Closing Night Ceremony

With a mix of sadness and joy, we bid farewell to our first virtual film festival. This recording of the Zoom program recognizes our donors and the festival committee members who worked hard to present the first ever virtual festival. We also present a trailer containing parts of each live event we presented. It’s also a Virtual Lobby where participants talked about the films and the festival. Click here to watch.


The One and Only Jewish Miss America Live Chat

The One and Only Jewish Miss America poster

Click here to watch the discussion of the of the film The One and Only Jewish Miss America.

The One and Only Jewish Miss America will be playing March 21-23. To learn more about the film and view a trailer, click here

We are delighted to have three people associated with the film and with Bess Meyerson to discuss the film, David Arond, Vicki Gold Levi, and Cindy Graff Cohen.

David Arond is the director and producer of The One and Only Jewish Miss America. He started his career in film as a sound effects editor in Hollywood. Later he segued into nonfiction, storytelling, and creating documentaries for PBS, including the MacArthur Foundation Award-winning “Mother of the Year.”  His PBS-TV series work includes producing/directing the weekly program “On The Internet.”  David specializes in international TV and media production, and has worked in Russia, Central Asia, Europe, Mexico, Latin America and Australia. For three years, he was bureau chief and a broadcast journalist in Moscow for Worldwide Television News, London, and the PBS Nightly Business Report.

Vicki Gold Levi was a long-time friend of Bess Myerson, going back to when Vicki, at the age of six, served as her page when Bess returned to the Miss America pageant in 1946 to pass on her crown. Born and raised in Atlantic City, Vicki has shared her hometown’s history through books, television appearances, and museum exhibits.Her father was Al Gold, the city’s first official photographer; some of his photos are featured in this documentary.  Author of five books and a collector of historic photographs and artifacts, Vicki co-founded the Atlantic City Historical Museum and consulted on the PBS documentary “There She Is, Miss America;” DisneyWorld’s Boardwalk Resort in Orlando; and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire series. Vicki is a go-to source for information about the Miss America pageant, having served as a pageant judge herself. 

Cindy Graff Cohen is a writer and editor who has worked with the marketing of “The One and Only Jewish Miss America” since its release a year ago. She will moderate the discussion and looks forward to hearing your questions.

When: Tuesday March 23 @ 12:00 pm (noon) PDT

Where: Click Here

What: A discussion of the film The One and Only Jewish Miss America.

Tango Shalom Cast Party

Tango Shalom poster

Tango Shalom will be playing every day during the Festival.  Learn more about the film and watch a trailer here.


Our Tango Shalom Cast Party was recorded and is available on YouTube.

Meet the director and several of the stars of the film, hear about how the film came to be made, and learn inside details about the making of the film.  You may also have a chance to ask questions.

Our special guests include:

When: Sunday, March 21, 2021 @ 12:00 pm (noon) PST

Where: On YouTube

What: The Tango Shalom Cast Party

Blue Note Live Chat

It Must Schwing poster

It Must Schwing! will be playing March 18-20.  Learn more about the film and watch a trailer here.

Blue Note Live Chat

Sacramento Jazz Guitarist Henry Robinett

Click here to watch three local jazz luminaries discuss the film and the significance of Blue Note Records: 

  • Gary Vercelli has directed Capital Public Radio’s jazz programming since 1980. Formerly the Los Angeles correspondent for Down Beat magazine, Gary brings to his craft as a broadcaster strong journalistic skills. A colleague once told Gary, “When in doubt, play Blue Note.” He says that advice has served him well.
  • Dr. Joe Gilman is a full-time professor of music at American River College, an adjunct professor of jazz studies at CSU Sacramento, and a longtime associate of the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Joe was the music director and pianist for the Capital Jazz Project from 1997 to 2011. He earned bachelor’s degrees in classical piano and jazz studies at Indiana University, a master’s degree in jazz and the contemporary media from the Eastman School of Music, and a doctoral degree in education from the University of Sarasota. He is an active performer and recording artist.Joe played with legendary vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, who was a Blue Note artist.
  • Henry Robinett is a guitarist and composer living in Sacramento, Ca.  He has released 7 albums under his own name and has three more recorded. He has taught jazz at University of the Pacific and The American Institute of Music in Vienna, Austria. For the last almost 30 years Henry has been teaching music in the California prison system. He believes it is important to give back. Henry’s father was the first cousin of jazz great Charles Mingus. Henry lived with Mingus briefly where he met jazz luminaries such as Joni Mitchell, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Dizzy Gillespie, and Woody Shaw.

