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2019 Festival Guests

Lana Alman

HIAS Board Member — Present for Eldorado

Lana Alman is originally from Tiraspol, Moldova, and came to the US in 1990.  With the help of HIAS, Lana and her family were resettled in Cleveland, Ohio.  Lana’s personal immigration experience shaped her academic and professional careers.  As a Fulbright Fellow in Chile, Lana explored labor mobility and capacity building of Peruvian female migrants in domestic service, and in Mexico she conducted field work related to drug trafficking and money laundering.  After 9/11, Lana spent time at the former Immigration & Naturalization Service, and worked with detained unaccompianed Hispanic minors at the Northwester Legal Clinic.  As a Lead Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, Lana focuses on projects related to healthcare and immigration.  For over five years, Lana oversaw a team of Spanish-language writers and translators for Obamacare to ensure that millions of Spanish speaking consumers had access to healthcare.

Shenna Bellows

Executive Director, Holocaust and Human Rights Center – in attendance for Who Will Write Our History (Portland)

Shenna Bellows joined the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine as Executive Director in June, 2018. Shenna is also a State Senator for Senate District 14 in Kennebec  County. Shenna led the ACLU of Maine as Executive Director for eight years and served as Interim Executive Director for LearningWorks. Most recently, Bellows owned a nonprofit consulting firm providing services to a range of nonprofit organizations ranging from the Maine Women’s Lobby to the Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition. She was a key leader on the successful 2012 marriage equality campaign and co-chaired the successful 2011 statewide ballot campaign to restore same day voter registration. She served as a volunteer with the Peace Corps in Panama and AmeriCorps VISTA in Nashville.

Alison Beyea

Executive Director, ACLU Maine – in attendance for Seeing Allred

Alison Beyea is the Executive Director at the ACLU of Maine, where she oversees the organization’s legal, legislative, public education and development activities.  Before joining the ACLU of Maine in 2014, Ms. Beyea held a variety of position in not-for-profit and educational institutions, including the University of Maine Law School.

Rory Bradley

Professor at Colby College — in attendance for The Interpreter

Rory Bradley, Visiting Assistant Professor of German, earned a BA in the College of Letters (an interdisciplinary program in history, literature and philosophy) and German Studies from Wesleyan University (2007) and a PhD from the Carolina Duke Graduate Program in German Studies (2016). Before coming to Colby in 2017, Professor Bradley taught German language and literature at Wake Forest University.

John CAriani

Actor and Playright — in attendance for The Band’s Visit

John Edward Cariani is an American actor and playwright. Cariani is best known as the unwavering forensic expert Julian Beck in Law & Order. On stage, he earned a Tony Award nomination for his role as Motel the Tailor in the 2004 Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof. As a playwright, he is best known for his first play, Almost Maine, which has become one of the most frequently produced plays in the United States. He starred on Broadway in the Tony Award winning musical Something Rotten! as Nigel Bottom and starred in the Tony Award winning Broadway musical The Band’s Visit.

Rabbi Sruli DResdner

Rabbi, Congregation Shalom, Auburn – in attendance for 93 Queen

Rabbi Sruli Dresdner combines the best of many worlds — a scholarly background in Talmud and the law, musical virtuosity, a passionate Jewish spirit, and a gift for creating a happy and magical community.  His initial educational background and work experiences were in secular law in New York City.  After many years of in-depth Torah study, Rabbi Dresdner received Rabbinic Ordination from Dean Rabbi Yitzchak Wasserman, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Judaic Studies from the Denver Talmudic Seminary.  In addition, Rabbi Sruli and his wife Lisa are international Jewish performers and personalities.  They have been featured on PBS-TV and National Public Radio, and have headlined at many international and national Jewish festivals.

David Fagin, PHD

Clinical Psychologist — in attendance for Shockwaves

David Faigin is a licensed clinical psychologist who has worked with adults in a variety of treatment settings including crisis respite, counseling centers, community mental health agencies, and large medical centers. He has extensive experience working with veterans and their family members both in the Department of Veterans Affairs and other community settings. David is currently a staff psychologist with the VA Maine Health Care System working at the Lewiston/Auburn VA Outpatient Clinic. David specializes in the treatment of post-traumatic stress and provides psychotherapy for a wide variety of mental health difficulties, as well as post-service/deployment readjustment and reintegration struggles. Additionally, David specializes in developing community-based arts initiatives focused on helping warriors reintegrate and use art to process their military experiences  and share them with the wider community.

