Pictured above: Judy Bozarth with AJFF Board President Max Leventhal at the 2019 AJFF Opening Night
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 AJFF copy editor, Judy Bozarth.
A Little Bit about Judy
I have two adult children, five step-grandsons and my son and daughter-in-law are expecting a baby girl. Besides being wild about movies, I’m a huge Broadway fan and go to NYC where I’m from, a few times a year to indulge that passion. I write short stories, I’m slowly learning Hebrew, and I love getting to the beach, and occasionally to more distant destinations.
How did you come to be involved with AJFF?
I started in technology with IBM and got into freelance writing and editing when I had my children. I first attended the festival in 2005, and a couple of years later I asked how the movies were selected. Fest co-founder Judy Marx described the Film Evaluation Committee and invited me to join. I was thrilled to be a member—this is now my twelfth year—and that first year I offered to edit the program guide. My AJFF involvement has grown ever since.
What is the most interesting challenge, in improving AJFF, that you get to help with?
I love making sure that all the content I’m asked to review or write, whether film descriptions, general festival information, speeches, outreach material, and so on, are presented accurately and appealingly. And I appreciate that my suggestions regarding various items, count.
What is your fondest memory from being involved with AJFF?
I love spreading news to friends and many others about the yearly fest as well as the newer year-round offerings, like the AJFF Selects series films. I jokingly take credit for whenever the ticket ordering jams up because I’ve personally informed so many folks of my favorite films!
How has your experience outside of AJFF played into your work with the festival?
Since I see so many movies both related to the festival and not, I’ve developed a pretty good feeling for what an audience will find alluring. I think my hit rate is eighty to ninety percent. Like someone trying new foods to find lip-smacking delight, I know a strong film (by my standards) when I see it!
What is the most rewarding aspect of being involved with AJFF?
Getting happy, excited feedback from folks to whom I gave film recommendations, and watching our audiences enthusiastically respond to the overall fest experience, both thrill me!
How do you describe AJFF to those who've never experienced it?
Jewish or not, it’s a wonderful way for people of all persuasions to learn something new or just kick back, alone, or with others. For me, AJFF has provided a conduit to my true Jewish sensibility. I am totally secular by upbringing, but through my AJFF connection, I know that I am indeed Jewish.
What's your favorite AJFF film, and why?
Nearly impossible to answer, but a recent favorite is 2019’s A Fortunate Man, an extraordinary film with perfect performances, dazzling cinematography, and an absorbing storyline about class structure, religious doctrine, social issues, family tensions, and romantic love…an exquisitely filmed epic not to be missed.
Thank you to Judy for her dedication over the years! Stay tuned to see whom we profile next.