When: Thursday, March 18 @ 7:00 pm PST

Where: Click here.

What: A discussion of the film It Must Schwing!: The Blue Note Story, with local jazz masters.

Land of Milk and Funny Live Chat

Land of Milk and Funny poster

On March 16, comedians Avi Liberman and Jimmy Shubert joined us on Zoom to discuss the movie Land of Milk and Funny. Click here to watch it.

Land of Milk and Funny will be playing March 15-17. To learn more about the film and view a trailer, click here

Avi Liberman is a comedian, actor and writer. He was born in Israel, grew up in Texas, went to school in New York, and is now LA-based.  

Avi has been seen on CBS, Comedy Central, and numerous other networks, and has done shows for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a screenwriter he recently sold his first film entitled “Miriam” the story of the Exodus as told through the eyes of the women in the story. He has also optioned his second script entitled “Patrick” the story of St. Patrick.

He has been organizing comedy tours to Israel since 2004.

When: Tuesday, March 16, 2021 @ 8:00 pm PST

Where: Click here.

What: A discussion of the film Land of Milk and Funny with comdians Avi Liberman and Jimmy Shubert.

Surviving the Silence Live Chat

Surviving the Silence Poster

Click here to watch a fascinating discussion of the film Surviving the Silence.

To learn more about the film and view a trailer, click here.

Join three of the women featured in the film Surviving the Silence:

  • Cindy Abel – Director and Producer, formed Atlantis Moon Productions in 2007 to develop film-related projects that launch conversations and impact popular culture. She directed and produced the award-winning BREAKING THROUGH, a documentary in which openly LGBT elected officials share their stories of self-doubt and triumph over multiple barriers, revealing a deeply personal, rarely-seen side of politicians and gay people.
  • Sacramentans Colonel Patsy Thompson and her wife Barbara Brass – In 1992, Colonel Patsy Thompson was a decorated Army nurse, only two years away from retirement. She was asked to preside over the military review board that eventually dismissed Colonel Cammermeyer for admitting she was a lesbian. Although Thompson had served her country with distinction for over thirty years—from conflict zones in Central America to working inside the Pentagon—that appointment was perhaps the hardest. In that moment, she had to confront her own moral dilemma and life secret: she too was a lesbian and living privately with her life partner Barbara Brass for many years.
  • Colonel Margarethe CammermeyerDr. Cammermeyer spent 25 years in the VA Medical Health Care system as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Practitioner and Researcher in Neuroscience Nursing. Subsequently, In 1989, having served in the military for 25 years, Colonel Cammermeyer disclosed that she was a lesbian during a Top Secret Security Investigation.  She was ultimately discharged in 1991, filed suit and was reinstated in 1994 when her discharge was ruled unconstitutional. She retired in 1997, after 31 years of service.

Learn more about the events described in the film, how each was affected by these events, and how these events led to changes in military policy.

When: Sunday, March 14 3:00 PM PDT – NOTE: This is Daylight Savings Time!

Where: Click here

What: Discussion with the women whose compelling story is told in the film Surviving the Silence.

About a Teacher Live Chat

About a Teacher poster

Click here to watch an entertaining and educational discussion of the film About A Teacher.

About A Teacher will be playing March 9-11. To learn more about the film and view a trailer, click here

Joining us for this discussion will be the filmmaker Hanon Harchol, and Jason Kamras, Sacramento native and Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools.

Hanon Hachol is a New York based teacher, filmmaker, animator, artist, and classical guitarist. Harchol was born in Kibbutz Kinneret, Israel, and moved to the US at the age of two.

