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2020 Guests + Honorees

Festival Publicist: Media/PR Contact

Rachael Brister (she/hers)
RCB Communications, Public Relations for SJCC

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | (206) 218-8912
Guest PR, film screeners, and interviews available upon request


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Rabbi Chaim Bruk

Subject: THE RABBI GOES WEST
Rabbi Chaim Bruk, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, studied at the prestigious Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, New Jersey. In 2006, he married Chavie and in 2007 they founded Chabad Lubavitch of Montana. 

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Laura DeLuca

Clarinetist: THE ANCIENT LAW
DeLuca joined the Seattle Symphony in 1986 following her education at Northwestern university where she studied with the celebrated clarinetist, Robert Marcellus. She is also a co-founding member of Seattle Chamber Players, a contemporary music ensemble formed in 1989 boasting nearly one hundred commissioned works. Music has been a passport to the world, performing in historic concert halls in Europe, Russia, China and South America. Closer to home, Laura regularly performs with Music of Remembrance, Icicle Creek series, and has soloed with Seattle Symphony, Seattle Youth Symphony, Cascade and Rainier Symphonies.

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Warren Etheredge

Shorts Program Curator: EVER FORGET?
Warren Etheredge has worked on the film festival circuit for 20 years. He got his start at the Seattle International Film Festival, then went on to serve as the Curator & Director of the 1 Reel Film Festival (at Bumbershoot) for six years. Currently, he is the Director of Walla Walla Movie Crush Festival and has staged/hosted events at Sundance, SXSW, Port Townsend, Bend and other well-known festivals. He has interviewed many guests at SJFF andthe  Arts + Ideas stage including, Michael Solomonov, Nigella Lawson and most recently Yotam Ottolenghi. IMDB

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Joel Gamoran

Introducer: BREAKING BREAD
National Chef for Sur La Table and stars on the television cooking show Scraps. After studying cooking in Italy, and earning a Restaurant Management Degree from the University of Connecticut and an ACAP Degree from the Culinary Institute of America, he worked in a number of restaurants along the West Coast. At twenty-four, he began teaching cooking classes at the famed kitchen retailer Sur La Table. He lives in Seattle, Washington. Learn more...

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Elliott Gould

Actor + REEL Difference Award: A TRIBUTE TO ELLIOTT GOULD
Elliott Gould is a prolific American actor and producer, who has remained critically acclaimed and sought after for his naturalistic style and insightful performances for decades. Born Elliott Goldstein in Brooklyn, NY, to Jewish immigrants, Gould began his acting career on Broadway, and is best known for his portrayal of Trapper John in Robert Altman's feature film M*A*S*H that earned him a Golden Globe nomination and landed him on the cover of TIME Magazine. In 1973, he was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE. Other memorable roles include playing Philip Marlowe in Altman's THE LONG GOODBYE and more recently notable roles in AMERICAN HISTORY X, BUGSY, A BRIDGE TOO FAR, and the popular OCEAN'S ELEVEN franchise. SJFF celebrates Gould's illustrious career and humanitarian work. IMDB

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The Klez Katz! Klezmer Band

Musicians: BRUNCH FILM: THE SPY BEHIND HOME PLATE
The Klez Katz! are dedicated to the preservation and encouragement of the rich musical heritage of the Yiddish diaspora. Their repertoire encompasses freilachbulgarsherterkishekhosidl, 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. Learn more...

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Cem Kitapci

Producer: THE FINAL HOUR
Cem Kitaci is the film producer and a partner in Case Productions. THE FINAL HOUR is his feature debut. IMDB

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Dani Menkin

Director + 2020 REEL Difference Award: PICTURE OF HIS LIFE + AULCIE
Menkin is a two-time Israeli Academy Award winner. The writer, director, producer's award-winning narrative and documentary films include DOLPHIN BOY (SJFF 2012), 39 POUNDS OF LOVE (SJFF 2006 Audience Choice Award Winner), IS THAT YOU (2014), and ON THE MAP (SJFF 2018). His movies have screened and sold worldwide, including to Disney and HBO. Menkin will receive both the 2020 SJFF REEL Difference Award, honoring filmmakers who shed a bright light on social issues through cinema, and our first Golden Or (light in Hebrew) Juried Prize for Best Independent Film for PICTURE OF HIS LIFE, our Opening Night Film. IMDB

 

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Devin Naar

SpeakerTHE FINAL HOUR
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 first book Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece was published in 2017.

