JWA News Release: March 2, 2004
The Jewish Women's Archive in Conjunction with The Boston Jewish Film Festival Screens Inspiring Documentaries with Special Guests, Discussions at Boston Public Library, April 20–May 11, 2004
Boston, MA, March 2, 2004—As part of a program celebrating 350 years of Jewish Women Building Communities in North America, the Jewish Women's Archive will host a Tuesday evening documentary film series about pioneering American Jewish women at the Boston Public Library, April 20–May 11.
Curated and presented by The Boston Jewish Film Festival, each film will focus on women who have broken new ground and forged new frontiers. Films will be screened on Tuesday at 6 PM in the library's Rabb Auditorium and each will be followed by a discussion with guest directors and film subjects.
The opening film on April 20th, Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House, tells the story of two middle-class Jewish housewives who dare to take their relationship out of the closet and become committed partners and inspiring social activists. The subjects of the film, Ruthie Berman and Connie Kurtz, will be on hand for a post-screening discussion.
On April 27th there will be a special screening of Blue Vinyl by award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand. This film, a powerful investigation into the health and environmental impact of vinyl manufacturing, balances horror with humor, and links popular entertainment, grassroots activism and a call for corporate accountability in a way that is engaged and enlightened. Co-director Judith Helfand, winner of the Sundance 2002 Excellence in Cinematography Award, will be available for questions after the showing. Blue Vinyl is co-presented in memory of Susan Bailis by the Silent Spring Institute and the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition.
Local filmmakers Ian Brownell and Webb Wilcoxen's portrayal of the life and works of local woman Norma Canner will show on May 4th. A Time to Dance is a compelling documentary of the career of the charismatic pioneering dance therapist who lives and works in Cambridge. Norma Canner and filmmaker Ian Brownell will be present for discussion post-screening.
The final film in the series will screen on May 11th. Thunder in Guyana tells the fascinating story of Janet Rosenberg Jagan, a Jewish woman from Chicago who, in 1997, at the age of 77, became president of the South American country of Guyana. Director Suzanne Wasserman, a distinguished historian and cousin of Janet Rosenberg Jagan, will be present to discuss her film.
The Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) is a national, nonprofit organization with a mission to uncover, chronicle and transmit the rich legacy of Jewish women and their contributions to our families and our communities, to our people and our world. Founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1995, JWA was one of the first organizations in the Jewish community to stake a claim in the new frontier of the web, and continues to innovate in its use of the virtual world for academic, cultural, archival and educational purposes. JWA has become a leading advocate for and center of education in Jewish women's history. For more information, visit the JWA website at jwa.org.
About the 350th Anniversary
In September 1654 twenty-three people, including women, men and children, landed in New Amsterdam on the ship St. Cathrien to form the first Jewish settlement in North America. The presence of women and children indicates that these Jews were the first to come to the North American continent in search not only of trade, but also of a home. 2004 marks 350 years since this first communal settlement of Jews in North America. JWA is serving as a coordinator and catalyst for programs focused on women and their contributions. For more information or to sign up for updates about 350th activities go to jwa.org/discover/350years.
About the Boston Jewish Film Festival
The Boston Jewish Film Festival presents the best contemporary films from around the world on Jewish themes at its annual Festival and throughout the year. Through features, shorts, documentaries, and conversations with visiting artists, the Festival explores Jewish identity, the current Jewish experience, and the richness of Jewish culture in relation to a diverse modern world. The Boston Jewish Film Festival, Inc., is a not-for-profit organization. For information on current events, visit www.bjff.org.