2017 WJFF Filmmaker and Speaker Bios

RABBI ANDREW BAKER

Speaker, Keep Quiet

As Director of International Jewish Affairs, Rabbi Andrew Baker is responsible for AJC’s network of relationships with Jewish communities throughout the Diaspora and addressing the accompanying issues and concerns. He has been a prominent figure in international efforts to combat anti-Semitism and in addressing Holocaust-era issues in Europe.

He has played an active role in pressing governments to confront the legacy of the Holocaust. He was a member of Government Commissions in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania and Romania that were established to examine Holocaust-era history and address the claims of its victims. He is co-chair of the Lithuanian Good Will Foundation and a long-time officer of the Jewish Claims Conference.

DAVID BERNSTEIN

Moderator, Day of Education on Arab Citizens of Israel

David Bernstein is the President and CEO of JCPA. Prior to his position at JCPA, Bernstein served as a consultant dedicated to assisting organizations and communities in strengthening their Israel education, engagement and advocacy work. He is also founder of CultureSolutions LLC, which works with non-profits on strategic planning and culture change efforts.

He served as Executive Director of The David Project from August 2010-September 2014. During his time at The David Project, Bernstein transformed and re-branded the organization, focusing on the need for expanding relationships with campus opinion leaders, intensifying efforts at particular campuses and utilizing a more nuanced approach for discussions about Israel.

Bernstein also spent 13 years at the American Jewish Committee, where he began as director of the Washington regional office and served in management roles overseeing regional offices and national and local programming and advocacy. During his time at AJC, David was a leading advocate for Israel on the legislative, diplomatic, media and inter-group relations fronts. He has provided pro-Israel media training in cities across the country and to Israeli diplomats based in the U.S. David was a leading player in the successful nationwide effort to overturn the decision of the Presbyterian Church USA to divest its holdings from Israel. Bernstein is also a passionate advocate for education change, writing a series of opinion pieces for the Washington Post and Education Week.

LEEANN DANCE

Director, My Dear Children

LeeAnn Dance is an award winning television producer and groundbreaking investigative reporter who began her career more than 25 years ago. She has worked as a freelancer in East Africa and as a producer with CNN’s investigative and documentary unit. She now has her own boutique production company based outside of Washington, D.C.

MARTHA ERTMAN

Moderator, The Guys Next Door

Martha Ertman’s new book is Love’s Promises, a mix of memoir and law about the exchanges in uncommon families.  It was the Family Equality Council’s Book Club Pick a finalist for the Indie Book Award.  She teaches contract law at the University of Maryland and workshops on legal issues in memoir.

ALEISSA FISHMAN

Speaker, A German Life

Aleisa Fishman is a historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. In her work she encourages audiences to explore the history of the Holocaust and how that history remains relevant today. Dr. Fishman curates the Museum’s podcast interview series Confronting Hatred, part of the Museum’s Initiative Against Holocaust Denial and Antisemitism. She also creates “citizen history” programs that invite students, educators, and the public into the process of historical investigation.

MARGAUX FITOUSSI

Filmmaker, El Hara

Margaux Fitoussi is a researcher and writer. After graduating from UC Berkeley in 2011, she worked in sub-Saharan Africa from 2010-2013 researching armed groups, implementing civilian protection projects, and working as a translator and producer on several award-winning short films based on former combatants and their families in Central African communities. As a Presidential Scholar at Harvard University, she curated a mixed-media exhibition on El Hara, the Jewish neighborhood in Tunis. In July 2016, the show opened in Tunis, Tunisia and is now being exhibited at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies – Harvard University. Fitoussi’s research examines themes such as historical memory, Judeo-Muslim relations, and French colonization in Africa.

EVA FOGELMAN

Speaker, Past Life

Eva Fogelman, PhD is a licensed psychologist, writer, filmmaker and a pioneer in the treatment of psychological effects of the Holocaust on survivors and their descendants. She is the author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated book Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust and co-editor of Children During the Nazi Reign: Psychological Perspectives on the Interview Process.She is the writer and co-producer of the award-winning documentary Breaking the Silence: the Generation After the Holocaust and contributing producer of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II.

She was born in a displaced persons camp in Kassel, Germany after World War II and lived in Israel for a brief period before coming to the United States in 1959. Fogelman received a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College, and a master’s degree from New York University in rehabilitation counseling. In 1987 Fogelman earned her Ph.D from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in social/​personality psychology.

CYNTHIA FUCHS

Moderator, WJFF Visionary Award: Agnieszka Holland

Dr. Cynthia Fuchs is the Director of Film & Media Studies at George Mason University. She is Associate Professor of English, African and African American Studies (AAAS), Film & Video Studies (FAVS), Sport and American Culture, and Women and Gender Studies (WMST). She is also affliated with the Center for the Study of Sport and Leisure in Society and War and the Military in Society.