Lisa Hurwitz

Filmmaker, The Automat — in attendance for The Automat

A first-time feature director, Lisa was among five emerging filmmakers invited to compete in the 2016 Paley DocPitch in New York City. Lisa who until two weeks ago was a staff member of Stroum JCC of Greater Seattle Arts+Ideas and the Seattle Jewish Film Festival, just finished her very first week living in New York City and working for the communications firm Barabino & Partners.

Emily Isaacson, PHD

Artistic Director, Oratorio Chorale and The Portland Bach Experience – in attendance for Itzhak (Portland)

Dr. Emily Isaacson’s performances have been heralded as “inventive, enlightening, and moving” (Portland Press Herald) and “little short of phenomenal” (Maine Classical Beat).  Considered a dynamic, emerging leader,  Isaacson in 2008 helped to launch Roomful of Teeth, a GRAMMY-winning new vocal music ensemble, and in 2015 was awarded third place for the American Prize in Performing Arts, Choral Conducting,   Isaacson is Artistic Director of the Oratorio Chorale, a symphonic chorus and professional orchestra in southern Maine, and Artistic Director of the Portland Bach Experience, a festival celebrating the music of the Baroque era in both familiar and progressive formats that help listeners bridge the musical traditions of the past with the experience of the 21st century.

Alexander Jaegerman

Director of Planning & Development, Yarmouth — in attendance for Citizen Jane

Alexander Jaegerman is the Director of Planning and Development for the Town of Yarmouth, Maine. Previously,until 2015, he was the Director of Portland’s Planning Division, a position he held for over 30 years. He holds a BA in Economics from Antioch College, a Master in City Planning from MIT School of Architecture and Planning, is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and was a Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Studies at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He is active on the Board of Directors of Portland Society for Architecture and Portland Trails.

Jakub Kazecki, PhD

Professor, Bates College  – in attendance for Who Will Write Our History (Lewiston)

Jakub Kazecki joined the faculty in German & Russian Studies in 2012 after teaching German language, literature and film courses at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, CT and McMaster University in Hamilton, ON.  Jakub’s research interests include 20th-century German literature (especially literature about the First World War), images of German-Polish relationships in literature, film and visual arts, and laughter and comedy in different media. He is the author of Laughter in the Trenches: Humour and Front Experience in German First World War Narratives (2012) and the co-editor of the books Heroism and Gender in Film (2014, together with Karen A. Ritzenhoff) and Border Visions: Borderlands in Film and Literature (2013, together with Karen A. Ritzenhoff and Cynthia Miller).

Lisa Mayer

Development Director, The Public Theater – in attendance for 93 Queen

The Maine Rebbetzin, Lisa Mayer, is a Clio-Award winning copywriter from Madison Avenue in New York City who now lives in Auburn, Maine, near lakes, mountains, moose and Starbucks. Her funny, bite-sized memoirs have been featured on the Huffington Post and published in the National Jewish Forward and other newspapers.  She has performed all over the world from Cracow to Jerusalem, and from Montreal to Dallas as a Yiddish singer and Klezmer violinist together with her husband, Rabbi Sruli Dresdner, and has been featured on PBS-TV and National Public Radio. She also started the Maine-ly Jewish Storytelling Festival, now in its fourth year. 

Markos Miller

Owner Ten Ten Pie, Community Activist – In attendance for Citizen Jane

Markos Miller is an educator, community organizer, and entrepreneur. Inspired by Jane Jacobs, he champions citizen empowerment and bottom-up planning. Markos is a founder of the Franklin Reclamation Authority, which rebutted Franklin Street’s current auto-centric design by cultivating a community vision of a vibrant urban street, a place where people will live, work, and play, in addition to commuting on foot, bike, bus, and car. Facilitating dozens of public meetings, workshops, and design charrettes, Markos co-chaired Portland’s Master Plan study for Franklin Street, which was unanimously approved by the City Council in 2016, and supported by Maine DOT. He lives on Munjoy Hill with his wife and son.

