Judy Ironside has been awarded the MBE (Member of the British Empire) 2013, announced on 15th June.

The Honours Lists ‘recognise the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the UK’. Judy will be presented with her award at a prestigious ceremony at Buckingham Palace later in the year.

Described as an ‘ideas person’, Judy has worked extensively in the creative arts industries and in theatre, in education. She was previously a member of the British Association of Drama Therapists, working primarily with children and young people with special needs.

Judy places enormous value on sharing stories about people and cultures, which was a major incentive for her to create a Jewish Film Festival where the power of film and the value of stories, combine to promote respect and understanding about Jewish cultures worldwide. It is these values that she brings to the diversity of programming and to working with co-existence and multi faith groups, collaborating on special events that promote tolerance and understanding amongst people of differing faiths and those with secular beliefs.

Judy founded the Brighton Jewish Film Festival in 1997 and these early years were followed, in 2005, by the national move to become the UK Jewish Film Festival which is now the major exhibitor of films with Jewish themes in the UK and in Europe. With a new identity of UK Jewish Film, established in September 2011, Judy is keen to ensure year round excellence, continuing to encourage new filmmakers and to promote film making with Jewish themes in the UK.

In 2006, Judy assisted and mentored staff in creating the first Zagreb Jewish Film Festival and was also instrumental in helping with the first Amsterdam Jewish Film Festival in 2001. There have also been guest programming slots at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and the first Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival; and in 2009 Judy was a Jury Member of ‘The Spirit of Freedom’ Award at the Jerusalem International Film Festival.

In 2007, Judy became a Trustee of The Forgiveness Project, a UK-based charitable organisation which explores forgiveness, reconciliation and conflict resolution through real-life human experience.

Judy said of her award: “I am delighted that my work and UK Jewish Film, has been recognised in this way. But it is extremely important to acknowledge the tremendous work of my colleague and Managing Director, Michael Etherton, and the UKJF staff and board of Trustees who have also worked tirelessly to ensure this success. I am passionate about using the power of film to promote a message of understanding about Jewish cultures across the world and I’m extremely proud that UK Jewish Film is the success that it is today, having established an environment in which Jewish film entertains, educates and enlightens diverse audiences both in the UK and internationally.”

For more information or to speak to Judy Ironside, please contact Lydia Drukarz at Wavelength PR on: lydia@wavelengthpr.com or call: 07977 454180. For more information on UK Jewish Film (UKJF), go to: http://ukjewishfilm.org/


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Notes to Editors:

  • The next UKJF Festival will take place from 31st October to 17th November 2013.
  • UKJF has more than 17 years’ experience in sourcing the best international films. UKJF‘s festivals are dedicated to bringing the best world cinema that focuses on Jewish life, history and culture worldwide.
  • The UKJF Festival screens films that engage with Jewish experiences, histories, cultures and areas of concern worldwide, and explores their relationship and place within a multi-cultural society.
  • Filmmakers are invited to submit their features, documentaries and short films for a chance to be part of the leading Festival of films with Jewish themes in the UK and in Europe.
  • With over 60 films from around the world, public discussions, meetings with filmmakers and specialist events, the festival celebrates diversity through film and invites audiences of all affiliations to take part.
  • The closing date for entries this year is 28th of June 2013.
  • UKJF in Tel Aviv will take place from 30th Jan 2014 to 1st Feb 2014.
  • The 4th Geneva International Jewish Film Festival will take place from 26th to 30th March 2014.