Fuchs is the Film and TV Editor for the weekly cultural studies magazine, PopMatters (since 1999), film reviewer for Time to Play Magazine (since 2009), and frequent jurist for the Gotham Independent Film Awards.

AMY GELLER

Co-producer/Co-director, The Guys Next Door

Amy Geller has been producer and line producer on numerous commercials, shorts and documentaries, including the PBS/BBC broadcast docudrama Murder at Harvard. She also produced the Sundance Institute-supported narrative Stay Until Tomorrow, The War That Made America, a four-hour PBS mini-series broadcast in 2006, and the feature documentary For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism, which was broadcast internationally in Spain, France, Israel, and Japan and nationally on the Documentary Channel and WGBH-Boston. She has taught classes at Boston University and Emerson College and recently served as the Artistic Director of the Boston Jewish Film Festival.

HARRIET GETZELS

Director, Zuzana: Music is Life

Harriet Gordon Getzels, together with Peter Getzels, has a long track record of producing, directing and writing award-winning films made for British, American and European television. Their subjects range from character-driven narratives to cutting edge science shows, and the productions that explore the fringes of religion. Her digital narratives and website productions have taken on subjects from the environment to brain science and addiction. Getzels is co-owner of Getzels Gordon Productions, originally based in Oxford, England and now located in Washington DC.

PETER GETZELS

Director, Zuzana: Music is Life

Peter Getzels is an Emmy-Award winning producer, director and cinematographer of feature documentaries around the world. He is also co-creator and director of the high-end PBS series Closer to Truth, now in its 17th season. Once a professional mountaineer working in the Himalayas and South America, Peter was trained in anthropology before turning to film, working with his partner, Harriet Getzles. He directed and produced over 120 hours of television (including a range of award winning feature documentaries) for National Geographic, BBC, PBS, Discovery and Channel 4 UK.

ERICA GINSBERG

Moderator, My Dear Children

Erica Ginsberg is the Executive Director of Docs In Progress, a nonprofit incubator for emerging documentary filmmakers. Docs In Progress has helped more than 1,000 documentary filmmakers of all ages and experience levels move forward with their work and careers through work-in-progress screenings, training classes, professional development workshops, and various filmmaker services programs. In addition to her work with Docs In Progress, Erica is a co-host of The D-Word, an online documentary filmmaker community with members from around the world. She is herself a documentary filmmaker whose latest film Creative Feds puts a face on people who work for the federal government but who also have a creative calling on the side. She has more than 20 years of experience in program administration in the nonprofit and government sectors, working in the areas of arts and culture, nonprofit management, and international professional exchanges.

PAUL GOLDBERG

Moderator, Operation Wedding

Paul Goldberg first heard a Moscow myth about Jews using blood for religious rituals when he was 10, in 1969. By the time he immigrated to the US in 1973, he had gathered the massive collection of Moscow stories which underpin his debut novel, The Yid. As a reporter, Goldberg has written two books about the Soviet human rights movement, The Final Act and The Thaw Generation (with Ludmilla Alexeyeva). He is the editor and publisher of The Cancer Letter, a weekly publication focused on the business and politics of cancer, and coauthor (with Otis Brawley) of a book about the American healthcare system, How We Do Harm. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and elsewhere, and he has been featured on 60 Minutes, 20/20, CNN, and NPR.

ANNE GOURSAND

Director, A Classy Broad

Anne Goursaud is an accomplished film director and editor. It was Francis Ford Coppola who first spotted Anne’s talent, giving her the chance to edit One From the Heart. Since that time, she has directed and edited a wide range of projects, and she has worked with some of the most highly acclaimed professionals in the movie industry.  Her directing credits include the cult thrillers Embrace of the Vampire and Poison Ivy II, both for New Line Cinema, and the erotic drama Love in Paris (another 9 1/2 Weeks) for Trimark.

CLIFF HACKEL

Director, My Dear Children

With over 25 years in the documentary industry, Cliff Hackel has led international teams, been both an innovator and mentor, and performed nearly every job in television production at the highest professional level. He has edited five shows that were winners of National News and Documentary Emmy awards. In 2007, as a producer/director/editor, he was awarded a George Foster Peabody award and an Alfred I. DuPont award for CNN’s God’s Warriors, hosted by Christiane Amanpour. His shows have appeared on CNN, PBS, ABC, CBS, National Geographic Television and Discovery Channel.

