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Speaking Engagements and Workshops

 

A GOOD UPLIFT is a light-hearted glimpse into a Lower East Side lingerie shop where owner and Jewish grandmother, Magda, embraces and enhances women of all shapes and sizes in pursuit of the perfect bra.

 

Post Screening Discussion:

1. Body image workshop for women (pre-teens through adults) using written study guides. This workshop offers a critical, introspective look at how body image is defined, shaped and constructed by media forces and societal expectations, and encourages participants to share thoughts about their own bodies and breasts in a nonjudgmental environment. This program was piloted successfully at ten summer camps and girls organizations in conjunction with the film's PBS broadcast in July 2004.

 

2. Paired with The New Old Country, this film looks at the construction of Jewish identity through space and geography and the ties between ethnic and religious identity and place. While the main character, Magda, is a Holocaust survivor, this portion of her life is not explored in the film, which sparks intense discussion among viewers about the problematics/challenges of the filmic medium and the stark differences between written and visual forms of scholarship.

 

THE NEW OLD COUNTRY is a visual essay, which follows the journey of American Jews who flock to the Lower East Side from across the country in search of their grandparents’ stories and memories. Their tourist travels to pickle stands, bialy shops and abandoned synagogues reveal an intricate web of nostalgia, collective memory and the elusive nature of recorded history.

 

Post Screening Discussion:

1. In a community or camp setting, this film works as a catalyst for discussions about storytelling and memory, examining the roles of geography, generational mobility and foodways in the constructions of ethnic and religious identity. I've used the piece with the National Council of Jewish Women and at Jewish women's retreats to explore questions about family storytelling and generational memories as they become coded in objects, food, and place.

 

2. In a classroom setting, this film works as a discussion tool for exploring ethnographic practices in filmic and written forms. Because the film is based on the written scholarship of Jewish historians, contextualizing and contrasting onscreen scenes with written accounts works to highlight various models of historical research, raising key questions about how scholars and artists frame and develop arguments using different media.

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