Robert Brustein is a veteran of World War II, a former Professor of English at Harvard University, former drama critic for The New Republic and former Dean of the Yale Drama School. He is now a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Suffolk University. He was the founding director of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theatre and served for 20 years as Artistic Director during which time he founded the ART Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard. Having retired from that post in 2002, he now serves as Founding Director. He is the author of eighteen books (including The Theatre of Revolt), twelve adaptations (Including the Klezmer musical Shlemiel The First), and eight plays (including a trilogy about Shakespeare). He is presently working on a new Klezmer musical with Hankus Netsky called King of the Schnorrers. His latest book is Rants and Raves: Opinions, Tributes, and Elegies; and his most recent play is The Last Will. He has been inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, and was awarded the 2010 Medal of Arts by President Obama at the White House.
May 4 Natan
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. His most recent book is, from Columbia University Press. In October 2013, NCJF mounted a special event in honor of the publication of Doherty's most recent book, Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939 (2013).
Leonard Fein founded MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger in 1985 on the heels of the Ethiopian famine. He has served on the board since its founding. Leonard is a prolific teacher and writer is the author of books, Where Are We? The Inner Life of America’s Jews and Israel: Politics and People.
In 1974, Leonard founded Moment magazine, serving as editor and publisher until 1987. Most recently, he founded the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy, a project for mobilizing the American Jewish community to provide 100,000 volunteer tutors for the Read America program.
Leonard taught Political Science at MIT and Brandeis University, where he was a Professor of Politics and Social Policy as well as Contemporary Jewish Studies. He has authored many books, hundreds of articles and essays, received numerous awards, and served on as a board member of some 40 organizations. Leonard travels around the country and world, giving lectures and consulting with many organizations. Leonard is a syndicated columnists for the Jewish Daily Forward and The Jewish Advocate.
Sylvia Barack Fishman, Chair of the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Department at Brandeis University, is the Joseph and Esther Foster Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life; and also co-director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. Professor Fishman is the author of seven books and numerous articles on the interplay of American and Jewish values, the impact of Jewish education, gender transformations, Jewish families and intermarriage, contemporary Jewish literature and film, and young American Jewish leaders, artists, and entrepreneurs and their attitudes toward Israel and Jewish peoplehood. She is currently working on a book entitled "Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of the Gender Revolution."
Producer Michael Fitzgerald was born in New York City, raised in Italy and educated in Ireland. After graduating from Harvard University he began his film career as a screenwriter in Rome. In 1979, he produced and co-wrote John Huston’s celebrated film adaptation of Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood. His second film with Huston, Under the Volcano was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Actor—Albert Finney and Best Music—Alex North). He then produced The Penitent, starring Raul Julia, Mister Johnson with Academy Award-winning director Bruce Beresford and Blue Danube Waltz with the world-renowned Hungarian director Miklós Jancsó. A producing partnership with actor/director Sean Penn culminated in their critically acclaimed production of The Pledge, starring Jack Nicholson.
In 2005 he completed both Colour Me Kubrick, starring John Malkovich, about a con-man who impersonates director Stanley Kubrick, and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones. For its realization of life, death and redemption along the Texas-Mexico border, The Three Burials won the Actor prize for Tommy Lee Jones and the Screenplay prize for Guillermo Arriaga at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. In 2008 he produced In the Electric Mist, directed by Bertrand Tavernier. In September 2013 he completed principal photography on Closer To The Moon, written and directed by Nae Caranfil.
The Homesman, directed by Tommy Lee Jones and starring Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank and Meryl Streep, completed Principal Photography in May 2013 and has been accepted in competition at the Cannes Film festival 2014. An adaptation of J.M.Coetzee’s Waiting For The Barbarians is slated for production in 2014.
Michael Fitzgerald is a member of the Board Of Governors of the Telluride Film Festival, The Board Of Advisers of The Harvard Film Archive, and has served as a Trustee of The Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation. He is a member of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences.
He has served on many Film Festival Juries around the world, including Mexico City, Morelia, Buenos Aires, Torino, Thessaloniki, Cluj and Abu Dhabi. He chaired the Jury in Astana in 2008.
Tracie Holder, Co-Producer/Director/Writer: Joe Papp in Five Acts is the fruit of Tracie Holder’s personal passion for the subject. Holder, a Brooklyn native, got to know Joe Papp through her work in electoral politics —though she’d been an admirer ever since she began going to Shakespeare in the Park at age 16. They met when Holder asked Papp to participate in a benefit reading of dramatic works written by women about women. Papp wanted to play Portia, from The Merchant of Venice. Holder noted that Shakespeare was many things but not a woman, and therefore didn’t fit the bill. Initially Papp was indignant but then Holder proposed a play about Emma Goldman. To everyone’s delight—especially his own—Papp became Emma Goldman for a night. It was, by all accounts, a memorable performance. It was then that she first thought of making a film about this street-wise champion of the arts.