PATRICIA HEBERER RICE

Speaker, Fog in August

Dr. Patricia Heberer Rice is the Director of the Office of the Senior Historian in the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, a wing of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. There she functions as a specialist on medical crimes and eugenics policies in Nazi Germany.  In addition to contributions to several USHMM publications, she is the author of Children during the Holocaust, a volume in the Center’s series, Documenting Life and Destruction (2011). A further publication, Atrocities on Trial: The Politics of Prosecuting War Crimes in Historical Perspective, co-edited with Juergen Matthäus, appeared in 2008 with the University of Nebraska Press.

AMY HECKERLING

Director, Clueless

Amy Heckerling invented some of the most memorable characters in American comedy. But her movies add up to much more than just the now-iconic people at their centers. Her films—including major, generation-defining teenage hits Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless, and slapstick riots like Johnny Dangerously and Look Who’s Talking—are uncommonly intelligent mainstream comedies that stand up to (many) repeat viewings, and have acted as models for many of the best contemporary American comedies of our day.

AMY HELLER

Speaker, Strange Victory

Amy Heller is a historian and film distributor, as well as the co-founder of Milestone Films. The distributor is known for releasing classic cinema masterpieces, groundbreaking documentaries, and American independent features.

AGNIESZKA HOLLAND

WJFF Visionary Award Recipient, WJFF Visionary Award

Agnieszka Holland is a Polish film director and scriptwriter. She began her career working with Krzysztof Zanussi as an assistant director with Andrzej Wajda as her mentor. Her debut feature Provincial Actors (1978), was heralded as a leader of the “cinema of moral disquiet” movement, and won the International Critics Prize at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival. In 1981, after Marshall Law was instituted in Poland, Holland emigrated to France.

Among her impressive and prolific catalog of films made in the west, highlights include Angry Harvest (1985), Europa Europa (1990), and In Darkness (2011)—all of which were nominated for Academy Awards.

Holland is actively involved in TV production, having directed seminal episodes of major US TV series including The Wire, Treme, The Killing, and House of Cards. Her latest film, Spoor, premiered at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival, where it was awarded the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize.

NINA HOROWITZ

Director, The Margaret Lambert Story

Nina Horowitz is a filmmaker specializing in documentary storytelling. She focuses on subject matter featuring strong female protagonists and tackles topics that relate to human justice, gender, and political scandals. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and is a Director at Vice Media.

ALLIE HUMENUK

Co-Director, The Guys Next Door

Allie Humenuk is an award-winning filmmaker and Emmy nominated cinematographer whose films have been broadcast nationally and internationally and screened at film festivals, museums, and schools. Her feature documentary, Shadow of the House, about the photographer Abelardo Morell was heralded as “one of the best films ever made on a artist and the artistic process” by Bo Smith, former curator of the film program at the MFA Boston. She was nominated for an Emmy for her camera work on the PBS series Design Squad. For over 15 years Humenuk was the Executive Producer at Vida Health Communications where she created media about public health issues. She has taught film and video production at Harvard University and the Massachusetts College of Art.

ANNETTE INSDORF

Speaker, The Hourglass Sanatorium

Annette Insdorf is a ​professor in the Film Program of Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She is the author of Double Lives, Second Chances: The Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski; Francois Truffaut, a study of the French director’s work; Philip Kaufman; and the landmark study, Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust (with a foreword by Elie Wiesel). Her commentaries can be heard on many DVDs, and she has interviewed over 200​ film celebrities in her popular “Reel Pieces” series at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y. She has been a juror at film festivals including Berlin, Galway, Locarno, and Jerusalem, and is the panel moderator at the annual Telluride Film Festival.

FRANZ AFRAIM KATZIR

Moderator, Bal Ej: The Hidden Jews of Ethiopia

Franz Afraim Katzir is the Founding Director of SHIN-DC (Sephardic Heritage IN DC), a cultural diplomacy organization that builds intercultural bridges and promotes appreciation and understanding of that cosmopolitan heritage and the cultures, arts and history of the Middle East, North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula and Central and Western Asia.  He also provides consulting for individuals or communities that want to build intercultural bridges with others or learn more about Sephardic heritage in a meaningful way.  He has a Master of Science degree in Linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a National Science Foundation fellow, and studied Jewish law and philosophy at academic institutions in the U.S. and Israel.  Mr. Katzir has worked on the Hill on various issues involving Foreign Affairs and the Judiciary, including the Middle East.  In addition to giving talks internationally, he has published on topics in linguistics, as well as on issues regarding foreign and Jewish affairs worldwide.

RICK KLEIN

Moderator, On The Map

Rick Klein is Political Director of ABC News, leading the network’s political coverage and planning and serving as an on-air political analyst across ABC News platforms.

Klein has contributed stories and analysis to all ABC News broadcasts, including Good Morning America and World News He also provides regular political commentary and analysis for ABC News Radio, ABC News NOW and NewsOne, the network’s affiliate news service.

