Visiting Filmmakers & Special Guests

JudyAnn Bigby, M.D.
May 9 An Act of Defiance
Dr. Bigby, Executive Director of South Africa Parners, is a nationally recognized health policy expert who brings over 30 years’ experience in health care delivery systems reforms, community health program implementation and evaluation, and strategies to achieve health equity. She has been involved with South Africa Partners as a member of the board of advisors and the board of directors for over 15 years. Appointed by Governor Deval Patrick, Judy served as Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 2007 to 2012. Prior to her appointment as Secretary, Dr. Bigby served as the Director of Community Health Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Her focus has been on improving population health and addressing disparities in health with a focus on low-income and minority women. In 2011, President Obama appointed her as one of the inaugural members of the advisory group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health of the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council. Dr. Bigby holds a B.A. from Wellesley College and a M.D. from Harvard Medical School.

Stephen Clingman
May 11 An Act of Defiance
Stephen Clingman is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His book, Bram Fischer: Afrikaner Revolutionary, a biography of the lawyer and political figure who led Nelson Mandela’s defense at the Rivonia Trial, won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award, South Africa’s premier prize for non-fiction. Other books include The Novels of Nadine Gordimer: History from the Inside and an edited collection of essays by Gordimer, The Essential Gesture: Writing, Politics and Places, translated into a number of languages. Stephen has written articles for a range of journals internationally, as well as reviews for the Boston Globe and New York Times, and has held a number of fellowships both in South Africa and the USA. His most recent books are The Grammar of Identity: Transnational Fiction and the Nature of the Boundary, and Birthmark, a memoir of growing up in South Africa.

Thomas Doherty
May 8 None Shall Escape
Thomas Doherty, professor of American studies at Brandeis University since 1990, is a cultural historian with a special interest in Hollywood cinema who has also taught and lectured overseas as a Fulbright scholar. In 2005, he received recognition as an Academy Film Scholar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Doherty is the author of several highly regarded books, including Teenagers and Teenpics: The Juvenilization of American Movies in the 1950s;Projections of War: Hollywood, American Culture and World War II; Pre-Code Hollywood: Sex, Immorality and Insurrection in American Cinema, 1930-1934; Cold War, Cool Medium: Television, McCarthyism and American Culture; and Hollywood’s Censor: Joseph I. Breen and the Production Code Administration, and Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939 (2013). Screening of this fascinating film celebrates the publication of Doherty’s new book Show Trial: Hollywood, HUAC & the Birth of the Blacklist.

Mitalene Fletcher
May 11 An Act of Defiance
Mitalene Fletcher is the director of PreK-12 & International Programs, Professional Education, at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Originally from Canada, she began her career as a secondary school teacher in Toronto. At New York University she earned her M.A. in Educational Theatre and Ph.D. in International Development and Education. Mitalene’s interests include teacher development in South Africa, the development of higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa and the internationalization of higher education. She is a certified mediator. Mitalene joined South Africa Partners’ Board of Directors in 2010.

Seth Kramer
May 13 Heading Home
Co-Director, Heading Home, Seth Kramer is a three-time Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker and cofounder of Ironbound Films. His most recent film Heading Home: The Tale Of Team Israel takes a front-row, pumpkin-carriage seat for Team Israel’s Cinderella run at the World Baseball Classic. Seth studied filmmaking at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He lives in Red Hook, New York, with his wife Kristen and their daughter Lillian.

Judy Kreith
May 9 Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels
Co-Director of Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels, Judy Kreith is a professional dance educator and choreographer. She received her MA from Stanford University. Her mother, Marion Finkels Kreith, is the key inspiration for this film. Judy’s study of Cuban dance brought her to Cuba where she began researching and working with local historians to document the history of Jews in Cuba and most particularly the experience of Jewish refugees and the diamond polishing industry that flourished in Havana during WWII. Judy lectured widely on the topic of Jewish refugees to Cuba, including most recently at a conference at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. 

