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2021 Guests

Festival Guests

In order of Zoom Appearance Dates

How to Zoom? All ticket and pass holders will be automatically registered for the Zoom. You will receive an email invitation one (1) hour before the Zoom start time with a link to join the webinar (by computer or telephone). For the Opening Night pre-recorded conversation with Howie Mandel and Barry Avrich, you will receive a separate email with a link to watch on our Virtual Cinema Page.

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you do not receive a Zoom link (please check junk mail/spam first). In your email, specify ticket purchaser name/email and film or Zoom issue.

Missed a Zoom? Watch all our filmmaker conversations on our SJFF 2021 YouTube Channel >>

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Howie Mandel

Zoom Conversation (pre-recorded) with Director Barry Avrich

Howie Mandel
has remained a constant force in show business for more than 30 years. He can currently be seen on NBC's flagship series America's Got Talent where he has served as a judge for eleven seasons. In 2019 he released his first solo special in 20 years Howie Mandel Presents Howie Mandel at the Howie Mandel Comedy Club. More recently, Mandel teamed up with ePlay Digital Inc. to launch the charity, Breakout the Masks, and a mobile game campaign to give back to those involved in the fight against COVID-19. He received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program for Deal or No Deal and a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Game Show Host for the syndicated version of the show. His frank, funny and no-holds-barred memoir, "Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me" (2009), about his ongoing struggle with OCD and ADHD made The New York Times bestseller list.

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Barry Avrich

Zoom Conversation (pre-recorded) with Howie Mandel

Acclaimed documentary filmmaker, Barry Avrich is responsible for over 48 documentaries and best known for provocative exposes of Hollywood power brokers such as Lew Wasserman (THE LAST MOGUL), Harvey Weinstein (THE RECKONING), BLURRED LINES: INSIDE THE ART WORLD, DAVID FOSTER: OFF THE RECORD, and the critically acclaimed film PROSECUTING EVIL. Avrich has also produced the Scotiabank Giller Prize and Canadian Screen Awards broadcasts. In 2007, Avrich built the world's first state-of-the-art movie theatre in a hospital at Toronto's SickKids. Barry Avrich also directs and produces the prestigious Stratford Festival "Stage to Screen" films. In 2016, Avrich released his best-selling memoir, Moguls, Monsters and Madmen.


Warren Etheredge

Zoom Conversation: Thu, March 4 (pre-recorded) with Howie Mandel + Barry Avrich
Zoom Conversation: Wed, March 17 at 6:30pm with Jessie Dylan + Priscilla Cohen

Cultural conversationalist and storyfinder, Warren Etheredge, is a regular moderator on the SJCC Arts+Ideas stage and Seattle Jewish Film Festival, where he also curates our short film programs. Warren is founding faculty of TheFilmSchool and Artistic Director and co-founder of the Walla Walla Movie Crush. In the Fall of 2017, he launched a new 30-week screenwriting program at the University of Washington and was appointed the VP of Curation & Acquisitions for Heyou Media. The founder of The Warren Report. He is a published author, staged playwright, successful producer, veteran festival programmer and much sought-after public speaker.

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Michelle Paymar

Zoom Conversation: Tues, March 9 at 6:30pm

Michelle Paymar
received a Master of Fine Arts in Film Directing from the American Film Institute and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UC Berkeley. Paymar is a member of the International Documentary Association and Women in Film. Her production company makes independent documentaries and promotional films for nonprofits and NGO's. Clients include Amnesty International (Canada) Alzheimer's Services of the East Bay (California) and Ayubowan Women's Project (Sri Lanka). Earlier films include her pioneering AIDS documentary, FOR OUR LIVES, and SIPPIE, a documentary about classic blues artist Sippie Wallace (Co-Directed with Roberta Grossman). 

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Brendan G. Goldman

Zoom Conversation: Tues, March 9 at 6:30pm

Brendan G. Goldman is the Hazel D. Cole Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies at the University of Washington. He is a historian of the Jewish communities of the medieval Islamic world and a specialist in the documents of the Cairo Geniza. Brendan's first book, Camps of the Uncircumcised: The Cairo Geniza and Jewish Life in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, is forthcoming in 2021. His second book project examines the prison system in medieval Egypt through Jewish documents.

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Barbara Lahav

Guest Speaker: SCHOCKEN
Zoom Conversation: Wed, March 10 at 7:30pm

Barbara Lahav
grew up in Mount Baker and Seward Park and moved to Israel the summer after graduating from Franklin High School. She attended The Hebrew University and Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. While living in Israel, Barbara worked professionally at the Israel Museum in the Exhibit Design Department. Following this position Barbara worked for the Schocken Family, including local Managing Editor of Kol Ha'Ir, the Ha'aretz affiliated Jerusalem weekly and representing Schocken Publishing at the annual book fair in Jerusalem and distribution of the Schocken English publications. Barbara moved back to Seattle in 1986 with husband Eli, another Bezalel alum and sons, Ben and Adam. In Seattle she worked for the local Jewish newspaper, The Transcript, at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and worked as the Program Director of Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation. Before retiring Barbara served as the Pacific Northwest Finance Director for J Street.