Klein also co-hosts Top Line, a political Webcast that’s part of the Yahoo! News/ABC News Power Players series. He is a regular guest on Fox News and NPR programs, and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and PBS, among numerous other television outlets.

HYNEK KMONICEK

Speaker, Murder in Polna

Before his appointment and since 2013, Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček worked as the Director of the Foreign Affairs Department in the Office of the President of the Czech Republic.

His diplomatic career has spanned more than two decades since he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, specifically its Department for Middle East and Africa, in 1995. He worked in different positions such as the Director of North Africa and Middle East Department, the Director General for Asia, Africa, and America, and the Deputy Foreign Minister in two different periods. He served as the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Australia, India and the United Nations in New York.

Before joining the foreign service, the Ambassador studied English and Arabic Language Studies at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, and Modern History of the Middle East and Hebrew and Arabic Languages Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.

He enjoys cooking ethnic cuisine, collecting the hottest sauces on this planet, and writing for various magazines and newspapers.

BARRY LEVINSON

WJFF Visionary Award Recipient, WJFF Visionary Award

Academy Award winner Director, Screenwriter, and Producer Barry Levinson has crafted an enviable reputation in the film industry as a director who blends literate and intelligent visions into films. Levinson was awarded the 1988 Best Director Oscar for the multiple Academy Award winning Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Levinson has used his hometown as the setting for four widely praised features: Diner, the semi-autobiographical comedy/drama that marked his directorial debut; Tin Men starring Danny DeVito and Richard Dreyfuss as warring aluminum siding salesmen; Avalon, in which his native city takes center stage through the recollections of an immigrant family; and Liberty Heights.

JUSTIN LEVY

Co-producer, Supergirl

Justin Levy is a producer working in documentary and narrative film, currently producing Well Groomed, a feature documentary exploring the world of competitive, creative dog grooming. He is the associate producer of Sacred, a documentary by Academy Award-winning director Thomas Lennon, which will be broadcast on PBS and released theatrically in 2017.

Levy is collaborating with Lennon on a new documentary, Knife Skills, currently in post-production. He worked with director Marshall Curry on his latest film, Point and Shoot, which was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, released theatrically in over 75 cities, and aired on PBS, BBC, and other networks and online platforms worldwide. His narrative work includes Valedictorian (Rotterdam, 2015) and I Used To Be Darker (Sundance and Berlin, 2013). Prior to working in film, he worked as a public radio producer at NPR-affiliate stations for 6 years.

WENDY LOWER

Speaker, A German Life

Dr. Wendy Lower is the Acting Director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She is the author of several studies on the Holocaust, most notably Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields (Houghton, 2013) which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and has been translated into 23 languages. Lower joined the faculty of Claremont McKenna College in 2012 as the John K. Roth Professor of History.

MENASHE LUSTIG

Lead actor, Menashe

Menashe Lustig is the lead actor in Menashe.

DANI MENKIN

Director, On the Map

Dani Menkin is an Ophir-winning (Israeli Academy Award) filmmaker for 39 Pounds of Love. The film, written, produced and directed by him sold to HBO and was short listed for the Oscars. His award winning film, Dolphin Boy was sold to over 20 countries around the globe and was recently bought by Disney for adaptation. Menkin wrote, produced and directed the award winning film Je T’aime I Love you Terminal, and is also a creative partner on the Israeli cult indie film Wisdom of the Pretzel. Menkin is a speaker and film juror at International Festivals around the world as well as a film professor in universities and colleges in Israel and US.

E. ETHELBERT MILLER

Speaker, And When I Die I Won’t Stay Dead

E. Ethelbert Miller is a noted DC poet and activist. He is the founder and former chair of the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. and is the longtime editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. Miller was a Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Fellow to Israel in 2004 and 2012.

The author of several collections of poetry, he has written two memoirs, Fathering Words: The Making of An African American Writer (2000) and The 5th Inning (2009). His poetry anthology In Search of Color Everywhere was awarded the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award in 1994. In 2015, Miller was inducted into the Washington, DC Hall of Fame.

NELL MINOW

Moderator, A Classy Broad

Nell Minow writes about movies, television, the Internet, and parenting and reviews movies each week for Beliefnet and 20 radio stations across the US and Canada, and provides parental advisory notes and occasional reviews of current releases for the Chicago Sun-Times and Kansas City Star.

Her articles have appeared in USA Today, Family Fun, Daughters, Parents, and the Chicago Tribune, and she was Yahoo’s movie critic for six years. The second edition of her book, The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies, was published in 2004. She has been profiled in the New York Times, the Economist, Forbes, the Chicago Tribune, Working Woman, CFO Magazine, the Ladies Home Journal, Washingtonian Magazine, and the Chicago Sun Times, and has appeared as The Movie Mom on CBS This Morning, Fox Morning News, NPR, CNN, and dozens of radio stations.

