In television, Bukstein’s international debut was the role of Kinvara in the television hit series Game of Thrones, followed by the role of Margarita, co-staring with Jeffry Rush, in the series Genius. More recently, Ania is staring in YES’s hugely popular series Hamedovev (2023).
Lior Ashkenazi is known as one of Israel’s most prominent stage, television and film actors. He has won 4 Ophir Awards for acting, most recently in 2017 for his performance as Michael Feldman in Foxtrot. 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, an Israeli 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.
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.
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 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”.
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.
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 (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.
Julie Nimoy was born in Atlanta and grew up near Century City and in Westwood. Nimoy shared in her father Leonard’s interests, including flying and photography. She would also travel with her father while he was working and would eventually work behind the scenes on some of his productions, including his one-man show, Vincent and In Search of…. Nimoy attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with a degree in fine arts.
Her credits include Deadly Games; Microwarriors: The Origin and the Destiny, about probiotics and directed by her brother, Adam Nimoy; and Unexplained Bleeding: Shedding Light on Acquired Hemophilia A.
Along with her husband David Knight, Julie co-directed Remembering Leonard Nimoy, about her father’s battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Remembering Gene Wilder, another team-up with her husband, is her latest documentary feature.
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 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.
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 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 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 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.
Philippe Le Guay is a French screenwriter, film director and occasional actor. He studied film at the IDHEC and began his career as a screenwriter before directing his first feature film Les Deux Fragonard in 1989. He is known for his work on The Women on the 6th Floor (2010), which was well received at the French box office, and the César Award-nominated Bicycling with Molière (2013), and The Man in the Basement (2021).
Heather Dune Macadam began her career as a performance artist and dancer with the Martha Graham Contemporary Dance Company. After an accident prematurely ended her performing career she began writing.
The acclaimed author of 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz, a PEN America Literary Award Finalist, top five in the Goodreads Choice Awards Finals, and an Amazon Best of the Year Selection and translated into 19 languages; she is also the Producer/Director of the documentary film by the same title. Her first book, Rena’s Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz was also about the first transport. Macadam’s work in the battle against Holocaust denial has been recognized by organizations around the world.
Her writing has been featured in National Geographic, the Guardian, Sunday Times, NY Times and on NPR’s All Things Considered, as well as other major media outlets.
Her most recent book, Star Crossed: A True Romeo and Juliet Story in Hitler’s Paris, released in August 2023.
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.
Hannah Saidiner is a Designer at Duke & Duck, from Los Angeles, California. She is passionate about creating colorful multi-media art direction, illustration, and animation with a purpose.
During her BFA in Experimental Animation at CalArts, she directed several short animated films that screened at acclaimed film festivals around the world. Her most recent film, My Parent, Neal, became Oscar-qualified in 2022 and is available to watch as part of the New Yorker Documentary series.
Lily Emalfarb is a screenwriter with a focus in comedy and animation. Her comedic foundation was built on Second City’s comedy programs. Emalfarb’s screenwriting and writing breadth ranges from sketch comedy to TV, feature films, comics, and even video games. Emalfarb received her BFA in Screenwriting and Minor in Game Development Programming from Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in Orange, California in December of 2022. When not writing, Emalfarb can be found developing video games, or animating short videos of her characters. Suburban Witch is her official directorial debut.
Ella is an arts professional with 10+ years of experience leading programming and fundraising as well as acting as an independent creative consultant at organizations and foundations in the cultural sector; such as the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Bauhaus Foundation Tel Aviv, Nassima Landau Art Foundation and Columbia University. Ella has earned her Undergraduate and Masters degrees from Columbia University in New York and this is her first film as Director.
Max Cohn is a writer, director, and fifth generation New Yorker hailing from The Upper West Side and now living in Brooklyn. Max has written for The Simpsons, The New Yorker, and McSweeney’s. His commercial writing has taken home Golds at the Clios, at ProMax, and the Grand Prix at Cannes Lions—for such brands as KFC, Disney, HULU, FX, Bowflex, HBO Max, Lifetime, Showtime, Freeform, TNT, TBS, TruTV, MTV, Pop TV, Paramount+, and Comedy Central.
Proof of Concept marks Cohn’s directorial debut, which he wrote and directed with his longtime friend turned firsttime collaborator Ellie Sachs.
Ellie Sachs is a filmmaker, actress, and native New Yorker. She is currently developing a half-hour comedy for a streamer, based on a web-series she co-created. She is also developing a podcast with Ninth Planet Audio, based on her work in prisons. Ellie also created and hosts an online series for Time Out New York called Where Should I Eat?
Previous projects include a remake of the film Annie Hall starring first time senior citizen actors on the Upper East Side — which went on to receive profiles on CBS Sunday Morning and the New York Times. She is represented by Patrick Newman and Jordan Reynolds at Mosaic Management.
Jeremy Workman is the director of the documentaries Lily Topples The World (Discovery), The World Before Your Feet (Greenwich Entertainment, Kino Lorber), Magical Universe (IFC Films), among others. Additionally, Jeremy is well-known for his editing work, particularly for indie movie trailers. A two-time Emmy award nominee, Jeremy is the Creative Director of Wheelhouse Creative, a movie trailer company that caters to indie film. He is currently in post-production on his newest feature documentary The Secret Mall Apartment.
Rob Lyons is an Emmy-Award Nominated producer, who has produced films for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series and feature documentaries released theatrically by IFC Films, Cohen Media Group and Netflix. Known primarily for his work in movie marketing as the Executive Director of Wheelhouse Creative, he has overseen marketing campaigns for dozens of films and produced numerous documentary companion pieces and featurettes. A member of the Producer’s Guild, Rob is currently producing an untitled feature documentary about Jule Campbell, the famed mastermind of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, directed by her daughter Jill Campbell.
Micah Levin is a filmmaker from Los Angeles, CA. His award-winning content includes: The ‘S’ Word (ABC/Participant), Funded In America (T-Mobile/ Participant), Scott Hamilton: Today (People /SoulPancake), Skrrt w/ Offset (Quibi/STX), Actors’ Roundtable (Hollywood Reporter), and The Terry Kath Experience (Tiff ’16). In 2006, Micah founded the creative content studio, Movie Magic Media, where he and Keith have collaborated on dozens of short films, music videos and features films. Together they made their Tribeca Film Festival debut in 2015 with the climate themed sci-fi short film, Grow, and Dear Ani won Best Documentary Short at Atlanta Docufest 2022.
Keith Wasserman is a multidisciplinary artist and educator who has won awards in his various roles as producer, writer, film editor, and songwriter. After graduating with honors from the Dramatic Writing Program at NYU Tisch school of the Arts, Keith began his career as an wilderness guide and experiential educator working with inner-city youth in various programs around the country. In 2001 he co-founded EVOS ARTS-a 40,000 sq ft. arts space in Lowell MA. As the arts program director, Keith produced live theater, curated art exhibits, and worked with youth teaching media literacy. In 2012 Keith shifted his focused to Kids and Family music, writing and recording original material as KB WHIRLY. In 2014 his debut record “Greetings from Cloud 9” received a Parents Choice Award. KB Whirly has delighted audiences at such notable festivals as Austin City Limits, and Lollapalooza as well as performing at high profile venues like Madison Sq. Park (NYC), Symphony Space (NYC) & SiriusXM live.