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Amos Nachoum

Photographer/Film Subject: PICTURE OF HIS LIFE
World renowned wildlife photographer and explorer Amos Nachoum began his career as a war photographer in Israel. For 35 years, Amos has pursued his photographic skills in a quest to show harmonious interactions between man and big animals. Amos aims to raise awareness about threatened and endangered species using his camera and expeditions, promoting their conservation for future generations. Learn more...

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H. Alan Scott

Comedian/Film Subject: LATTER DAY JEW
H. Alan Scott is a writer/comedian/producer and tonight's film subject. His work has been published on VICE, Fusion, Esquire, Newsweek, Nerdist, MTV, and OUT. He's contributed to Jim Henson's No, You Shut Up on Fusion, TV Land's Younger, and BBC's Danger Mouse. He co-hosts the "Out on the Lanai: The Golden Girls Podcast"; and "You're Making it Worse" on Dan Harmon's Starburns Audio Network. He's appeared on MTV, Fusion, CNN, ABC, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Ellen. Learn more | IMDB

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Bram Schenck

Speaker + Performer: CRESCENDO
Special guest artist and introduction by Bram Schenck, Principal Clarinetist Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra and member of the National Youth Orchestra which brings the brightest young players from across the country to Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute.

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Martin Selig

REAL Difference Award:  OPENING NIGHT
Martin Selig will receive the SJFF 2020 REAL Difference Award recognizing his unparalleled longtime support of the Seattle Jewish Film Festival for almost a quarter century and many arts organizations locally. Selig is one of Seattle's largest commercial real estate developers, developing close to 8 million square feet of first-class mid to high-rise office space over the last 50 years, representing approximately one third of downtown Seattle's office market. He is the second recipient of this award, since founding chair Deborah Rosen won in 2016, which honors local arts advocates, philanthropists, and community leaders. Learn more...

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Yiscah Smith

Film Subject: I WAS NOT BORN A MISTAKE
Yiscah Smith is a Jewish educator, spiritual activist and published author who addresses the spiritual practice of encountering the Divine spark within, the foundation of authentic living.  She employs her personal story of ​the joys and struggles with her spirituality, Jewish tradition and commitment to authentic living. Learn more...

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Donald Sosin

Pianist/Composer: THE ANCIENT LAW
Donald Sosin is well known to Seattle audiences from his many performances at SIFF and Kenyon Hall. Since 1971, he has performed his scores for silent films (often with his wife, singer/lyricist/percussionist Joanna Seaton) at Lincoln Center, MoMA, BAM, the National Gallery; many college campuses including Yale, Harvard, Cornell and Brown, and major film festivals in New York, San Francisco, Telluride, Hollywood, Pordenone, Bologna, Shanghai, Bangkok, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow, and Jecheon, South Korea. His score for The Ancient Law, co-written with violinist Alicia Svigals, was released on DVD/BluRay in 2018 by Flicker Alley. Learn more...

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Bram Schenck

Clarinetist: CRESCENDO
Bram Schenck is a high school junior and principal clarinetist for the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra the largest youth orchestra training program in the United States. The organization serves over 1,893 diverse students each year. He is also a member of the prestigious National Youth Orchestra of the United States. Each summer, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute brings together the brightest young players from across the country to form the NYO. Following a comprehensive audition process and a three-week training residency with leading professional orchestra musicians the NYO members play on tour over the summer on a journey to the musical capitals of Europe and serve as dynamic music ambassadors.

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Alicia Svigals

Violinist/Composer: THE ANCIENT LAW
Alicia Svigals is the world’s leading klezmer fiddler and a founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics. She has worked with violinist Itzhak Perlman, the Kronos Quartet, playwrights Tony Kushner and Eve Ensler, poet Allen Ginsburg, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Debbie Friedman and Chava Albershteyn. Svigals was awarded a Foundation for Jewish Culture commission for her original score to the 1918 film The Yellow Ticket, and is a MacDowell fellow. Learn more...

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Cynthia Walk

Professor Emeritus UCSD/Sunrise Foundation for Education and the Arts: THE ANCIENT LAW

An Associate Professor Emerita of German Languages and Film, who has written about Jews and cinema during the Weimar Era, Cynthia Walk's Sunrise Foundation for Education and the Arts made both the restoration and artists's performance possible. She also served as advisor to the digital restoration by Deutsche Kinemathek (in Berlin).