THE FILMMAKERS

Alix Wall
Writer and Producer
 

Alix is an award-winning journalist who lives in the Bay Area. 

This year, she won first place in personality profiles in the American Jewish Press Association’s Rockower Awards; her latest in a long list of AJPA awards going back to 1997. She has also been recognized by the New California Media Awards. 

After becoming a personal chef in 2006, Alix started cooking for families part-time and turned her interests to writing primarily about food. As a contributing editor to J. Weekly, the Bay Area’s Jewish newspaper, where she was a staff writer for six years, she writes a monthly column about interesting Jews in the food world as well as other features. She is also a regular contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, Berkeleyside, the Forward, and a number of other publications. 

Alix is also the founder of the Illuminoshi, the Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals, a new networking group for Jews who work in the food industry. 

Alix served on the board of her synagogue, Chochmat HaLev for four years, on the executive committee of the Hazon Food Conferences for two years, and on the program board of the Berkeley Jewish Music Festival for four years. She very much appreciates the Jewish arts and is a regular donor and attendee of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. 

Alix will be both writer and producer of the film and will conduct the interviews. She will also appear on-camera in the film as both a muse and a guide, helping viewers move from place to place around the globe as we investigate the power and reach of “Dos Elnte Kind.” 

Marc Smolowitz
Director and Producer
 

Marc is a multi-award winning director, producer and executive producer with 20+ years of experience across all aspects of the entertainment and media business. 

His career focus has been powerful social issue filmmaking across all genres. His long list of credits includes films that have screened at top-tier festivals - Sundance, Berlinale, AFI Docs, IDFA, Tokyo, Melbourne, among others — and been released worldwide theatrically, across all forms of television, and on VOD/Digital. Select titles including: “Black Is Blue” (Producer, 2014), “Heaven Adores You” (Producer, 2014), “Havana Curveball” (Exec. Producer, 2014), “The Campaign” (Producer, 2013), “Keep The Promise: The Global Fight Against AIDS,” narrated by Margaret Cho (Director/Producer, 2013), “The Power Of Two” (Director/Producer, 2011) “Still Around” (Exec. Producer/Collaborating Director, 2011), “The Weather Underground” (Producer, 2003), “Trembling Before G-d” (Producer, 2001). In recent years, he was the Producer at TellyTopia, a Silicon Valley startup specializing in interactive television, IP-TV and VOD products for cable & satellite companies. In the 1990s, he was widely known as the President & Founder of Turbulent Arts — a boutique, indie film distribution and sales company based in San Francisco that ranked as the 26th largest film company in North America, 14th among independents, at its peak in 1998. Today, he works full-time as an independent filmmaker, while maintaining a thriving consulting practice called 13th Gen that guides filmmakers through key stages of development, fundraising, production, post, completion, and distribution.

Our Relevant History
Alix Wall and Marc Smolowitz met as students at UC Santa Cruz; they were both members of a campus group called Progressive Jewish Student Union. Alix had always been interested in her family’s history, but growing up in Riverside, California, she barely knew other Jews, much less children of Holocaust survivors. The only ones she really knew were the descendants of the friends of her grandparents, who all lived back East.

When Marc debuted his senior project at UCSC in the form of a short film exploring his legacy as the son of a woman who was hidden by a gentile during the Holocaust, Alix was in the audience. She remembers the excitement she felt, in seeing a piece of art exploring the legacy she was all too familiar with, made by one of her peers.

Fast forward almost 30 years. Marc is now a multi-award winning filmmaker in San Francisco; Alix is an accomplished food writer and personal chef in Oakland. Their paths intersected a few times over the years while Alix lived in New York, and they reconnected over Facebook after she moved to the Bay Area.

When they had dinner several years ago, Alix asked Marc as they were saying good night if he had ever felt called to make a film about the Holocaust. He said it was late, and they left that conversation to be continued at a later date. What Alix didn’t know is that a few years later, she’d be asking him to dinner again — this time to pitch him a film idea for “The Lonely Child.”