Ellen D. Murphy

Irish Culture and History Expert – In attendance for Estella

Ellen D. Murphy’s Irish emigrant forebears were teachers, nurses, cafeteria workers, gardeners, and cops.  Ellen is retired from the New York City Transit Authority, where, for 27 years, she worked as everything from a bus maintenance superintendent to a speechwriter for its senior executives. She is on the board of the American Irish Repertory Ensemble (AIRE Theater) in Portland, and volunteers at the Maine Irish Heritage Center.  She is a candidate for a Master’s degree in Gaelic Literature from University College, Cork, expected in the Spring of 2019.  – her thesis looks at radio dramas written by Irish women in the early decades after independence from Britain.

Jodi L. Nofsinger, JD

Trial Attorney, Berman & Simmons – in attendance for Seeing Allred

Attorney Jodi Nofsinger represents people who have been harmed by medical malpractice and those who have suffered serious personal injury. With an educational background in medicine and biology, Jodi is the rare attorney who understands both the law and science of the cases she handles.  Since joining Berman & Simmons in 1997, Jodi has earned a reputation as a tenacious and effective advocate for her clients. She is a natural competitor who thrives when representing the underdog and holding the powerful accountable.

OLD blues kats

Blues Duo – in attendance for Satan and Adam

The Old Blues Kats feature DW Gill on harmonica and vocals with Doug Wainoris on guitar and vocals.   Old blue Kats performances feature Delta, Ragtime, Louisiana, Zydeco, Cajun, and Texas & Country Blues.

Primo Cubano

 Present for closing reception

Primo Cubano plays traditional Cuban dance music dating back tot he turn of the 20th century.  Son is the most popular style to come out of Cuba and is the primary contributor to the blendof Latin styles today known as Salsa.  It was first a music of the country people and eventually migrated to Havana, where it was urbanized and began to draw a wider audience.

Josh Schoenfeld, PHD

Psychologist — in attendance for Shockwaves

Josh Schoenfeld is a psychologist with Compass Mental Health Maine in Portland.  Before becoming a psychologist, he served for three years as a combat medic; this experience helped shape his professional direction and his special interest in working with veterans and treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Raffael Scheck, PHD

Professor, Colby College — in attendance for Waldheim Waltz (Waterville)

Raffael Scheck is the Audrey Wade Hittinger Katz and Sheldon Toby Katz Profession of History at Colby College.  He has published extensively on European and German history.

Carolyn SwaRtz

Pianist — in attendance for Jewish Luck

Carolyn Swartz is a creative strategist, writer and filmmaker who recently moved from Manhattan to Munjoy Hill.  A classically trained jazz pianist, Carolyn began to live-score silent films while working as a camerawoman in a still-divided Berlin. Back in New York city, she accompanied silent films for The Film Society at Lincoln Center, the New York Film Festival, Scandinavia House, Film Forum, and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Here in Portland, she is on the Board of the film education not-for-profit KINONIK, for which she’s scoring a series of silent classics at St. Lawrence Arts. Her writing about food, arts and culture can be found in ZESTMaine Magazine.

Jennifer Wriggins, JD

Sumner T. Bernstein Professor of Law — will be present for Seeing Allred

Professor Wriggins is a nationally recognized scholar whose work focuses on torts, insurance, health law, and family law, with a frequent focus on race and gender. She set the tone for her research with her first published article, Rape, Racism and the Law (Harvard Women’s Law Journal, 1983), which has been reprinted in abridged form many times during the past 30 years. Many of her other articles are frequently cited and excerpted in books. Her recent publications have focused on federal flood insurance and climate change as well as race, racism, and personal injury damages.

Iris Zaki, PHD

Filmmaker, Unsettling — will be present for Unsettling

Iris Zaki is an Israeli film maker. She is best known for her film Unsettling which is a documentary in which she lived in the settlement of Tekoa and filmed conversations there. Her earlier film, Women in Sink, receveived 13 awards and has been screened at over 120 festivals and universities. Zaki completed her PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London and teaches ethnographic and documentary filmmaking.