Helmut Landes
May 10 The Invisibles
Helmut Landes is currently Deputy Consul General for the New England States at the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Boston. Helmut Landes joined the German Foreign Service in 1976. Besides various assignments at the Foreign Office in Berlin, his previous overseas postings have been at the German Embassies in Guatemala, Turkey, Algeria, Spain and Pakistan. Before his assignment to the U. S. he was in charge of coordinating Germany´s reconstruction program in Afghanistan. During his career he has also been involved in national and international security policy initiatives.

Karin Oehlenschlaeger
May 6 The Invisibles
Karin Oehlenschläger is a cultural program curator at the Goethe-Institut Boston and has been curating the German Film Series at the Coolidge for eleven years. She’s been with the Goethe-Institut since 2005 and is responsible for film, literature and political programs. She holds an MA in German Literature and Communications from Johannes-Gutenberg University, Mainz.

Lisa Rivo
May 6 The Dybbuk
Lisa Rivo is Co-Director of The National Center for Jewish Film. Founded in 1976, NCJF owns the world’s largest archive of Jewish-content film, outside of Israel. The Center, which rescues, restores and makes available rare archival films, also distributes the work of 100 contemporary filmmakers, and responds to 7000 program inquiries each year. Ms. Rivo oversees the Center’s programmatic, distribution, curatorial and exhibition activities. Ms. Rivo has co-directed and co-curated 13 annual Boston-area film festivals and has curated many other series worldwide. Ms. Rivo consults regularly with filmmakers and has sat on several film festival juries. She has a degree in Art History from Vassar College and focused on American visual culture and film at Emory University’s Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts PhD program. Ms. Rivo worked in the film program of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and as Director of Public Information at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston. Prior to joining NCJF in 2006, she was at Harvard University as Associate Director & Senior Writer of the African American National Biography, an encyclopedia edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Sharon Pucker Rivo
May 6 The Dybbuk
Sharon Pucker Rivo, Executive Director and Co-Founder of The National Center for Jewish Film, has been a leading force in the field of Jewish film and culture for more than three decades through her work as a curator, programmer, archivist, film distributor, film and television producer, and academic. In the mid-1970s she and co-founder Miriam Krant rescued a languishing collection of Yiddish-language feature films. Today, NCJF is the largest archive of Jewish film outside of Israel, and the largest film distributor of restored classic and new independent Jewish-content films. Ms. Rivo was an early advocate for the inclusion of film in the study of history and culture and for the historically accurate use of visual materials. She has worked with hundreds of filmmakers around the world as a consultant and has appeared as an expert in many documentaries and television programs. She has curated film programs for venues from Boston to Beijing, including co-curating the first ever retrospective of Yiddish cinema, held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Ms. Rivo has been a member of Brandeis University faculty for more than twenty years and she lectures widely on the history of Jews in cinema, a field she helped pioneer. Internationally recognized as an authority on Jewish and Yiddish film, film archiving and restoration, and Jewish programming and distribution, she lectures and has served on numerous film festival juries.

James S. Snyder
May 3 The Museum
During his tenure as Director of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem from 1997-2017, James S. Snyder oversaw dramatic expansion and growth of the Museum, including undertaking an ambitious series of important loan exhibitions in Jerusalem and traveling exhibitions worldwide; expanding its encyclopedic holdings across all of its collecting areas; and developing its International Friends network to include 16 countries worldwide. During his tenure, annual Museum attendance increased to nearly one million visitors, from 400,000 ten years ago; and the Museum’s endowment grew more than fivefold to $200 million. Snyder also spearheaded architectural upgrades to the Museum, culminating, in 2010, in a $100-million expansion. Prior to his appointment at the Israel Museum, Snyder held a number of positions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and served as Deputy Director from 1986 to 1996. Snyder is a graduate of Harvard University and a Loeb Fellow of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and he holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hebrew Union College. Mr. Snyder is currently International President and Director Emeritus of the Israel Museum.