Harchol recently released his first dramatic feature film, entitled ABOUT A TEACHER, a semi-autobiographical narrative, which he wrote, directed, and produced, based on his experience teaching filmmaking to inner-city public high school students. Garnering a 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, critics are raving. The film is currently available on Amazon Prime in the US & UK, and Vimeo on Demand worldwide.

Jason Kamras currently serves as the Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools (RPS). Mr. Kamras views public education as means of promoting equity and justice for all children in the United States. In his various roles, he has advocated for policies to eliminate the “opportunity gap” that disadvantages many low-income children and children of color, and he has led efforts to dismantle institutionalized racism in public schools. 

Before coming to RPS, Mr. Kamras served in numerous senior leadership roles at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). In these roles, he led the design and implementation of a number of key initiatives focused on ensuring excellent instruction in every classroom across the district.

Mr. Kamras began his career in education in 1996 as a mathematics teacher at John Philip Sousa Middle School in Washington DC. In 2005, he was named the United States National Teacher of the Year.

Mr. Kamras earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and his master’s in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

When: Wednesday, March 10, 2021 @ 12:00 pm (noon) PST

Where: Click here.

What: A discussion of the film About A Teacher.

Stranger/Sister Live Chat

Stranger / Sister Poster

On March 7, 2021, the festival hosted a discussion about Jewish and Muslim women joining together to overcome the long history of distrust between their two religions. We were delighted to have had the women listed below as our guests. Please click here to watch a recording of the chat on YouTube. (Clicking here will take to YouTube.)

  • Kirsten Kelly – Senior Producer, Transform Films– Kirsten is an Emmy-Award winning documentary filmmaker who is currently the Senior Producer for Transform Films, overseeing development and production of long- and short-form documentaries. Recent credits include: Stranger/Sister (premiere Fall 2020); Healing the Healers: Communal Trauma documentary series (Golden Telly Award 2020) which supports clergy during moments of mass community trauma. Upcoming: Healing the Healers: Domestic Violence (Fall 2020 Release). Her Emmy-winning independent film, The Homestretch, a feature documentary about homeless high school students in Chicago Public Schools.  Her work has been supported by the ITVS, CPB, AmDoc, MacArthur Foundation, the Sundance Institute, Fledgling Fund, Chicken and Egg, Good Pitch and Bertha Foundation/Brit Docs. She has a diverse background in developing new content which focuses on social justice issues. Kirsten is a Fellow at the Sundance Documentary Institute and a graduate of the Master’s Directing program at The Juilliard School.
  • Katie Taber – Co-Director, Transform Films. Taber’s recent documentary projects include producing Siempre, Luis, which follows Luis Miranda, the father of Lin-Manuel Miranda, as he attempts to mount a production of “Hamilton” in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Siempre, Luis premiered at Sundance 2020 and will stream on HBO this October. She directed the Wavelength Productions feature How to Be Normal, the coming of age story of a young man who, as a child, underwent a unique and controversial treatment for autism. Other projects include the PBS special Into the Night: Portraits of Life and Death and the award-winning Milwaukee 53206. She has worked on films for the PBS series FRONTLINE including Life and Death in Assisted Living, Dollars and Dentists, and The Child Cases, and she was a co-producer on the four-part PBS NOVA series: The Fabric of the Cosmos. Taber co-produced the Emmy-award winning feature documentary Homestretch.
  • Melanie Mages-CanaleFounder, and Co-Chair Sisterhood of Saalam-Shalom, Sacramento. In her first act, Melanie was a special-ed high school teacher before starting her own photography business in 1981. Meanwhile, she was raising two children as a single mom and taking care of her 100-year-old farmhouse in Carmichael. Melanie retired in 2016. In addition to her work with the Sisterhood, she now spends her time enjoying her children, her three grandchildren, gardening and playing piano.Melanie’s efforts have clearly tapped into a need in our community. In three years, the local Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom grew to six chapters plus a teen chapter.
  • Dr. Anne KjemtrupFounder, and Co-Chair Sisterhood of Saalam- Shalom, Sacramento. Dr  Kjemtrup is an active member of the Muslim community in the broader Sacramento Area. In addition to her Sisterhood of Salaam-Shalom activities, she is involved in the management team at SALAM Islamic Center in Sacramento, and participates in several local Muslim and Interfaith organizations. She believes that active participation in these organizations is not only  important for the community but positively influences her family- with all them also engaged in volunteer efforts. Professionally, Dr Kjemtrup works as an epidemiologist with the California Department of Public Health.
  • Meteenah Jackson FisherMember of Sisterhood of Saalam-Shalom, Sacramento Chapter 3 and owner of Jackson LMS Associates, Inc., a Change Management Co., located in Sacramento, Atlanta and Wilmington. Originally from Wilmington, DE, Meetanah has resided in Sacramento for the past four years. She is the mother of two grown sons.