As soon as Alix formulated the idea in her head for this film, she knew she wanted Marc to be involved. As of this writing, the two have formed a partnership to come together to make this film with Alix as Writer/Producer and Marc as Director/Producer.
ucscsoccer.jpg

EXPERTS

Bret Werb

Bret is Music Collection Curator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, a position he has held since the museum first opened in 1993. In addition to programming the museum’s long-running chamber music series, Werb produced four CD recordings of Shoah song repertoire for the museum: Krakow Ghetto Notebook; Rise Up And Fight!: Songs of Jewish Partisans; Hidden History: Songs of the Kovno Ghetto; and Ballads and Broadsides, the last featuring archival recordings of Polish prisoners’ songs from the Nazi camps. Werb has contributed to several music and Holocaust reference works, including The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians and the Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies. He currently curates the online exhibition Music of the Holocaust." Werb has a PhD in ethnomusicology from UCLA. His dissertation was “Yiddish Songs of the Shoah: A Source Study Based on the Collections of Shmerke Kaczerginski.”

 

David E. Fishman

david_fishman.jpg

David is a professor of Jewish History at The Jewish Theological Seminary, teaching courses in modern Jewish history. Dr. Fishman also serves as director of Project Judaica, JTS’s program in the Former Soviet Union (FSU), which is based at Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow) and Kyiv-Mohyla Academy University (Kiev). Dr. Fishman travels frequently to Moscow and other parts of the FSU on behalf of Project Judaica. He directs its Jewish Archival Survey, which publishes guides to Jewish archival materials in the FSU. Recently he coedited a guide to Jewish collections in the previously top-secret Special Archive in Moscow. Dr. Fishman also writes for the Jewish Daily Forward on Jews and the current situation in Russia and Ukraine.

Dr. Fishman is the author of numerous books and articles on the history and culture of East European Jewry. His books include Russia’s First Modern Jews (New York University Press, 1996) and The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005). Dr. Fishman is the coeditor (with Burton Visotzky) of From Mesopotamia to Modernity: Ten Introductions to Jewish History and Literature (Westview Press, 1999), and edited a volume of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s Yiddish writings, Droshes un ksovim (Ktav, 2009).

For 15 years (1988–2003), Dr. Fishman was editor in chief of YIVO-Bleter, the Yiddish-language scholarly journal of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. He is a member of the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and serves on the editorial boards of Jewish Social Studies and Polin.

His book, “The Book Smugglers,” about the Paper Brigade, among them, poet Kaczerginski, poet Avraham Sutzkever and Alix Wall’s grandmother Rachela Pupko-Krinsky Melezin, will be out with ForEdge Press in 2017.

 

ADVISORS

Eleanor Shapiro

eleanor_shapiro.jpg

Eleanor is completing a PhD dissertation at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California on the subject of Jewish cultural initiatives in Polish small towns. A former Fulbright fellow in Krakow, she is the former director of the Bay Area-based Jewish Music Festival, the first major festival of Jewish music in the U.S. (Director 2004-15; Co-Director 1998-2003). Prior positions include development director of the Crowden School and Crowden Center for Music in the Community (Berkeley), Public Relations Officer for the San Francisco Municipal Railway, Public Information Officer for the San Francisco Public Library, Community Outreach for the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival as well as the Magnes Jewish Museum. She is a former singer/performer with Young Audiences (a program that brings music into public schools) and teacher and journalist based in Jerusalem (1983-1990). She holds a BA in History and Judaic and Near East Studies from Oberlin College (1976) and an MA in Journalism from UC Berkeley (1993).

 

Janis Plotkin

janis_plotkin.jpg

Janis Plotkin is a senior film programmer for the Mill Valley Film Festival and the California Film Institute. She also served as director and co-director of The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival for over 20 years. She is also the producer of the documentary “Plastic Man” about Bay Area artist Jerry Barrish.