2023 BOSTON ISRAELI FILM FESTIVAL – GUESTS
Margarita Linton emigrated to Israel from the Ukraine when she was 5 years old. After completing her military service as a hiking guide, she studied still photography, and wrote and published poetry.
She graduated from the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in 2012.
During her studies, she won the Galit Rosen Directing Award and the Class of 2012 Promising Director Award. Since her graduation, she works as a film editor for documentaries, TV series, and short films, as well as an editing mentor at Sam Spiegel film school, and Hadassah academic college.
Margarita participated in the 5th edition of The JSFS script lab with her debut script Life is Anywhere Else. While developing the script, Margarita shot her first full length documentary feature, The Artist’s Daughter, Oil on Canvas in 2021.
Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 8.4.92. Since 2014, Maya has been working as a freelance editor. Most of her films she writes are about her family and in which she plays along with her real family members. Her first short film was Fine which participated in many festivals around the world. The Warsaw Film Festival and Filmschoolfest Munich awarded this film Most Original Film and Audience Favorite, and was nominated as a member of the jury the year after. Her second short film in 2020, As You Like premiered at Show Me Shorts Film Festival in New Zealand.
In 2022 she directed and wrote the short film Killing Ourselves premiered at the Jerusalem Film Festival where it won the Best Live Action Short Film. In addition, during her studies she produced a number of films for her classmates and made some more short and experimental films, which have won prizes. Today she is filming a short film Khachapuri Tutorial and writing her feature film.
Born in Beit Shemesh in 1992, Yehonatan is a graduate of The Sam Spiegel Film & Television School. During his studies he worked as a photographer for a news agency and created and facilitated a videography workshop for people with psycho-social disabilities in Jerusalem. Yehonatan is honored that his Sam Spiegel Thesis Film, DEEP WATER, is having its world premiere at the Fifth Annual Boston Israeli Film Festival. He is currently a director and content/media creator for several museums in Israel.
Kaj Wilson was Artistic Director of Boston Jewish Film for twelve years. Prior to that she was Film Editor of “The Improper Bostonian.” Awards include the Women in Film and Video/New England Image Award for Vision and Excellence (2003) and a Special Commendation from the Boston Society of Film Critics (2007). In 2011, she was honored by Boston Jewish Film for leadership in New England film. Since 2010, she’s been teaching film classes at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline.
Michal Vinik’s debut film Barash (2015) premiered at San Sebastian Film Festival and became both a festival and sales hit; the film travelled to over 90 festivals worldwide, received 10 awards internationally, and sold in 26 territories.
Her short films Bait (2009) and Srak (2011) premiered at Locarno and Sundance, winning prizes in Israel and
around the world. Valeria is Getting Married (2022), Michal’s second feature film, premiered in Venice and Toronto and is currently being screened at festivals internationally.
Michal is currently working on her third feature film You Are My Everything, and preparing to shoot the second season of The Missing File for television, adapted from Dror Mishani’s novels. She has written for several television series and co-created her own (Who Gave You a License), together with Daniella Doron and Talya Lavi.
Lena Fraifeld was born in Ukraine and emigrated to Israel at the age of 3. From ages 5 to 18, she trained professionally in a ballet school. She served as a sports instructor in the army. After the army, Lena was accepted in the Kamea Dance Company, where she was a principal dancer for 5 years – until she decided to turn her sights to acting.
At age 28, she was accepted into the Yoram Lewinstain Acting School. A few months before graduation, Lena was cast in her first leading role in the Gesher Theater as Vanda in the play The Slave. That year, she won the Kipod Ha-Zahav Prize for her role in Oedipus Triptiqe as the sphinx. Lena’s first on-screen performance as Christina, a lead role in Michal Vinik’s Valeria is Getting Married earned her a 2022 Ophir Award nomination for Best Actress. Since then, she has been filmed in Idan Haguel’s 2022 fiction film, Concerned Citizen. She recently completed filming the third season of the hit Israeli TV series False Flag (2022).