YARIV MOZER

Director, Ben-Gurion, Epilogue

Yariv Mozer is a prominent Israeli Film Director, Producer and Screenwriter. He graduated with distinction from Tel-Aviv University’s Film and Television Department in 2004. Since then he has directed documentary and feature films, among them are Ben-Gurion, Epilogue, Snails in the Rain, The Invisible Men and My First War. His films have been shown in film festivals throughout the world.

NATALIA NAGY

Speaker, Keep Quiet

Natalia Nagy Gleason is a Hungarian theatre director involved in a diverse spectrum of arts projects. She worked at the London Hungarian Film Showcase (Check the gate) and European Documentary film festival in London and EU shorts festival in Budapest. Recently her primary focus is theatre she co-produced the Future is female festival, directed work of local playwrights John Feffer and Derek Hills for the Capital Fringe Festival, and a plethora of little gems for the One Minute Play Festival at Roundhouse Theatre. She proudly assistant-directed at Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company for John Vreeke’s production of Cherokee and for Howard Shalwitz’s production of the world premiere of Zombie: The American by Robert O’Hara. Currently she preparing for the USA  premier of I Killed My Mother – a play by Andras Visky at Spooky Action Theatre starting Erica Chamblee.

After five years Nara began working in a Project to raise awareness about the topic of sexual violence in Arab schools and then to facilitate groups of women on the same topic. Before joining the staff of Mahapach-Taghir as co-Director, she served as the Manager of the Community Activities unit at Women Against Violence (WAVO) in Nazareth.

FIDA NARA

Speaker, 7th Annual Community Day of Education on Arab Citizens of Israel

Fida Nara  is  the Palestinian co-Director of Mahapach-Taghir. She lives in Nazareth with two daughters Shaam (15) and Samaa (11) and holds a Bachelor of Arts in social work from Tel Hai College and a Masters in Gender Studies from Bar Ilan University.

Nara has been active in the field of women’s empowerment and social change for the last eighteen years, both as a professional and as a volunteer/activist. She became involved in civil society as a volunteer in the Crisis Center of Violence and Sexual Violence in the Arab society.

After five years Nara began working in a Project to raise awareness about the topic of sexual violence in Arab schools and then to facilitate groups of women on the same topic. Before joining the staff of Mahapach-Taghir as co-Director, she served as the Manager of the Community Activities unit at Women Against Violence (WAVO) in Nazareth.

MARCIA NASATIR

Subject, A Classy Broad

Marcia Nasatir began her career in New York’s publishing world, as the lone female literary agent at The Ziegler Agency, where she represented writers like William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), Lorenzo Semple, Three Days of the Condor, Parallax View), and Robert Towne (Chinatown). She went on to work for United Artists, where she became the first female vice-president in charge of production. At UA, Marcia championed films that have become American classics, including: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Rocky, Carrie, Coming Home, Apocalypse Now, and The Black Stallion. Unceremoniously dismissed, she moved on to a career as an independent producer where she continued to fight for films that were difficult to make. She took on The Big Chill, a film that had been turned down by seventeen companies and fought to get it financed. Now 90 years old, Natasir continues producing films. Her latest project is Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

YONATAN NIR

Filmmaker, My Hero Brother

Yonatan Nir is the director of My Hero Brother, Dolphin Boy, and Beyond the Boundaries.

JUD NIRENBERG

Speaker, Fog in August

Jud Nirenberg is author of several books and papers on Roma issues, including Johann Trollmann and Romani Resistance to the Nazis.

A Romani and Jewish American, he is president of the board of the National Roma Center in Macedonia and has served as CEO of the largest federation of Roma organizations; the European Roma and Travellers Forum. He is also the former director of the largest charitable fund for Romani organizations, at George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. Jud is a member of the US Department of State’s Working Group on Roma Issues and has been a lecturer at the Department’s Foreign Service Institute.

IRENE ORLEANSKY

Director, Bal Ej: The Hidden Jews of Ethiopia

Irene Orleansky is a Russian-born Israeli musicologist, producer, and filmmaker.  The CD “Music of Israelites and Jews of Africa and Asia” is the result of Irene Orleansky’s fascinating two-year journey through Africa and Asia. Equipped with a mobile studio, Irene visited nine Israelite and Jewish communities in Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, China, Ethiopia, India and Nigeria, sometimes at distant and dangerous places, to record music with the communities ‘ artists and share their unique culture with the world. Bal Ej: The Hidden Jews Of Ethiopia is Orleansky’s debut film.

KRISTEN PAGE-KIRBY

Moderator, Clueless

Kristen Page-Kirby covers the arts, entertainment and culture for the Washington Post Express. The Reelist, her weekly column on film, highlights and discusses issues in contemporary cinema. Her freelance writing has appeared in Chesapeake Life, Bust and the Washington Post Magazine. She has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered Weekend and has moderated panels at the Middleburg Film Festival and at Awesome Con, one of the East Coast’s largest comic book conventions. Her favorite cracker is the Triscuit.

