Click here for PDF Edition

2016-01-15 digital edition

TODAY in the Jewish World:

Click on logo for link:

Click on logo for link:

The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


January 15, 2016  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Film Festival honors three who helped fuel growth, success

The Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary with the screening of 11 films over eight days in March, along with honoring three people who have helped make the festival successful over the years.

The films, including six award winners, will be shown at venues throughout the area from March 2-9.

Since 2012 when the Film Festival created the Starr Award to honor those who have been key supporters of the festival, one recipient was named each year. This year, the Plantinum anniversary of the festival, three people – Cathy Gardner, Susan Heyman and Michael White – have been chosen as honorees.

The award winners are chosen for their involvement, dedication, passion, knowledge and support of the film festival by the event chairs: Stewart Donnell, Sara Scher and Steve Schwersky.

The honorees will be celebrated at the opening festivities on March 2 at the The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. Opening night will also feature the film, Remember, a Holocaust drama from Canada, starring Christopher Plummer. A champagne dessert reception will follow the film. Tickets are $18.

The Starr Award was named for its first recipient in 2012, Jesse Starr, one of the festival founders. He served as co-chair of the festival for many years and is currently chair emeritus of the event. Starr, a film aficionado, is also a sponsor of the annual Holocaust Educational Film Series, which offers a field trip to the Tampa Theater for local students to attend the series.

About the Starr Award recipients

Cathy Gardner was a key player in bringing the Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival to new heights back in the festival’s earlier days. As director of the Film Festival, her creativity and passion for the arts allowed her to lead the festival committee into becoming one of Tampa Bay’s most anticipated cultural arts programs. Gardner has been involved in Jewish culture and has worked for a variety of Jewish organizations for many years.

Among her duties: women’s campaign director of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, campaign director of the Tampa JCC & Federation, director of the Tampa JCC and director of marketing and development of Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services. In between her stints working in the Jewish communal world, she spent several years living in Israel.

In 2012 she moved to Ohio and became executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton. She comes by her Federation work naturally, as her father was once president of the Tampa JCC & Federation.

* * *

Susan Heyman and Michael White, have been supporting the Film Festival for more than a decade. Their enthusiasm for the festival has been an intricate part in the high attendance at theaters across Pinellas County as well as the community involvement from Sisterhoods and Brotherhoods. Heyman and White both attend as many films as possible each year and their opinions and ideas are considered by the festival committee to be ones of trusted film fans. Heyman, who moved to Pinellas County in 1972, served as program director, then executive director of the now defunct Golda Meir Center for seniors. As a member of Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater for more than 40 years, hers volunteer activities included serving as president of the congregation.

Like Heyman, White also served as president of the Beth Shalom congregation and has served as president of the congregation’s Men’s Club. “Our passion for both theater and movies makes us proud to support the Jewish Film Festival,” White said.

Past recipients of the Starr award are: 2012, Jesse Starr; 2013, Rina Donchin; 2014, Sharon Feen-Wallace and 2015, Mindy Solomon.

To learn more about the Platinum Year anniversary of the festival, see ad on Pages 10-11, visit or call (813) 264- 9000.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Click ads below for larger version