Tomer Heymann is an Israeli award-winning documentary filmmaker whose career has spanned over two decades and includes some of the most successful films in the history of Israeli documentary cinema. His critically-acclaimed films have screened in festivals worldwide and have received prizes from the Berlinale, The Israeli Academy of Film and Television, Hot Docs, SXSW, and IDFA. Mr. Gaga (2015) was shortlisted for the European Academy Awards, theatrically released in 17 countries, and is considered the most viewed Israeli documentary in the country’s history. Heymann has been previously voted as one of “The Top Ten Most Influential People in Israeli Art” and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 15th Monterey International Film Festival in Mexico. Several retrospectives have been dedicated to Heymann’s films in New York, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, and Istanbul. His most recent films include Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life which won the 2019 Israeli Academy Award for Best Documentary and aired on the highly regarded BBC documentary series Storyville, and I Am Not (2021), which had its world-premiere at Docaviv and received both Best Director and Best Cinematography Awards.
Dr. Ann Neumeyer, Medical Director of the Lurie Center for Autism and Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, is a child neurologist with over 20 years of experience diagnosing and caring for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
Dr. Neumeyer focuses on improving the lives of patients with ASD and their families far beyond the Lurie Center. She coordinates autism related care programs with other clinical and research programs throughout Massachusetts General Hospital. Outside the hospital, Dr. Neumeyer’s leadership role as an advocate for patients with ASD and their families has been recognized through her appointment to the Massachusetts Governor’s Autism Council Subcommittee for School Aged Children.Her clinical research interests focus on medical issues in individuals with autism as well studying bone development in children with autism.
Ofir Raul Graizer is a film director and screenwriter. Born in Israel and based in Berlin for the last 13 years, Graizer is a graduate of the Film School in Sapir College, Sderot. His short films were screened in numerous film festivals including Cannes, Clermont-Ferrand, and more. His first feature film The Cakemaker was theatrically released in 26 countries, received international acclaim and won 7 awards in the Israeli Academy of Film and Television. The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times Critics Pick, The Cakemaker was Israel’s official entry to the Oscars. His second feature, America, premiered in the 56th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, won a number of awards, and sold to theatrical distribution in USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, Spain, Israel and Czech Republic. Graizer also published a book of short stories and recipes in German, Ofir’s Kuche. He is is currently working on several films, TV and literary projects for the international market.
Idan Haguel is a graduate of the Sapir College Film Department. Following a number of acclaimed short films, which screened at festivals worldwide, his debut feature film Inertia premiered internationally at the 2016 Berlinale Film festival (Forum). In 2017, he was invited back to Berlinale after being selected to participate in talent development program, Berlinale Talents. He has also worked as a journalist and scriptwriter for Israeli Television. Concerned Citizen is his second Indie Feature.
Erez Tadmor (born January 18, 1974) is a celebrated Israeli film director and screenwriter who has won two Ophir Awards.
Tadmor grew up in Netanya and studied cinema at the Camera Obscura in Tel Aviv. His first short film Moosh won a grant for the screenplay from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, the Swallow Foundation and the Gelfand Foundation for short films.
Since then, he has made numerous hit features, shorts and documentary films that collectively have been nominated for over 20 Ophir Awards and has collaborated with Israeli screen legends throughout his over 20 years as a filmmaker.
In addition to Israeli film, Erez has worked on American television as well. He co-wrote and co-created the American network series Tycoon with Ben Khalifi, directed by the French-American director Louis Leterrier (Now You See Me, The Incredible Hulk and more).
His most recent feature Matchmaking was a cultural phenomenon in Israel, becoming the biggest box office success in the country in 2022.
Marni Woolf (formerly Schamroth) is an American born, Israeli raised actress who has been rising up through the industry within recent years.