ROBERT PHILIPSON

Director, Body and Soul: An American Bridge

Robert Philipson backed into filmmaking when he took an Introduction of videography course at Berkeley City College while trying to learn how to operate a camera. Already an experienced writer and college professor (Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin), Robert was blessed with an intuitive sense of form and structure. He quickly mastered the independent filmmaker’s art of seducing others to his projects and turned his multimedia classes to good use. His first film festival entry, Ma Rainey’s Lesbian Licks (2005) played in 20 different film festivals. His subsequent documentary shorts have played in over 70 film festivals and have won an award or four. Body and Soul: An American Bridge is his first feature-length documentary.

LISA RIVO

Speaker, A Letter to Mother

Lisa Rivo is Co-Director of The National Center for Jewish Film, the largest archive of Jewish content film in the world, outside of Israel, and the largest distributor of independent Jewish films. She oversees the Center’s programmatic, distribution and exhibition activities and co-directs NCJF’s annual Boston area film festival.

Prior to joining NCJF in 2006, she was Associate Director & Senior Writer of the African American National Biography, an encyclopedia edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. at Harvard University and published by Oxford University Press.

She has a BA in Art History from Vassar College and received a fellowship to Emory University’s Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts PhD program where she studied visual culture & film. Rivo worked at the Museum of Fine Arts and as Director of Public Information at The Institute of Contemporary Art, both in Boston.

HANNAH SCHWADRON

Producer/Choreographer, Klasse

Hannah Schwadron is an Assistant Professor at Florida State University, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate coursework in dance history, critical theory, and choreography. She is the author of The Case of the Sexy Jewess: Dance, Gender and Jewish Joke-work in US Pop Culture (forthcoming from Oxford University Press), and continues to perform on themes related to Jewishness, gender, and sexuality.

Her interest in Jewish dance studies led her to Hamburg, Germany, where she has explored local family history through live performance with middle school students and the making of the dance film, Klasse (directed by Malia Bruker and orchestrated by Louis Schwadron). She is now collaborating with Afghan immigrants on the experience of contemporary refugeeism in the cityscape today, creating performance on migration histories of Hamburg past and present through partnering improvisation and dance humor.

ANDREA SIMON

Director/Producer, Angel Wagenstein: Art is a Weapon

Andrea Simon is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has explored the interaction between politics, culture and religion in a variety of times and places. Praised as both visually striking and intellectually provocative, her films include many museum commissions (from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, the National Gallery of Art, and The Jewish Museum) as well as the wryly subversive ethnographic chronicle Koriam’s Law (Grand Prize at Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival), PBS arts specials Destination Mozart: A Night At The Opera With Peter Sellars (Grand Prize, Montreal Festival of Films on Art), Tales From The Shadow World, and Talk to Me: Americans in Conversation, her populist film-essay on American identity.  As Senior Producer of  Bloomberg TV’s arts show MUSE, Andrea profiled 110 major artists including Laurie Anderson, Leonard Cohen, Umberto Eco, Philip Glass, Günter Grass, Philip Roth, and Kehinde Wiley.

LINDSEY SITZ

Director, Cowlick

Lindsey Sitz is a scriptwriter based out of Washington, DC.  She works for a number of production companies in the area, with a current focus on narrative animation, interactive video, and commercial spots.  She has always been an anxious person. When she was 10-years-old, she spent what felt like hours re-reading the same page of “Shiloh” over and over and OVER again because she believed that if she just read it one more time, her family would always be safe. In the last decade and a half, she has painfully realized that the universe CANNOT AND WILL NOT be controlled. It is a beautiful, unpredictable, wild mess. Sometimes all we can do is sit back and laugh. Cowlick was inspired by this idea.

MARC SOLOMON

Film subject, The Freedom to Marry

Marc Solomon is a nationally recognized political strategist and campaign leader with nearly 25 years of experience in campaign management, policy development and execution, communications leadership, and field mobilization. For the last 12 years, Solomon has been one of the key architects of the marriage equality movement, having worked as National Campaign Director of Freedom to Marry.  He is presently advising other advocacy movements on strategy as Principal and National Director of Civitas Public Affairs Group.

As national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, Solomon drove the marriage movement’s political strategy while managing a staff of 25 with expertise in communications, field organizing, digital media, messaging, lobbying, public engagement, and general campaign management. Solomon is a regular national media spokesperson, appearing on Meet the Press’ Press Pass and quoted frequently in national publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Politico.

