Meet AJFF: 2020 AJFF Guest Programming Co-Chair, Dave Schechter


We're incredibly proud that AJFF attracts some of the most talented, passionate people. 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 2020 AJFF Guest Programming Co-Chair and journalist Dave Schechter.

A Little Bit about Dave 

Dave is a journalist, currently working as a freelance writer. He worked many years for CNN and before that as a newspaper reporter and television news editor. As a child, he watched too much television, including old movies on WGN in Chicago. Dave is married to the multi-talented Audrey Galex. They have a daughter and two sons.

How did you come to be involved with AJFF?

Not quite a decade ago, someone decided that my journalism experience (from the Midwest to the Middle East) and my CNN connections would be of value, and I was invited to join the Guest Programming committee.

What is the most interesting challenge, in improving AJFF, that you get to help with?

To broaden the pool of potential guest speakers beyond the otherwise well-qualified “usual suspects,” and to identify people with knowledge of a subject and the ability to engage an audience. As the festival has grown so has the need to tap into more of the area’s universities and colleges, groups serving the needs of Atlanta’s diverse communities, and the less-established Jewish communal organizations.

What is your fondest memory from being involved with AJFF?

Last year I had the honor and pleasure of introducing From Cairo to the Cloud: The World of the Cairo Geniza, a story in which my great-grandfather played a central role, before an audience that included my mother, one of my sisters, my wife, and our children.

How has your experience outside of AJFF played into your work with the festival?

Much of my freelance writing has concerned Atlanta’s Jewish community, and contacts I have made in that work have been beneficial to the festival as guest speakers, and also as members of the Guest Programming committee.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being involved with AJFF?

Hearing back that a speaker I have recommended has done a good job. And, truth be told, the meetings are fun.

How do you describe AJFF to those who've never experienced it?

A presentation of films from the humorous to the serious, from features to documentaries, coming from numerous countries, in various languages, about aspects of Jewish life ranging from the secular to the religious, about Israel’s history and how it lives today, about the connection between the Jewish past and present,

What's your favorite AJFF film, and why? 

From Cairo to the Cloud: The World of the Cairo Geniza because of its family connection; The 90-Minute War, with soccer at its roots; and The Last Suit, as well told a story as any I’ve seen.

Who would you cast to play you in a film?

Tom Hanks (I don’t see a resemblance, but I’ve heard it enough) or Brad Dourif.

Thank you to Dave for his long-time support and input around AJFF’s efforts throughout the years. Stay tuned to see whom we profile next month.