Ran Tal
May 3 The Museum
Director of The Museum, Ran Tal, born in 1963, graduated the Tel Aviv University Department of Film in 1994. Tal is an independent director whose documentaries focus on Israeli reality through an historic social perspective. Tal’s main focus is on documentary films, in addition to which he directs diverse television projects and is editor of artistic social endeavors.Tal is the recipient of the Ophir Prize, the Jerusalem Film Festival Volgin Award, the DocAviv Film Festival Award, the Forum for the Preservation of Audio Visual award and the Documentary Forum award. Tal also won the Ministry of Culture Cinema Art prize and the Mifal Hapayis Landau Award for Stage Art. He teaches cinema at the Film Departments at Sapir College and Tel Aviv University. He is the founder and editor of Takriv (Close Up), an online magazine for about documentary film (with Anat Even) and one of the founders of the Keshet Broadcasting and the project Mifal HaPayis (Looking Forward). Tal’s films include Skin Deep with Etgar Keret, 67 Ben Tzvi Road, My Dream House, Born Again, Gitai in Search of the Carmel, The Garden of Eden, and Children of the Sun (NCJF ’08).

Robin Truesdale
May 9 Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels
Co-Director of Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels, Robin Truesdale is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and the founder of Two Hands Films. Her film A Beautiful Equation: Einstein, Bohr and Grandmothers won Best International Film at the Sunrise Film Festival and the Platinum Remi Award at Houston Worldfest. Her earlier film Conviction won the Must See Award Telluride at Mountainfilm and the People’s Choice at the Frozen River Film Festival. Robin, who has an MS in journalism from the University of Colorado, began her career as a news editor for a Denver television station. Her work deals primarily with social justice, cultural, and humanitarian issues.

Dalia Wassner
May 9 Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels
Dalia Wassner is a Research Associate and the director of the Project in Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute of Brandeis University. Dr. Wassner holds a Ph.D. in History from Northeastern University, an M.Phil. in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York, and M.A.’s in History and Latin American Studies from Stanford University. Dr. Wassner has taught Latin American Jewish History at Brandeis. She has also developed courses in Women’s Studies, Latin American Studies, and Jewish Studies, most recently at Brandeis University, Emerson College, and Boston University. She writes on feminist cultural responses to violence in a trans-Atlantic frame, collective memory and memory politics, and cultural connections between Jews and other minorities involved in Latin American processes of national democratization.

Betsy West
May 2 RBG
Co-Director of RBG, Betsy West is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist and educator. She was executive producer of the Makers documentary (AOL & PBS, 2012), the feature documentary The Lavender Scare (2017) and the short doc 4%: Film’s Gender Problem (2016). She is a principal at Storyville Films where she co-produced Constantine’s Sword (2007). A producer and executive for over two decades at ABC News, West received 21 Emmy Awards and two duPont-Columbia Awards for her work on “Nightline” and “PrimeTimeLive” and the documentary program ”Turning Point,” where she served as executive producer. As senior vice president at CBS News from 1998-2005, she oversaw “60 Minutes” and “48 Hours,” and was executive in charge of the CBS documentary 9/11, winner of the Primetime Emmy Award in 2002. A graduate of Brown University, West holds a Master’s in Communications from Syracuse University. In 2007, she joined the faculty at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she is the Fred W. Friendly Professor of Professional Practice in Media and Society.

Yehuda Yaakov
May 3 The Museum
Yehuda Yaakov, Consul General of Israel to New England since February 2014, has focused largely on strengthening business, academic and social justice partnerships between Israel and New England. Consul General Yaakov has spent most of his diplomatic career on issues pertinent to Israel’s security. This experience has included heading the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s department for non-conventional weapons prevention (2004-2007), as well as establishing and running the homeland security and counter-terrorism unit (2001-2004). In 2012, he received the Ministry’s award for excellence for his work on the Iranian crisis. He has also served outside Israel in New York and New Zealand. Yaakov grew up in Queens, NY, and moved to Israel in 1983, after earning a BA from Syracuse University.

Matan Zamir
May 5  The Cakemaker
Matan Zamir, Israel’s Deputy Consul General to New England, has been a member of Israel’s Foreign Service since 2011, previously serving as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli Consulate in Mumbai. He served in the IDF from 1999-2003 and was released as a lieutenant. During his service he trained over 1,000 cadets, and in 2003, he received the President’s medal of excellence. Before joining the Foreign Service, Zamir was an International Business Manager at Bezeq International and the Director of the Training Department of the Israeli Supreme Court. He received his law degree from Hebrew University. Zamir grew up in Jerusalem where his family has lived for nine generations.

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