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Joe Schocken

Guest Speaker: SCHOCKEN
Zoom Conversation: Wed, March 10 at 7:30pm

Joseph L. Schocken is founder and Chairman of Broadmark Realty Capital (BRMK, NYSE) and President of Tranceka Capital LLC. He was an Obama appointee to the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and has testified on capital formation before committees at both the U.S. House and Senate. Mr. Schocken is recognized as one of the driving forces behind the 2011 JOBS Act and initiated the Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act of 2017 to combat anti-Semitism. He is the local AIPAC Chair, serves on the AIPAC National Council, the DNC National Finance Committee, and previously on the Seattle Affordable Middle Income Housing Council.

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Noemi Schory

Director: SCHOCKEN
Zoom Conversation: Wed, March 10 at 7:30pm

Noemi Schory has produced and edited more than 100 documentaries including A FILM UNFINISHED (SJFF 2014), THE INNER TOUR, SOS-ISRAEL'S GENERAL, and the historic films of Yad Vashem museum and directed among others THE STATE OF ISRAEL VS. JOHN IVAN DEMJANUK, and TRANSPORT 222.

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Becky Tahel

Zoom Conversation: Thurs, March 11 at 7pm

Becky Tahel was born in Haifa, Israel and raised in Philadelphia. She graduated from Temple University with a degree in Communications & Theater. She lives in Los Angeles where she runs Go Tahel Productions. American Birthright is her flagship film.

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Brad Rothschild

Zoom Conversation: Sun, March 14 at 4pm

Brad Rothschild
is an award winning producer and writer with both a creative and a business background. He received a Masters in International Affairs and a Masters in Business Administration, both from Columbia University. From 1995-1997, he served as the speechwriter and director of communications for the Mission of Israel to the United Nations. Previous films include producer for KINDERBLOCK 66: RETURN TO BUCHENWALD, director for AFRICAN EXODUS, and TREE MAN.

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Jesse Dylan

Director: SOROS
Zoom Conversation: Wed, March 17 at 6:30pm

Jesse Dylan is a prolific director, immersive storyteller, and visionary problem-solver. Jesse has dedicated his career to telling the stories of some of the world's most innovative individuals and organizations including Barack Obama's YES WE CAN  video, The Clinton Global initiative, XPrize Foundation, Stand Up to Cancer, The Columbia School for Journalism, The Getty among others. His mission is to inspire passion, engage, and motivate people to take action. He is the son of singer Bob Dylan.

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Priscilla Cohen

Producer: SOROS
Zoom Conversation: Wed, March 17 at 6:30pm

Producer Priscilla Cohen has created award-winning content that is both socially responsible and visually compelling, bringing an authentic and compassionate voice to each new project. In 2008 she worked alongside filmmaker Jesse Dylan to produce the Emmy-Award winning YES WE CAN  video on behalf of then-candidate Barack Obama. Prior to working with Dylan, Cohen was a film executive at several companies including Miramax, Geffen Pictures, and Robert Redford's Wildwood Productions. Some of the films that she worked on include: INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, and WITHIN THE WHIRLWHIND, which won the European Time For Peace award. She also served as director of The Performing Arts Program at the Exploratorium in San Francisco and has a background in the performing arts, having worked at several Off-Broadway venue including The National Theater Institute, the Padua Hills Playwrights' Festival, and The Magic Theater.

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Martin Goldsmith

Costar and Co-Screenwriter: WINTER JOURNEY
Zoom Conversation: Thursday, March 18 at 7pm

Martin Goldsmith is the author of The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany, which tells the riveting story of the Kulturbund, an all-Jewish performing arts ensemble maintained by the Nazis between 1933 and 1941, an ensemble that included Goldsmith's parents. His book is the basis of the acclaimed film WINTER JOURNEY, co-written by Goldsmith, directed by Anders Ostergaard, and starring the late Bruno Ganz. Goldsmith is also the author of Alex's Wake: A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance, the story of his grandfather and uncle, who were two of the more than 900 passengers on the ill-fated Jewish refugee ship St. Louis in 1939, and his own six-week journey in their footsteps in 2011. Goldsmith has been a classical music radio programmer and presenter for forty-nine years. From 1989 to 1999, he served as the host of "Performance Today," National Public Radio's daily classical music program, which won the coveted Peabody Award for broadcasting during his tenure. Semi-retired from Sirius XM Satellite Radio in Washington, DC, where he served as the company's Director of Classical Music Programming starting in 2000, Goldsmith now hosts music programs on weekend afternoons.
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Mina Miller

Zoom Conversation: Thursday, March 18 at 7pm 

Mina Miller, Executive Director of Music of Remembrance, is a recognized authority on Holocaust-era music and musicians, and has lectured internationally on the precious cultural and artistic legacy that escaped Nazi destruction. She studied at the Manhattan School of Music and earned her PhD in Music from New York University. In 2006, the Women's Endowment Foundation (a supporting foundation of The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle) named her a Phenomenal Woman honoree. In 2018 she was honored by the Washington State Jewish Historical Society as an Agent of Change, one of twenty remarkable women in the state, and was the recipient of the Consul General of Japan Award. Learn more about Music of Remembrance.