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SJFF 2017 Guests

Alon Aboutboul 130pxAlon Aboutboul

Born in Israel to an Egyptian and Algerian Jewish family, actor Alon Aboutboul is best known for playing Mohsen in SEPTEMBERS OF SHIRAZ (2015), Dr. Pavel in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012), Aamir Barkawi in LONDON HAS FALLEN (2016) and Al-Saleem in BODY OF LIES (2008). He has appeared in many Seattle Jewish film Festival Israeli films, including THE BELLY DANCER (2006), OUT OF THE BLUE (2008), and Academy Award-nominated BEAUFORT (2007). He stars in HARMONIA, a modern telling of the mythological triangle between childless Abraham (played by Aboutboul), Sarah and young Hagar. 

Auritt headshotJessie Auritt

Jessie Auritt is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in New York City. Her short film, THE BIRDMAN (2012), screened at festivals around the country and received multiple awards, including the Slamdance Grand Jury Prize for Short Documentary in 2013. In addition to independent filmmaking, she has shot, edited, directed, and produced videos for UNICEF,, the New York Daily News, and many other companies and nonprofit organizations. Jessie is an alumnus of the IFP Documentary Lab and a member of the women's filmmaker group, Film Fatales. SUPERGIRL is Jessie's debut as a feature film director.

Erik Dugger

Erik Dugger

Erik is editor of SUPERGIRL. He has worked on a number of feature-length documentaries including LITTLE WHITE LIE (2014), in which a young Jewish woman raised in an all-white community confronts her family & her own identity after discovering she is actually black at age eighteen. Erik's work has been featured on the Sundance Channel, the Discovery Channel, A&E Biography, as well as PBS's Independent Lens and POV series.

Warren EtheredgeWarren Etheredge

Warren is well known in the film community as the host of KCTS 9's Reel NW and the Emmy®-nominated program The High Bar and has conducted over 3,000 interviews in his professional career. Warren is a producer, educator, author, playwright and one of the founding faculty members of TheFilmSchool and The Red Badge Project.


James Felak

James Felak is a professor of Eastern and modern Europe at University of Washington. His research focus is in the intersection of religion, politics, and nationalism. 

Fetters SaraMichelleSara Michelle Fetters

Sara Michelle Fetters is the editor-in-chief of, the lead film critic for the Seattle Gay News and a founding member and co-host of the popular Cinema Squabble podcast. She's been writing about film professionally since she was 14, getting her start at the Spokesman Review while still in high school. She also eats a lot of tacos.

BHeymann Headshot

Barak Heymann

Brothers Barak and Tomer Heymann have collaborated on nearly 20 documentary projects, and are regarded to be among Israel's top filmmakers. Barak is Co-Director of WHO'S GONNA LOVE ME NOW.


KlezKatz HeadshotKlez Katz! Klezmer Band

The Klez Katz are dedicated to the preservation and encouragement of the rich musical heritage of the Yiddish diaspora. Their repertoire encompasses freilach, bulgar, sher, terkishe, khosidl, theater music, folk songs and even the odd klezmer-influenced jazz tune. The Klez Katz have been featured at numerous events, including City Hall Concerts, The Wallingford Wurst Festival, Northwest Folklife, and The Tilth Harvest Fair.

Menkin headshotDani Menkin

Dani Menkin's films include documentaries 39 POUNDS OF LOVE (SJFF 2006 Audience Choice Award Winner for Best Doc) and DOLPHIN BOY (SJFF 2012) and the delightful narrative feature IS THAT YOU? His current projects include a documentary about wildlife photographer Amos Nachoum and a biopic about basketball star Aulcie Perry (who plays a prominent role in ON THE MAP).

Devin-Naar-v2Devin Naar

Dr. Devin E. Naar is the Isaac Alhadeff Professor in Sephardic Studies, Assistant Professor of History, and faculty at the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dr. Naar graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis and received his Ph.D. in History at Stanford University. His forthcoming book with Stanford University Press, Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece, based on his prize-winning dissertation, explores the impact of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of modern Greece during the 19th and 20th centuries on the Jews of Salonica (Thessaloniki)..

Seattle Jewish Theater Headshot

Seattle Jewish Theater Company

The Seattle Jewish Theater Company was launched in spring 2011 to bring classic and contemporary Jewish theater to the Seattle area. They will present The Dybbuk, regarded as the greatest classic of Jewish drama, at Seattle area venues in Spring 2017.


SMC stillSeattle Men's Chorus

Founded in 1979, Seattle Men's Chorus is an internationally-respected music organization and, along with Seattle Women's Chorus comprises the largest LGBTQ choral organization in the world. In addition to its annual performance series in Seattle's Benaroya and McCaw Halls, SMC has performed in Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Westminster Hall in London, and around the world. The Chorus has performed with special guests such as Debbie Reynolds, Harvey Fierstein, Megan Mullally, Rosemary Clooney, and Kristin Chenoweth.

Todd Soliday HeadshotTodd Soliday

Co-Director of BIG SONIA, Todd is a jack-of-all-trades with 25 years experience in production and post. He specializes in documentary storytelling and adventure films such as PLATINUM (2005). As post-production supervisor for FINDING HILLYWOOD (2013). When Todd is not in front of his screen, he likes to mountain bike, snowboard, and chop wood for his wife (Leah).

Leah Warshawski HeadshotLeah Warshawski

Leah Warshawski produces documentary-style features, television, commercials, and branded entertainment in remote parts of the world. Her first feature, FINDING HILLYWOOD (2013) won 6 awards including the Critic's Award (Sebastopol Doc Festival) and the Audience Award (Napa Film Festival), and screened at more than 65 festivals. Leah's career in film began in Hawaii working in the marine department for LOST and HAWAII. She is Co-Director of BIG SONIA and is currently co-ep for the feature doc PERSONHOOD (2017).

Sonia HeadshotSonia Warshawski

Standing tall at 4'8″, Sonia is one of the last remaining Holocaust survivors in Kansas City and one of the only survivors there who speaks publicly about her wartime experience.