Visiting Filmmakers & Guest Speakers

Simona Di Nepi
May 16 From Cairo to the Cloud
Simona Di Nepi is the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Curator of Judaica at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  Originally from Rome, Simona has studied and worked in London and Tel Aviv for 25 years. She has filled curatorial roles—in both decorative arts and Old Masters—at the Victoria and Albert Museum, The National Gallery, and the Royal Academy of Arts in London, where she cared for permanent collections and planned exhibitions. In Israel she worked as curator at Beit Hatfutsot: the Museum of the Jewish People and as a lecturer in Italian Renaissance art at IDC HerzelyiaHer wide range of experience is reflected in her two exhibitions: Reunions: Bringing Early Italians Paintings Back Together at the National Gallery in London and Dreyfus: The Story of a French-Jewish Family at the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv.

Thomas Doherty
May 7 Mortal Storm
May 15 Carl Laemmle
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; Hollywood’s Censor: Joseph I. Breen and the Production Code Administration, and Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939. His most recent book, Show Trial: Hollywood, HUAC & the Birth of the Blacklist, was published last year. Read more about Thomas Doherty.

Jorge Gurvich
May 12 Back to Maracana
Jorge Gurvich is the director and co-writer of Back to Maracana.
He was born in Argentina in 1957. He emigrated to Israel in 1978 and studied in the Department of Cinema and Television at Tel Aviv University from 1979-1983. He is the producer-director of numerous fiction short films and television dramas, including the award winning films
The Shower and Pesya’s Necklace. He is a renowned and sought-after cinematographer, serving as director of photography on 80 feature films, documentaries, and shorts. Gurvich has taught cinematography at Tel Aviv University, Sam Spiegel Film School, Maale School of Film and Television, Beit Berl College, and Sapir University. He has been awarded the Ministry of Education Special Prize for directors and screenwriters, and the Golden Lens prize for best cinematography three times. He has co-written several feature films scripts. Gurvich’s feature film directorial debut was Mrs. Moscowitz and the Cats (2011). The National Center for Jewish Film distributes three of Mr. Gurvich’s films: The Shower, So We Said Goodbye, and Next Year in Argentina.

Peter Kenneth Jones
May 19 Henri Dauman: Looking Up
Peter Kenneth Jones is the director of Henri Dauman: Looking Up
Peter Kenneth Jones is a Writer & Director originally from Chicago, Illinois. Beginning his career with National Geographic, Peter soon found himself working on studio features. Drawn to the directness and simplicity of documentary storytelling, Peter was thrilled when his directorial debut, Henri Dauman: Looking Up, brought him back to his documentary roots. 

Aviva Kempner
May 19 The Spy Behind Home Plate
Aviva Kempner is the writer-director-producer of The Spy Behind Home Plate.
Award-winning filmmaker Aviva Kempner has been making independent films since 1979. Ms. Kempner’s mother Helen Ciesla was a Holocaust survivor, and her father Harold Kempner was a US Army officer. Ms. Kempner was born in Berlin, Germany, after World War II. Her family history inspired her to produce her first documentary,
Partisans of Vilna (1986), focusing on a gripping story of Jewish resistance to the Nazis. Kempner is the writer-director-producer of The Life and Times of Hank GreenbergYoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, and most recently Rosenwald. Kempner is the founder and executive director of The Ciesla Foundation, a non-profit organization that produces documentaries. She writes regularly for The Wrap and has written pieces for The Boston Globe, Moment, The Forward, The Washington Post, and Washington Jewish Week. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the DC Mayor’s Art Award, WIFV Women of Vision Award, and a Media Arts Award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. She is the founder of the Washington Jewish Film Festival in Washington, DC, where she resides. In addition to making films, Kempner is an activist for DC voting rights and continues to lecture about cinema and write film criticism. Read more about Aviva Kempner.

Helmut Landes
May 9 The Tobacconist
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. 

Edward J. Markey
May 19 The Spy Behind Home Plate
United States Senator for Massachusetts Edward J. Markey, a consumer champion and national leader on energy, environmental protection and telecommunications policy, has a prolific legislative record on major issues across the policy spectrum and a deep commitment to improving the lives of the people of Massachusetts and our country. While serving for 37 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senator Markey fought for his constituents throughout his Congressional District. When he was Dean of the Massachusetts delegation in the House, he worked to harness the energy and influence of his colleagues on behalf of the entire Commonwealth. Elected to the Senate in a special election in June 2013, Senator Markey is bringing his experience, energy and expertise to fight for all the people of Massachusetts. Senator Markey was born in Malden, Massachusetts in 1946. He attended Boston College (B.A., 1968) and Boston College Law School (J.D., 1972). He served in the U.S. Army Reserve and was elected to the Massachusetts State House where he served two terms representing Malden and Melrose. He is married to Dr. Susan Blumenthal. Read more about Senator Markey

Karin Oehlenschlaeger
May 19 The Tobacconist
Karin Oehlenschläger is a cultural program curator at the Goethe-Institut Boston and has been curating the German Film Series at the Coolidge for twelve 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.