Joe Papp in Five Acts premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012 and has gone on to play at more than forty film festivals in the U.S. and abroad. It will air nationally on PBS/American Masters in 2015.
Holder is a filmmaker, fundraiser, engagement specialist for social issue documentaries and consultant to Women Make Movies. She is a former board member of NY Women in Film & TV and Manhattan Neighborhood Network; grant panelist for national and local funders; a guest lecturer for film organizations and universities; and consultant on numerous documentary projects. Currently, she is producing Mudflow, by two-time Academy Award nominee Cynthia Wade, and directing The People's Will, about Shakespeare in America. Holder has raised more than $1.6 million for documentary projects from government funders, private foundations and individuals.
Dr. Marilyn Plotkins has been directing, producing, and facilitating professional and student productions at Suffolk University for thirty years where she is a tenured professor and chair of the Theatre Department. She has championed new work both inside the department and as founding director for the Boston Music Theatre Project (BMTP) making a specialty of developing new musicals. In 2008, she led the renovation of the Modern Theatre which became the recipient of a National Trust for Historic Preservation Award. As artistic director of the Modern Theatre she has nurtured programmatic relationships with cultural institutions. Most recently, she led the collaboration with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company to co-produce the world premiere of Robert Brustein’s The Last Will, the third in a trilogy of plays about Shakespeare’s life and work which were all premiered by Suffolk University. Dr. Plotkins has served on the New Works and Festival panels for the National Alliance for Music Theatre, the Performance Review Panel at Radcliffe College’s Bunting Institute and is the author of The American Repertory Theatre: The Brustein Years published by Praeger Press.
Shulamit Reinharz was born in Amsterdam, grew up in New Jersey, received her B.A. from Barnard College and her Ph.D. from Brandeis University. She was on the psychology faculty of the University of Michigan for 10 years, and then returned to Brandeis as a professor of sociology.
In the 1990s Reinharz directed the Women's Studies Program at Brandeis University. Among many other innovations, she created its multi-faceted graduate program, including the first graduate program in Jewish Women's Studies in the world. She also initiated the Student-Scholar Partnership Program and the course on the Prevention of Violence against Women and Children, and created the National Board for Women's Studies.
Reinharz chaired Hadassah's National Commission on American Jewish Women in 1993. Subsequently, in 1997, she established the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, which she heads to this day.
The holder of the Jacob Potofsky Chair of Sociology, Reinharz is the author or co-author of 10 books including: "The JGirls' Guide" ( a finalist for the Koret Prize), the highly praised "American Jewish Women and the Zionist Enterprise", "Observing the Observer: Understanding Our Selves in Field Research" and most recent titles "Today I am a Woman: Stories of Bat Mitzvah around the World" (edited with Barbara Vinick, Indiana University Press) and "One Hundred Years of Kibbutz Life: A Century of Crises and Reinvention" (edited with Michal Palgi, Transaction Books), among others. Shulamit Reinharz is the mother of two daughters and is married to Jehuda Reinharz, former president of Brandeis University.
Co-Director of the National Center for Jewish Film, 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. In addition to directing eight annual film festivals, she has curated many other festivals and series, sat on grant review panels, and written university textbooks.
Sharon Pucker Rivo
May 11 Mamele
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. 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. 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 has been an invited lecturer at hundreds of venues and has served on numerous film festival juries.
Laura Silver is an award-winning journalist whose writing on food and culture has appeared in the New York Times, the Jewish Forward and on NPR. She has been a writer in residence at the Millay Colony, the Banff Centre, and the New York Public Library and is considered the world’s leading expert on the knish. She is author of Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food (HBI Series on Jewish Women, Brandeis University Press)
Award-winning writer/filmmaker Karen Thorsen finds inspiration at the intersection of art and social justice. A Vassar graduate, she was an editor for Simon & Schuster, a journalist for Life and a foreign correspondent for Time. Joe Papp in Five Acts (made with Co-Producer/Director Tracie Holder) is Thorsen’s second co-production with PBS/American Masters. Her first was the feature-length documentary, James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket.
A Child of the Ghetto screening May 3 & May 11 preceding The Sturgeon Queens
Jewishfilm.2014 includes the premiere of a new digital restoration of A Child of the Ghetto as well as the premiere of a new musical score by Swedish musicians Alexander Freudenthal & Hans Nyman recorded in Stockholm.
Emma Lindhamre – cello
Alexander Freudenthal – bass clarinet & clarinet in Bb
Hans Nyman – baritone guitar & zither
Pär Jaktelius – percussion
Recorded, mixed and mastered for CD by Stefan Levin, June 2012
More about Alexander Freudenthal: