James Schamus

JAMES SCHAMUS is an award- winning American screenwriter, producer and director, contributing to, among many others, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain, Lost in Translation, Milk and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He is a respected educator, having held posts at Yale, Rutgers and currently Columbia Universities. His directorial feature debut, Indignation, is in competition for this year’s Best Feature Film Award and Best Debut Feature Award.

Sam Blair

SAM BLAIR is a graduate of the National Film and Television School. His debut feature, Personal Best, was supported by the BFI and played in cinemas nationwide. In 2014 he directed Maradona ’86 for ESPN’s acclaimed 30 for 30 series. Since completing work on Keep Quiet, Blair has been directing an episode of the Netflix original series, Captive.

Alex Holder

ALEX HOLDER has produced many documentary films with a focus on the Holocaust over the past five years. Keep Quiet, his first feature documentary had its world premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. A Q&A with Alex Holder and Keep Quiet’s co-director Sam Blair will follow the London screening of the film.

Élie Chouraqui

ÉLIE CHOURAQUI is a leading French filmmaker, best known for Man on Fire (1987) and Harrison’s Flowers (2000). His latest film, The Origin of Violence, will be screened at this year’s Festival.

Bianca Vrcan and Sacha El Masry

Bianca Vrcan and Sacha El Masry are principal dancers, teachers and choreographers of Rojo y Negro, a London-based Tango school (est. 2000 by Bianca), associated with excellence in teaching and commitment to supporting Tango arts. 

Bianca and Sacha have danced Tango together since 2006, and are regularly invited to teach and perform in numerous events in the UK and abroad.  Most recently they danced in Piazzolla’s famous opera Maria de Buenos Aires, as part of Arcola Theatre’s Grimeborn festival 2016.They are equally in demand as choreographers, whether for a wedding dance, film or theatre.Some of their previous clients include: Channel 5, National Theatre, Gaucho restaurants, The Place, City Lit Institute, Westfield, Bolivian Embassy, NHS and many others.

Alongside their busy teaching and performing schedule, Bianca and Sacha run a variety of social Tango events and have previously organised and curated 5 Tango Rojo festivals. Being versatile artists, they love producing artistic projects together, involving music, photography,film, dance and other media.

Bianca has also composed, produced and successfully launched her first Tango album with 12 original compositions in 2013: ‘Tango for London’ (available on Amazon), placing herself amongst a handful of female Tango composers.

For more information about Bianca and Sacha please visit: www.rojoynegroclub.com 

To claim a free tango class, please email info@rojoynegroclub.com

Lisa Morgenthau

LISA MORGENTHAU is a British documentary filmmaker. With a background as an advertising creative, she decided to turn her hand to directing. Lisa’s film A Queer Country will be showing at this year’s festival and she will be in attendance for a Q&A afterwards.

Harriet Davies

Harriet has a diploma in multimedia journalism accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists. She has worked as a journalist since 2009, working for ClearView Financial Media and the Financial Times Group. She has a Masters and BSc in economics from the University of Sussex.

Daniel Gordon

DANIEL GORDON has over 15 years’ experience of producing and directing feature documentaries, from his pioneering work exploring life in North Korea, to the recent Emmy-nominated Hillsborough which revealed the full story of that fateful day and the 27 year fight for justice that followed.

Debbie Chazen

DEBBIE CHAZEN is an actress, best known for the roles of Annie in the BBC comedy The Smoking Room, Big Claire in Mine All Mine and various others in the BBC sketch show Tittybangbang. She will be joining us for the panel discussion of The Last Laugh.

Josh Howie

JOSH HOWIE is a stand-up comedian. Most recently he starred in BBC Radio 4, Josh Howie’s Losing It, a sitcom in which he comes to terms with the impending birth of his first child. He will be joining us for the panel discussion of The Last Laugh.

Jeni Barnett

Actor, comedian and broadcaster JENI BARNETT presents a Sunday morning show on BBC London as well as standing in regularly for Vanessa Feltz on her weekday morning show. She has been a panelist on ITV’s Loose Women and Five’s The Wright Stuff, presented a number of well known cookery and breakfast TV shows, and was a long-time presenter of the children’s TV series You and Me.

Bennett Arron

BENNETT ARRON is an award-winning writer, actor, author and stand-up comedian and is the only Jewish/Welsh comedian on the comedy circuit.

Bennett recently wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed BBC Radio Series Bennett Arron is Jewelsh. His radio and television credits include presenting the documentary The Kosher Comedian for the BBC, appearing on Loose EndsNot Tonight With John Sergeant, Glee Time (in which he hosted a series of six stand-up comedy shows for ITV), Large (a satirical sketch show for the BBC), Never Write Off The Germans (a panel game show for Radio 2) three series of What’s The Story (a panel game show for BBC Wales) and he was a Presenter on Big Brother’s Little Brother.

He has written for many comedy programmes, including Off Their Rockers, Hit The Road Jack and the BAFTA-winning V Graham Norton. He also wrote over 20 episodes and a feature film of Genie in The House,  and episodes of the BAFTA-winning Slammer for the BBC. He was most recently one of the main writers on the new children’s sitcom Which is Witch? Bennett directed and presented the documentary How To Steal an Identity for Channel 4; which was “Pick of the Day” in The Guardian and The Telegraph.

Josh Appignanesi

Josh Appignanesi is an award-winning British film director, producer, and screenwriter. His latest up close and highly personal film, also his first documentary, is The New Man which received rave reviews in the press following its premiere at the 2016 UK International Jewish Film Festival. He is also known for the feature films Song of Songs (2006), starring Nathalie Press, and The Infidel (2010) written by David Baddiel  and starring Omid Djalili. Josh has written and directed several short films and was also the executive producer of samuel-613 (2015 Pears Short Film Fund at UKJF  Winner, BAFTA nominated).

Devorah Baum

Devorah Baum, co-director of the The New Man with Josh Appignanesi, is Lecturer in English Literature and Critical Theory at the University of Southampton. She is the author of two forthcoming books, Feeling Jewish (a book for just about anyone) (Yale University Press, 2017) and The Jewish Joke (Profile Books, 2017).  This is her debut film as director.

Jason Solomons

JASON SOLOMONS is a British film critic, journalist, broadcaster and author. A regular reviewer for BBC News, BBC Radio 4 and BBC London, he also hosts In Conversation on Sky Arts and the weekly Movie Talk show on London Live TV, syndicated worldwide. He will be heading this year’s Best Feature Film Jury.

Dr Cathy Gelbin

Dr Cathy Gelbin (MA, PhD Cornell University) is Senior Lecturer in German Studies at Manchester University. She specializes in German-Jewish culture, Holocaust Studies, gender and film. She is co-editor of the Leo Baeck Institute Year Book for the Study of German-Jewish History and Culture (Oxford Journals) and serves, among other functions, on the Board of Directors and Trustees of the Leo Baeck Institute London. Book publications include The Golem Returns: From German Romantic Literature to Global Jewish Culture (2011) and Jewish Culture in the Age of Globalization (2014, co-ed. with Sander L. Gilman). Her new monograph Cosmopolitanism and the Jews (with Sander L. Gilman) is forthcoming in 2017.

Cathy was raised in a German-American-Jewish family in Berlin. She is a member of the Jewish Community, the official body of Berlin’s Jewish congregations, and has been living and working in the UK as an academic for 18 years.

Amit Epstein

Amit Epstein studied theater at the “Thelma Yellin High School for Dance, Theater and Performance”, and also at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, where he was granted the Bezal’el Prize for Excellence in 2001 & 2002 and the Meisler Prize for design 2002.

Since 2007, Amit has worked as a costume designer, dramaturge & author for dance, opera and theater productions in Europe and Israel.

As a director, Amit has made video-art-films which were shown in several film festivals, such as international short film festival Hamburg, interfilm International Short Film Festival, Berlin, and the Jewish Film Festival Berlin & Potsdam.

Dr. Robert Garson

BOBBY GARSON obtained his bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Sussex and his doctorate from the London School of Economics. He went on to lecture in American History at Goethe University, Frankfurt and Keele University where he held the position of Director of the David Bruce Centre for American Studies.

Notable publications include: The Democratic Party and the Politics of Sectionalism (1974), The Uncertain Power:  A Political History of the US since 1929 (1991), The United States and China since 1949: A Troubled Affair (1996).

Dorit Hakim

DORIT HAKIM is an award-winning Israeli writer and director. Best known internationally for her short films, she will be bringing her feature directorial debut, Moon in the 12th House, to this year’s festival.

Job Gosschalk

JOB GOSSCHALK is a Dutch director, writer, producer and casting director. Having transitioned from a long career in casting, Job is now focused on producing and directing. Job will join us for a Q&A following the screening of his second film as director, Moos.

Eran Kolirin

ERAN KOLIRIN is a prominent Israeli director and screenwriter. He earned widespread acclaim as well as several prestigious awards for his directorial debut The Band’s Visit. His latest film Beyond the Mountains and Hills was selected for Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival.

Lisa Gornick

LISA GORNICK is a British actress, screenwriter, director, producer, and the founder of Valiant Doll, a production company that made micro budget feature films. Her latest work is an ambitious cross-platform piece The Book of Gabrielle, which comprises a book, live performance and a feature film. The film, preceded by a live show, will be screened at this year’s festival.

Saar Maoz

SAAR MAOZ is an Israeli AIDS activist, former Londoner and protagonist of the documentary Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?, screened at this year’s festival. He will be attending a Q&A alongside the film’s co-director Alexander Bodin-Saphir following the screening.

Alexander Bodin Saphir

ALEXANDER BODIN SAPHIR is a British filmmaker and writer, currently Author in Residence at Great Ormond Street Hospital. He is the co-director and producer of the Heymann Brothers documentary Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?, an intimate portrait of a family coping with their son’s positive HIV diagnosis. Alexander will be taking part in a Q&A following its screening and also the screening of his short fiction film Far with Kim Bodnia and Louis Bodnia Andersen.

Karin Albou

KARIN ALBOU is a French actress, screenwriter and director. Her directorial debut film, Little Jerusalem, debuted at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. Her latest feature My Shortest Love Affair will be showing at this year’s festival and Karin will be attending a Q&A afterwards.

Kim Bodnia

KIM BODNIA is an iconic Danish actor, best known internationally for his role in the hugely successful Scandinavian crime television series The Bridge and for playing the title role in Jon Stewart’s debut film, Rosewater. He has kindly agreed to take a seat on this year’s Best Feature Film Jury.

Tal Recanati

TAL RECANATI was born in the US and raised in both the US and Israel. She is an entrepreneur and the former chair of the Advisory Board of the Arnhold Institute For Global Health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. She is a member of the board of Seeds of Peace. She will be introducing Germans and Jews.

Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger DBE

RABBI BARONESS JULIA NEUBERGER DBE is Senior Rabbi of the West London Synagogue. The second woman in Britain to become a Rabbi, and the first to have her own synagogue, she has long held active charity and philanthropic roles. She will be participating in a panel discussion of the documentary Germans and Jews.

Thomas Harding

THOMAS HARDING is a British/ American non-fiction author, journalist, and former documentary maker. His international bestseller Hanns and Rudolf: The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz earned huge critical acclaim and has been translated into 18 languages. Thomas will be taking part in a panel discussion following our screening of Germans and Jews.

Catherine Hezser

CATHERINE HEZSER is a professor of Jewish Studies and has been teaching in the Department of Religions and Philosophies at SOAS since 2005. She is an expert in the social history of Jews in Roman Palestine in late antiquity and has published widely in her field, including the book Jewish Slavery in Antiquity (Oxford University Press, 2005).

Janina Quint

JANINA QUINT grew up in Germany. B.A. Courtauld Institute (London), M.A. New School for Social Research (New York). Her internationally recognized videos from the 1990’s address the tension between technology and authenticity. She is the co-director of the film festival Senza Frontiere/ Without Borders and serves on the board of Film Ohne Grenzen. She will be joining us for a discussion following Germans and Jews.

Karin Foreman

KARIN FOREMAN is an Israeli cook, who lives in London with her husband and three children and is known for her catering business and cookery school “Just Crumbs” as well as for her healthy cooking and eating blog: twohealthycookies.com . 

“Food is my passion and the blog is my voice touring the world through my taste buds, eating and cooking middle eastern dishes with a healthy twist and a modern Israeli style.”

Burghart Klaußner

BURGHART KLAUßNER is a German actor who has appeared in over 50 films, including last year’s Bridge of Spies alongside Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance. Klaußner will be discussing his role in the film The People Vs. Fritz Bauer at the festival.

Maureen Lipman CBE

MAUREEN LIPMAN CBE is a prominent British film, theatre and television actresses. She is also a prolific writer, having written several books and contributed columns to numerous publications. She will be participating in this year’s festival Film Lab.

Christina Hilla Fameli

CHRISTINA HILLA FAMELI is a Greek actress. She stars in Cloudy Sunday, an adaptation of the classic novel Ouzeri Tsitsanis, which will be featuring at this year’s festival and followed by a Q&A.

Rabbi William Wolff

RABBI WILLIAM WOLFF is nearly 90 and perhaps the most unconventional rabbi in the world. As the State Rabbi of North-East Germany, he looks after the Jewish communities in Schwerin and Rostock, but still lives in a bungalow near Henley-on-Thames.

Hester Abrams

HESTER ABRAMS’ German and Russian took her to central Europe as a Reuters correspondent in the late 1980s. A former Director of Jewish Book Week, she is now developing plans at the United Synagogue to conserve Willesden Cemetery and connect more people with the story of Jews in Britain.

Benjamin Bee

BENJAMIN BEE is a Newcastlebased writer/director. His short Step Right Up was long-listed for a BAFTA in 2014. Benjamin is the director of Mordechai funded by The Pears Short Film Fund at UKJF and 1987 funded by Creative England and the BFI.

Lucy Kaye

LUCY KAYE Born in London, Lucy Kaye graduated from The National Film and Television School. She has worked for the BBC, Channel 4, Vice, The Guardian with subjects ranging from PTSD to horse whispering. Lucy is the director and cinematographer of Memory Songs – winner of the Pears Short Film Fund at UKJF

Maria Caruana Galizia

MARIA CARUANA GALIZIA  produces films through her company Candle & Bell Limited. She has produced a number of award winning short films and has produced Mordechai – winner of the Pears Short Film Fund at UKJF.

Ivana MacKinnon

IVANA MACKINNON produces through her company Stray Bear Films. Her credits include The Scouting Book for Boys, The Descent and War Book. Her upcoming film Beast will be released in cinemas in 2017.

Leon Marr

Director and Screenwriter, LEON MARR, is internationally recognised for his acclaimed feature film, Dancing In The Dark, which was the Official Selection at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, Toronto Festival of Festivals, New York, and twenty other festivals around the world; as well as the winner of three Genie Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay. He also has a lengthy career in television production. Most recently, he directed, co-wrote and produced, The Second Time Around, a love story for the ageless”.

Other feature projects currently in development include: Finale, a psychological thriller which received development funding from Telefilm Canada; Say A Prayer For Me, a psychological thriller which received funding from Telefilm Canada, the OMDC and FUND; Zero Tolerance, an environmental thriller; If Looks Could Kill, an environmental drama; The Wolf and The Crow, a dramatic love story; Half-Way There, a romantic comedy; and Drone, a political thriller. He is also collaborating on a Prime-Time Dramatic TV Series – Leaving Normal.

His Screenplay Consultant credits include: Best Friends (Goldie Hawn & Burt Reynolds), directed by Norman Jewison; and Iceman, produced by Norman Jewison and directed by Fred Schepsi.

Sherry Soules

As a Screenwriter and Producer,SHERRY SOULES has been developing and promoting a slate of feature films and TV series. Most recently, she Co-Wrote and Produced the feature film The Second Time Around  A love story for the ageless”. Other feature projects currently in development include: If Looks Could Kill, an environmental drama; The Wolf and The Crow, a dramatic love story, which received development funding from the Canadian Screen Training Centre; Half-Way There, a romantic comedy; Drone, a political thriller; Finale, a psychological thriller which received development funding from Telefilm Canada; Say A Prayer For Me, a psychological thriller which received funding from Telefilm Canada, the OMDC and FUND; and Zero Tolerance, an environmental thriller. She is also collaborating on a Prime-Time Dramatic TV Series – Leaving Normal, and is writing a Historical Drama TV SeriesThe Little Duchess.

She co-directed, wrote and produced the short film Orange Sarong (2006). She is a published trade and travel writer, an aspiring poet and director, and has over twenty years of experience as a Marketing Executive.

Linda Thorson

LINDA THORSON is multi-talented actress whose career spans screen, stage and television; in Britain, the United States and Canada. Throughout her lengthy career, she has won numerous awards for her strong and versatile performances.

On television she made her indelible mark as the adventurous Tara King in the now cult British series, The Avengers, playing the lead with Patrick Macnee – a role which earned her both a BAFTA and Le Prix Triumph awards.

She has appeared on Broadway in numerous productions and received the Theatre World Award for her performance in Steaming, and The Drama Desk Award for Noises Off.  She was recently in productions of August: Osage County and Other Desert Cities. In London’s West End, her titles include being a member of the original cast of the longest running comedy – No Sex Please, We’re British.

Other film work includes Sweet Liberty, as Michael Caine’s wife; The Other Sister, as Diane Keaton’s best friend; Half Past Dead, with Steven Seagal, The Man on the Train, with Donald Sutherland; and in Ken Russell’s Valentino opposite Rudolph Nureyev.

In addition to her ongoing work as both actor and, now, theatre producer, Linda is also a spokesperson for Doctors Without Borders.

Colin Shindler

Colin Shindler is Emeritus professor at SOAS, University of London and founding Chairman of the European Association of Israel Studies. Author of eight books, the latest of which is ‘The Rise of the Israeli Right: From Odessa to Hebron’.

Yossi Mekelberg

Yossi Mekelberg has taught International Relations at Regent’s University London since 1996 and is currently the International Relations and Social Sciences Programme Director at the Faculty of Humanities , Arts & Social Sciences at Regent’s University London. His fields of interest are International Relations Theory, Middle East Affairs, US Foreign Policy and International Relations and Revolutions. Yossi Mekelberg is also an Associate Fellow of the Middle East Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House. In addition he is a member of the London Committee and Council of Human Rights Watch and a consultant to the Dutch simulation and education foundation Pax Ludens. He is also a founding member of the Middle East Economic Forum. Yossi is a regular contributor to the international media on these issues including BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera, CBC, Guardian, Independent among many others. He is frequently invited to give talks, run workshops and provide advice to the British government, NATO and the EU.

Rachel Garfield

Rachel Garfield is an artist who works in video. She also writes on contemporary and Modern art. Garfield is Associate Professor in Fine Art at the University of Reading. Some of her recent exhibitions include Unsensed, group show at the Hatton gallery Newcastle (2015), London Short Film Festival (2013), ICA London, Solo show Beaconsfield London (2012).

Selected relevant texts are, Screen Journal Dossier: Stephen Dwoskin, Vol. 57, Issue 1, Spring 2016 (co-editor with Alison Butler); “Parallel editing, Multi Positionality and Maximalism: cosmopolitan effects as explored in some works by Melanie Jackson and Vivienne Dick”, Open Art Journal, inaugural edition 2013; Rachel Garfield, , ‘Playing with History: Negotiating Subjectivity in Contemporary Lens Based Art” Routledge Handbook for Contemporary Jewish Cultures, eds., Nadia Valman, Laurence Roth, Routledge, 2014. Garfield is under contract to IB Taurus for the single authored book, AV Punk: women, experimental film and a punk aesthetic, 2017.

Ben Yeger

Ben is the Founder and Director of Moving Conflicts and UK representative of Combatants for Peace (CfP). Ben has 25 years experience of group facilitation and training, a Movement Medicine Facilitator and Teacher, a creative therapist, Theatre Director, and Change Agent.

After serving in the Israeli Army (83-86), Ben left Israel making a promise to himself that he would never carry a weapon again. It took him 20 years of personal process and a meeting with “Combatants For Peace” co-founder, Chen Alon, to find the gateway for his personal expression and action towards contributing to ending the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through non-violent means.

Philip Desmeules

PHILIP DESMEULES is a BritishCanadian actor of stage and screen. Born and raised in Toronto, Philip trained at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He will join us for a Q&A after the screening of Louis-Ferdinand Céline.

Hadley Freeman

HADLEY FREEMAN is a fashion journalist and Guardian columnist, and has written books on fashion, women’s popular culture, and the cinema of the 1980s. Hadley will be introducing our screening of Everything is Copy, a tribute to the much-loved Nora Ephron.

Francesco Lotoro

FRANCESCO LOTORO is an Italian pianist and musicologist whose mission is to discover and record music written by Jews during the Second World War. The Maestro, a film documenting his decades-long project, will be screening at this year’s festival and followed by a Q&A with Lotoro.

Fanny Ben-Ami

FANNY BEN-AMI is a German born, French-Israeli artist and author, whose childhood memories of growing up in Nazi-occupied France formed the basis for her autobiographical work Fanny’s Journey. The film adaptation of the book will be screened at this year’s festival.