Solomon’s 2014 book Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Public—and Won, is described by U.S. News and World Report as “a playbook for progressive causes,” was named a Best Book of 2014 by Slate which called it “the definitive political history of marriage equality.”

ILAN TROEN

Moderator, Ben-Gurion, Epilogue

Prof. Ilan Troen has served as dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ben-Gurion University in Israel and as director of the Ben-Gurion Research Institute and Archives. Currently he is the Stoll Family Chair in Israel Studies at Brandeis University and founding director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. Prof. Troen has authored or edited numerous books in American, Jewish and Israeli history. He is also the founding editor of Israel Studies (Indiana University Press), the leading journal in this new field and the president of the Association for Israel Studies.

He has lectured widely including Harvard University, Columbia University, Yale University, and the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S.; Torino, Thessaloniki, Osnabrück, Duisburg, Amsterdam and Oxford in Europe; Witswatersrand, Pretoria and Cape Town in South Africa; Sydney and Canberra in Australia; Hong Kong, Peking and Renmin (Beijing) in China; Bilkent and Koc in Turkey.

Born in Boston, educated at the Latin School, Hebrew College and Brandeis before completing his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. Prof. Troen taught at the University of Missouri and Princeton University before making aliyah with his family in 1975, making their permanent home in Omer, a community outside Beer-Sheva.

JOSHUA Z. WEINSTEIN

Filmmaker, Menashe

As a filmmaker and director of photography, Joshua Z. Weinstein brings a gritty realism to his work while infusing it with a sense of humor and pathos. He is inspired by people, and has worked intimately with celebrities like Elaine Stritch to tuberculosis victims in the slums of Delhi.

As a cinematographer his work has shown at international film festivals including Sundance, Berlin, and Tribeca. In the advertising world, his directing has been nominated for a Cannes Lion and in journalism he was awarded a first place POY for multimedia project of the year.

Weinstein directed the feature documentaries Drivers Wanted (PBS) and Flying on One Engine (SXSW). He has also collaborated with the NY Time’s Op-Docs on multiple shorts including Holocaust Survivor Band and Subway Ballet.

BRET WERB

Moderator, Zuzana: Music is Life

Employed in various music-related capacities at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC for the past 20 years, Bret Werb has programmed the museum’s long-running chamber music series, curated its Music of the Holocaust website, and researched and produced a series of recordings of ghetto, camp and partisan songs.  A contributor to The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians, The Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies, and other reference works, Werb holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from UCLA, lectures widely, and has collaborated on film, theater, recording, and concert projects.

RICHARD F. WETZELL

Speaker, Fog in August

Richard F. Wetzell is a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC, and Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University. His research is situated at the intersection of legal history, political history, and the history of science. His publications include Inventing the Criminal: A History of German Criminology, 1880-1945 (2000) and Crime and Criminal Justice in Modern Germany (edited, 2014). A volume on the role of race in the Third Reich, titled Beyond the Racial State: Rethinking Nazi Germany, co-edited with Mark Roseman and Devin Pendas, will be published by Cambridge University Press later this year.

SUSAN WLOSZCZYNA

Moderator, WJFF Visionary Award: Barry Levinson

Susan Wloszczyna spent much of her nearly 30 years at USA TODAY as a senior entertainment reporter doing her dream job: Visiting the New Zealand film set of The Lord of the Rings, being a zombie extra in George Romero’s Land of the Dead and interviewing countless show-biz figures including icons (Vincent Price, Shirley Temple, Peter O’Toole, Mr. Rogers), A-list stars (George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Sandra Bullock, Denzel Washington) and big-name filmmakers (Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Jane Campion, Nancy Meyers, Spike Lee, Wes Anderson and Alexander Payne).

Her positions at the newspaper also included being a film reviewer for twelve years as well as the Life section copy desk chief.

Since 2013, Wloszczyna has been a regular critic and contributor for RogerEbert.com and also writes for AARP The Magazine, the MPAA’s The Credits and reviews books for The Buffalo News. She was previously an Oscar columnist at the Women and Film blog and a regular contributor to Thompson on Hollywood, and is a voting member of the Washington Area Film Critics Association, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

SIMON WYNBERG

Wirter and Narrator, Exit: Music

Simon Wynberg enjoys a diverse career as a guitarist, chamber musician and artistic director. He has programmed chamber-music festivals in Scotland and the Caribbean and was artistic director of Music at Speedside and the Guelph Spring Festival in Canada from 1994 to 2002. His entry in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians describes him as “not only a virtuoso performer of distinction but one of the guitar’s foremost scholars.”

He has edited over 60 volumes of hitherto unknown guitar music and his many recordings (on Chandos, ASV, Hyperion, Narada, Stradivari, Vox and Naxos) have received glowing reviews and awards, including a Penguin CD Guide Rosette, a Gramophone Critics’ Choice, and a Diapason Award.

