About Us
One of the largest and most respected Jewish film festivals in North America, the Washington Jewish Film Festival (WJFF) is an international exhibition of cinema that celebrates the diversity of Jewish history, culture and experience through the moving image. In addition to the annual festival, the WJFF presents an ongoing, year-round film series, in our home venue at the DCJCC.

The WJFF annually serves over 15,000 people through 80+ screenings, nearly all of which are regional, US or world premieres.

Most screenings are followed by discussions with guest filmmakers and subject matter experts.

The 25th Festival lit up screens throughout the DC metropolitan area from February 19-March 1, 2015.

WJFF Staff

Ilya-Tovbis-2Ilya Tovbis became the director of the Washington Jewish Film Festival Director in 2012. He has extensive programming experience in both the Jewish and broader film worlds, having previously worked with the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF), The Picture House, The JCC of NY’s Israel Film Center and the Mill Valley Film Festival.

Prior to coming on as the WJFF Director, Ilya was the Director of Programming at The Picture House, a historic arthouse cinema located in Southern Westchester. The theater annually attracted over 25,000 people to a varied selection of programming with a focus on international, documentary and independent film.

Before his tenure with The Picture House, Ilya worked at two of the nation’s most prestigious Jewish film programs — the SFJFF and The JCC in Manhattan’s Israel Film Center (IFC). The SFJFF is the country’s oldest and largest Jewish Film Festival, while the IFC is the preeminent US body focused on the promotion of Israeli cinema.

Anthony Collebrusco is the Festival Box Office and Operations Coordinator. Prior to joining WJFF, he performed archives research and non-theatrical sales at Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He holds a Masters Degree in Mass Communication Research from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Lily Singer is the WJFF Festival Associate. She comes to the WJFF with 7+ years of film festival experience under her belt. With humble beginnings at the Hamptons International Film Festival as Production Office Manager, she quickly joined the festival circuit and has now worked for 9 different organizations, and over 30 festivals.

Previously she has run the Screenings Department at the Tribeca Film Festival, and managed Theater Operations for the Miami International Film Festival, as well as the Ajyal Youth Film Festival, in Doha, Qatar.

After the Washington Jewish Film Festival she will begin her fifth season as the Director of Guest Relations and Guest Services at the Nantucket Film Festival.  While passionate about film, her first love – and degree, is in painting and photography. She continues to create art both personally and professionally.

Felicia Pride is the Festival Production Coordinator. She is a writer and producer who works across platforms and who has more than ten years experience working in media. She’s the head of interactive studio pride collaborative, where she develops and collaborates on innovative film and media projects and has worked with PBS, NPR, the World Bank, Participant Media and more.

She’s been tapped by director Ava DuVernay to head the education arm of her film distributor AFFRM. Pride is also the director of storytelling institute StoriesLead, the co-organizer of StoryCode DC, a community for transmedia storytellers and the founder of The Create Daily, a startup that matches media makers with career-advancing opportunities.

Felicia is the author of several books, including the essay collection The Message, which was published by media giant NBC Universal. Her latest book, To Create, is a collection of interviews with black storytellers and media makers. She holds an M.A. in writing and publishing from Emerson College.

WJFF Film Council


Dina Gold, Co-Chair

Dina Gold, a former television journalist with the BBC in London, recently became a US citizen. She now works as a senior editor at “Moment” magazine.


Sid Moskowitz, Co-Chair

Sid Moskowitz, a retired Trademark Attorney, presently invests in real estate. He is enamored with the DCJCC and all it does for the Washington DC community and the Washington Jewish Film Festival for the great films that it brings to our community throughout the year.


Patty Abramson

Patty Abramson is a founding partner and Managing Director of the Women’s Growth Capital Fund, and co-founder of WomenAngels.net. Ms. Abramson spent more than 20 years in the marketing and communications field, most recently as Founder and President of her own firm, Abramson Communications, and previously as Vice President of the women-owned firm of Hager, Sharp & Abramson.

She has worked on behalf of a variety of corporate and not-for-profit clients throughout her career, specializing in work for national women’s organizations and on behalf of women’s financial, work, pay equity, health and education issues. Ms. Abramson has contributed to the economic and social development of greater Washington through involvement on the DC Commission for Women, the DC Human Rights Commission and the Mayor’s Overall Economic Development Commission.


Michele Berman

Michele Berman is a long time board member of the DCJCC where she has been active with Theater J and former co-chair of its Council, the J’s annual Gala, Nominating Committee and Executive Committee. She also serves as a Vice Chair of the Arena Stage Board of Trustees. She is very excited to be working on this 25th anniversary year of the film festival.


Ed Cohen

Ed Cohen is a lifetime thespian; classically trained at NNHS and UR. Cohen began a 41 year sabbatical to practice tax law before auditioning for Hollywood and Broadway. Told he needed Film Council experience, he is currently completing his 6th year on the WJFF Film Council. Spending his winters in Palm Springs may be the closest he gets to Hollywood. Cohen says, “It’s a pleasure working with the members of our Film Council to bring great films to the DC area.” 


Sara Cohen


Alan Malasky

Alan Malasky is a long-time resident of the Washington, DC area and spent over 45 years practicing law as a partner in several of the city’s largest law firms before retiring from full-time practice a few years ago. In addition to sitting on several Boards, Alan currently serves as an arbitrator in matters involving commercial disputes  and investor/broker securities disputes. He also serves as a consultant to both lawyers and their clients in matters involving large-scale litigation and certain highly specialized areas of the law.

He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, and has argued major cases in Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal throughout the United States. Alan and his wife Marian are dedicated movie and theater goers who have a particular interest in films focusing on the culture, heritage, successes and, yes, struggles of the Jewish people.


Joy Midman

Joy Midman is the founding executive director of the National Association for Children’s Behavioral Health and mental health policy advocate for over 40 years. Washington, D.C. resident active in Jewish communal, political and social justice organizations and causes.  Proud mother of Daniel!


Diane Wattenberg

Diane (pictured on her way to see Avatar) spent her childhood seeing movies at the Capitol, Palace and Columbia theaters on F Street.

As a teen, her Saturday afternoons were spent at the Sheridan theater on Georgia Avenue. She saw her first Bergman film (Wild Strawberries) at the Takoma theater. And she still loves going to the movies.

Aviva Kempner, WJFF Founder and Advisor

Aviva Kempner’s career goal is to make films about under-known Jewish heroes. She produced and conceived Partisans of Vilna, wrote, produced and directed the critically acclaimed Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg. Kempner directed, wrote and produced the Emmy nominated and Peabody awarded The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg and its new DVD version. She premiering her latest film, The Rosenwald Schools at the 2015 WJFF.

Miriam Mörsel Nathan, WJFF Director Emerita

Miriam Mörsel Nathan co-founded the Washington Jewish Film Festival in 1990 with Founding Director Aviva Kempner.  In addition to her work as Festival Director, she served as a Juror for the Mayor’s Award for Films of the Jewish Experience at the Jerusalem International Film Festival and was Co-Curator of the Israeli Film Festival for the Kennedy Center Celebration of Israel’s 50th Anniversary. A poet and visual artist, Miriam’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is in private collections both nationally and abroad.

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