Pictured: Andy Bauman with his wife, Debbie, and kids Evan and Anna
We're incredibly proud that AJFF attracts some of the most talented, passionate people. We rely heavily on this village to make AJFF what it is, and we're going to introduce you to some of the people who compirse that village. From our staff, to our volunteers, or even to members of our audience, there's a huge group of people that make AJFF a world-class cultural event. This month, we're putting the spotlight on AJFF Steering Committee member and District 6 Sandy Springs City Council member Andy Bauman.
A Little Bit about Andy
A native New Yorker, Andy has been in Atlanta for 30+ years since graduating from Emory University with both undergraduate and law degrees. Andy practiced law before moving into the business side owning, investing in and managing real estate. Andy, along with his wife Dr. Debbie Bauman and children Evan and Anna, resides in Sandy Springs, where he co-founded the Sandy Springs Farmers Market (with Jeffrey Langfelder) and is currently serving his 2nd term on the Sandy Springs City Council.
How did you come to be involved with AJFF?
At first, like most people, Debbie and I just attended lots of AJFF movies. At some point, I guess because of my role in Sandy Springs, I was asked to join the Steering Committee. I’m thrilled to be more involved in AJFF and so proud that Sandy Springs, in many ways, is the heart and home of the world’s best (and one of the largest) Jewish film festivals.
What is the most interesting challenge, in improving AJFF, that you get to help with?
The biggest challenge with most recurring events is keeping things new and fresh. For AJFF, the move to the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, as a new space for the 2019 AJFF, presents new challenges – and many opportunities – due to the size and scale of the venue. I hope to help AJFF explore the many creative ways we can use the Sandy Springs PAC not just during the festival, but throughout the year, to expand the programming and also the audience demographics.
What is your fondest memory from being involved with AJFF?
Hands down, it’s going to the movies. And not just seeing the movies (of course, some of the movies are not very pleasant to watch) – but the whole experience of seeing friends and acquaintances, schmoozing, and eating more popcorn and candy than I should admit!
How has your experience outside of AJFF played into your work with the festival?
As the co-founder/organizer of the Sandy Springs Farmers Market, I experienced firsthand the challenge of pulling off a recurring community event with very little resources and conditions and circumstances often beyond your control. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow! Most importantly, I learned of the necessity of keeping things new, fresh and interesting to keep people coming back. Now, my work in Sandy Springs helps me to understand and help AJFF to navigate through bureaucratic issues that come up from time to time.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being involved with AJFF?
Being around such dedicated and passionate people from our community, who are committed to putting on a great film festival. A fringe benefit is getting to see the list of movies before they are announced!
How do you describe AJFF to those who've never experienced it?
Be prepared to see a lot of movies some of which will make you want to laugh out loud, or cry, or be filled with anger or disbelief. It’s the nature of this film festival – such a wide variety of films touching on many themes, but all connected in some way to the “Jewish Experience.”
What's your favorite AJFF film, and why?
Seriously? This is like asking me to remember what I had for lunch one day last week. Ask me this again during the film festival!
Who would you cast to play you in a film?
I’ve had people who say I remind them of Rob Morrow (Northern Exposure and many other TV shows and films), which is funny because I grew up next door to him.
Thank you to Andy for his time this month and his ongoing support of AJFF. Stay tuned to see whom we profile next month.