When: Sunday, March 7, 2021 @ 1:00 pm PST

Where: Available on You Tube.

What: A discussion of the film Stranger/Sister and efforts to improve relations between Muslim and Jewish communities.

How: If you have purchased a ticket for the film, you will be sent an e-mail with a Zoom link prior to the event. If you are a pass holder, you will have access via your portal.

Community Havdalah


Watch clergy representing synagogues from throughout the Jewish Federation region in the traditional celebration of the end of the Sabbath. The ceremony was led by Rabbi Matt Rosenberg, Chief Executive Officer of the Einstein Center, and is being presented by the Sacramento Board of Rabbis, the Jewish Federation & the Sacramento Jewish Film Festival. Click here.

When: Saturday, March 6, 2021 @ 7:15 pm PST

Where: Click here to watch recording.

What: Havdalah ceremony and community get-together.

Maverick Modigliani Live Chat

Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne by Maledetto Modigliani

Please click here for a link to an entertaining and educational discussion of the life and art of Amedeo Modigliani and the film Maverick Modigliani which took place on March 4, 2021.

Maverick Modigliani will be playing March 3-5. To learn more about the film and view a trailer, click here

We are delighted to have two experts on Modigliani, Dr. Ken Wayne and Professor Clémence Boulouque.


The established art historian, curator and museum professional Ken Wayne has studied Modigliani for more than 30 years. Dr. Wayne founded The Modigliani Project in 2013 to research and chronicle the art and life of Amedeo Modigliani, promote scholarship, and secure the artist’s legacy for posterity. As The Modigliani Project’s president, Dr. Wayne oversees research and scholarship projects, the Advisory Council’s activities, and the Catalogue Raisonné.

Ken holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University; an M.A. in Modern Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London; and a B.A. in Art History from the University of California at Berkeley. He also studied Art Law at Stanford University Law School. During his career, Dr. Wayne has curated dozens of exhibitions on late 19th- and early 20th-century art. He has served as Deputy Director of The Noguchi Museum; Chief Curator at Heckscher Museum of Art; Curator, Modern Art, at Albright-Knox Art Gallery; and the Joan Whitney Payson Curator at Portland (Maine) Museum of Art.


Clémence Boulouque is the Carl and Bernice Witten Assistant Professor in Jewish and Israel studies at Columbia University. She received her PhD in Jewish Studies and History from New York University and was a postdoctoral Fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania. A graduate of the Institute of Political Sciences in Paris, she holds a B.A. in Art history and a post M.A. degree in Comparative Literature, and she was a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University in the master’s program of the School of International Affairs with a concentration on the Middle East. Prior to her academic career, Clémence worked as a literary and movie critic in Paris. She is also a published novelist and essayist in her native France.  Her interests include Jewish thought and mysticism, interreligious encounters, as well as the intersection between religion and the arts, and religion and psychology. Her latest book, Another Modernity: Elia Benamozegh’s Jewish Universalism, has just come out with Stanford University Press. Her new project deals with the significance of Kabbalah in Twentieth Century art and culture, with a specific emphasis on Modigliani and Jewish mysticism.

When: Thursday, March 4, 2021 @ 12:00 pm (noon) PST

Where: On YouTube.

What: A discussion of the film Maverick Modigliani and the Jews of Livorno, Italy.