He has performed at the Newport, Bermuda, Sitka, Ann Arbor, Santa Fé and Ottawa chamber music festivals, as well as at New York’s Bargemusic and throughout Europe. His collaborations with many celebrated artists include the English Chamber Orchestra, the flautist William Bennett, the Gabrieli String Quartet and the violinists Mark Peskanov and Martin Beaver. He is the curator of ARC’s musical projects, including the “Music in Exile” series, and is the Executive Producer of ARC’s recordings.

ANAT ZALMANSON-KUZNETSOV

Director, Operation Wedding

Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov was born in Israel to Sylva Zalmanson and Edward Kuznetsov, leaders of the Dymshits–Kuznetsov hijacking affair. She studied filmmaking at the London Film School and Sapir Collage and has been commercially successful in popular media and promotional productions with companies such as L’oreal and Clinique. She has also directed music videos for well-known Israeli musicians such as Yermi Kaplan and Julietta. It’s been a long-standing ambition for her to tell the story of her parents on film.

SYLVA ZALMANSON

Film subject, Operation Wedding

“If you wouldn’t have denied our basic right to leave the USSR, we would have just fly to Israel, without the need to illegally take a plane. Even here, in the trial stand, I believe that one day I’ll be in Israel,’Next Year in Jerusalem!” Sylva‘s words on the trial reverberated throughout the world and made her the symbole for Soviet Jewry struggle in the early 70’s. She was the one who connected between Operation Wedding group members, the only women on the first Leningrad Trial and the first to talk on the stand.​ Sylva received 10 years in Gulag and after 4 years she was released thanks to a secret prisoner exchange with a Soviet spy caught in Israel.

After her release, at the age of 30 she finally arrived home, in Israel. Sylva continue her struggle for her family and friends who remained in prison, including a 16 days hunger strike in front of the UN.

gabrielle Zilka

GABRIELLE ZILKHA

Director, Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana

Gabrielle Zilkha is an award-winning film director and producer with experience in scripted, documentary, multi-media, and interactive storytelling. Raised in a funny and neurotic family from Montreal, Canada, Gabrielle’s approach to writing and directing combines humor, fearless imagination and insightful commentary about the world we live in. Her career has always married creativity and a healthy dose of social responsibility. With The Spotlight Project (a prodiuction company she co-founded) Zilkha produced, directed and wrote the unique interactive documentary video installation, I Worry, in 2011. Her films and transmedia projects have been screened and exhibited around the globe and covered by media outlets such as CBC Radio, The Globe and Mail, Canadian Jewish News, and Indiewire. Most recently, her short film Stop Calling Me Honey Bunny was shortlisted for the Iris Prize, the world’s most prestigious LGBT short film award and has gone on to win audience and jury awards around the globe. When she’s not making films about Jews, bunnies or anxiety, Gabrielle channels her passion for storytelling into her work with POV 3rd Street, an organization dedicated to helping youth who face barriers to employment break into the media industry.

REEM ZOABI ABU ISHAK

Speaker, 7th Annual Community Day of Education on Arab Citizens of Israel

Reem Zoabi Abu Ishak is the director of Nazareth’s Riyan Employment Center – one of 21 employment centers established in Arab society through Al Fanar, via a strategic collaboration between the Israeli government, JDC-Tevet and Yad Hanadiv Rothschild Foundation.

Between 2012 and 2014, she worked at Al Tufula Center in Nazareth as the coordinator for “Atida,” an initiative for integrating Arab women into the labor market, in cooperation with JDC-TEVET, which was a pilot” model of the Riyan Employment centers.

From 2010 to 2012, Reem coordinated community projects as well as a project titled “women for a fair budget” in Kayan, a feminist Arab organization in Haifa.

Reem worked as a social worker and then as Deputy Director at “Alhanan House,” a boarding school for girls at risk in I’iblin and then in “Duroob,” an institute in Yarka developing services for Arab youth at risk.

Reem has first and second degrees in Social Work from Haifa University, specializing first in children and then in Organization and Administration. She also participated in Haifa University’s yearlong program on women and gender issues.

MARIA ZREIK

Actor, Between Worlds

Maria Zreik is a Palestinian actress from Haifa. She began acting at the age of 11 and at 17 she got her first major role, young Jawda, on Channel 4 series The Promise. Three years later she landed the lead role in Suha Arraf’s feature film Villa Touma for which she got international recognition and a Best actress award at the MedFilmFestival (MFF) in Italy. In 2015, she was cast as sister Marie in Basil khalil’s Oscar nominated short Ave Maria.

Zreik will also be seen in the title role of Abdullah Bamajboor’s short film Maryam, as well as Hajar Alnaim’s short film Detained. Zreik received her Law degree in 2015.