Michelle Paymar
May 16 From Cairo to the Cloud
Michelle Paymar is the director-producer of From Cairo to the Cloud.
Michelle Paymar is an award-winning filmmaker currently based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her films include the pioneering AIDS documentary For Our Lives, and Sippie about blues artist Sippie Wallace (co-directed with Roberta Grossman). Her independent works have screened at festivals around the world. She has extensive credits as a director and writer of documentary and non-fiction television programs for NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, CBC, MTV, CTV, Travel, Discovery, History, and other major broadcasters. Her production company D-Facto Filmstudio makes independent documentaries and promotional films for nonprofits and NGOs, including Amnesty International, Alzheimers Services of the East Bay, and the Ayubowan Womens Project. She received a MFA in Film Directing from the American Film Institute and a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. Paymar is a member of the International Documentary Association and Women in Film.

Lisa Rivo
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 thousands of inquiries each year. Ms. Rivo oversees the Center’s programmatic, distribution, curatorial and exhibition activities. Ms. Rivo has co-directed and co-curated 14 annual Boston-area film festivals and has curated other series worldwide. Ms. Rivo consults regularly with filmmakers and has sat on several international 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
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 four 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 a major 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-five 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 international film festival juries.

Joshua Rubenstein
May 15 Sobibor
Joshua Rubenstein has been professionally involved with human rights and international affairs for over forty years as an activist and independent scholar with particular expertise in Russian affairs. Mr. Rubenstein is a longtime Associate at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. He is the author and editor of several major works on Soviet and Soviet Jewish history, including biographies of Leon Trotsky and of the writer Ilya Ehrenburg. He has also written about the history of the Soviet human rights movement and about the Holocaust in German-occupied Soviet territory. Joshua Rubenstein was on the staff of Amnesty International USA from 1975 to 2012, serving as an organizer and Northeast Regional Director. He is now Associate Director for Major Gifts at Harvard Law School. Read more about Mr. Rubenstein. 

Dan Shadur 
May 16 King Bibi
Dan Shadur is the director-writer of King Bibi.
Dan Shadur is an Israeli filmmaker and writer, and is a graduate of Tel Aviv University’s Film & Television School. His debut documentary Before The Revolution, which NCJF screened at its 2014 festival, was broadcast in eleven different countries and was the first Israeli film to be broadcast in Iran. Shadur has also directed short films, music videos and commercials. His articles and stories have been featured in Israel’s leading newspapers including Haaretz, Calcalist, Globes and Maariv.

David Starr 
May 18 From Cairo to the Cloud
David Starr, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of Tzion, a Program for Israel Literacy, and a Research Associate of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry at Brandeis University. He previously served as Scholar in Residence for Israel Education & Programs at Gann Academy, the pluralistic Jewish high school in greater Boston. He was the founding Dean of Me’ah and Vice President at Hebrew College, and teaches on the faculty of the Wexner Heritage Program. He lectures on topics related to history and religion. David is currently writing a biography of Solomon Schechter and a study of Me’ah and its impact on adults and community.  He holds a doctorate in history and Jewish studies from Columbia and rabbinic ordination from JTS. 

Nicole Suerez
May 19 Henri Dauman: Looking Up
Nicole Suerez is the producer of Henri Dauman: Looking Up

Nicole Suerez is a Costume Designer for feature films and television by trade, but after being presented with the opportunity to produce a documentary about Henri Dauman’s life and work she jumped at the opportunity. Having grown up and experienced Henri’s passion for life and art first hand, there is nothing more important to her than sharing Henri’s story. Ms. Suerez is Mr. Dauman’s granddaughter.

Sabine von Mering 
May 12 The Light of Hope
Sabine von Mering is Professor of German and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, affiliated faculty with the Environmental Studies Program. She is the Director of the Center for German and European Studies (CGES) at Brandeis University where she regularly hosts Jewish-German Dialogue events. Her co-edited volumes include Russian-Jewish Emigration after the Cold War: Perspectives from Germany, Israel, Canada, and the United States (2006), and Right-Wing Radicalism Today: Perspectives from Europe and the US (2013). Read more about Sabine von Mering.

Dalia Wassner
May 9 Leona
Dalia Wassner, Ph.D. is the Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Project on Latin American Jewish & Gender Studies (LAJGS) at Brandeis University. LAJGS is committed to the study and exploration of Jewish life and gender in Latin America and among Latin American Jews worldwide. 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 in Latin American Studies from Stanford University. She teaches Jews of Latin America at Brandeis University and has developed courses in Women’s Studies, Latin American & Latino Studies, and Jewish Studies for Brandeis and other Boston area universities and for Me’ah Select at Hebrew College.