As an AMDA NYC graduate, Marni is a trained professional in theater, finding success in commercials, voice overs, TV and films, reaching millions of viewers worldwide. Such known credits include Matchmaking, Spiritual Retreat, Safe Space, The Secret Flower, and more.
Marni has also been invited for countless guest appearances reporting for ILTV and Israel’s Channel 14, to present Israeli news nationwide and across the globe on personal topics she is passionate about.
Being raised in Israel, Marni comes from a strong Jewish home and is proud to be representing her roots in the new hit film Matchmaking in her breakout role as Naomi Friedlander, where she was quoted as “A gift to Israeli Cinema” by film critic Avner Shavit.
Avner Shavit is one of the preeminent film critics in Israel. He has been covering both the local and international scenes for two decades and has been a consistent presence at major film festivals including Cannes, Venice, and Berlin. He is also a sought-after interviewer. He holds a PhD from the New Sorbonne University in Paris,and is now a visiting professor at Wesleyan University.
Esther Takac is a filmmaker, an author and a child and adult psychologist. She is very excited to have just released (March 2022) her first feature documentary The Narrow Bridge to wonderful responses in her home country of Australia. She’s currently working on a number of other film projects, including a feature drama about the power of finding one’s own story explored through relationship between a child psychologist and her child patient, and an interactive film about memory.
As an author Esther has published three books, (U.S. National Jewish Book Award, Sydney Taylor Award, Victorian Children’s Reading List, Australian Intercultural Curriculum.) As a psychologist she is in private practice, has worked as a consultant with The Lighthouse Institute and Monash University, and delivers training on trauma locally and overseas. She also consults in the pediatric department of a Jerusalem hospital and has developed ‘My Journey to Hospital Land’ a therapeutic program for Israeli and Palestinian children.
Steve Watson has been the senior pastor of Reservoir Church since July, 2013. Prior to that, he served as the principal of Watertown High School, as a middle- and high-school English teacher in the Boston Public Schools, and as a campus staff minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. The throughlines in Steve’s life and career have been teaching, coaching and mentoring, organizational and community development, and public healing and justice. In addition to his work at Reservoir, Steve serves on the Boards of Greater Boston Interfaith Organization and Samaritans. Steve has a B.A. in music from Brandeis University, a Masters in Education from UMASS-Boston, and is enrolled in the Doctorate in Ministry program at the Center for Open and Relational Theology.
Born and raised in eastern Massachusetts, Steve has traveled extensively but has never left behind his great affection for the Charles River, the Red Sox, and (almost) all things New England. Steve and his wife Grace, who shares his local roots and works as the director of Next Steps in Brookline, became members of Reservoir Church in 2006. They love this community’s accessibility, authenticity, and vibrant connection with a living God. Steve and Grace have three teenage children. Beyond Reservoir and his family, Steve also loves hiking and walking in the woods, reading fiction and theology, eating, and shared adventures.
Jeremy Burton is the CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC). Through advocacy, organizing, service and partnerships JCRC defines and advances the values, interests and priorities of the organized Jewish community of Greater Boston in the public square.
Previously he was the Senior Vice President of Programs at the Jewish Funds for Justice, and Vice President of Programs at the Jewish Funders Network. Jeremy also served as a board member of Keshet, working for the full inclusion of LGBT Jews in Jewish life.
Jeremy came to the Jewish community from a career in political strategy and public communications, having worked for New York Mayor David N. Dinkins, Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, the 1996 Clinton/Gore Re-Election Campaign, and the New York State Assembly & Attorney General, among others.
Jeremy writes and speaks widely about challenges and opportunities facing the Jewish community. He has been published widely, including in the New York Jewish Week, the Jewish Forward, Zeek, Sh’ma, and the Washington Post: On Faith. The JTA included him in their 2010 “Twitter 100” list of the most influential Jewish voices on Twitter. You can follow him @BurtonJM.
Jeremy has a B.A. in political science from Queens College of the City University of New York.