Stuart Hands appointed as Director of Programming at TJFF

Stuart Hands takes over as Director of Programming 

at Toronto Jewish Film Festival


After two years as Programme Manager, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival (TJFF) is happy to position Stuart Hands as Director of Programming.

Stuart joined The Toronto Jewish Film Festival in 2006 where he worked in a number of capacities, building himself up from Assistant Programme Manager, to Programme Manager and now Director of Programming.  He holds a Master’s degree in film studies from York University, and specializes in Jewish culture and film, as well as gender and ethnicity in American cinema. After completing his Master’s degree, Stuart interned at the New York Jewish Museum where he assisted the programmers of the 2008 New York Jewish Film Festival, and became the official festival blogger.  He has lectured on the Hollywood Blacklist, and published several articles in CineAction, a leading film studies journal in Canada and around the world.

With his knowledge of filmmaking and filmmakers, not to mention his talent in finding the most hidden prolific archival film that no one has heard or seen in a very long time, if ever, definitely puts him in a league of his own.

“Stuart’s brain is an encyclopaedia of film,” says Artistic Director Helen Zukerman. “It enables him to reach way, way back and unearth facts and films, long forgotten by us mere mortals. He is a constant delight!”

The Toronto Jewish Film Festival will celebrate its 23rd season from April 30 through May 10, 2015, when it will offer over 90 films representing more than 15 countries.

“I feel very privileged to be given this position.” Says Stuart Hands. “The festival has a wonderful 23-year history and I am honoured to be part of it.”

TJFF’s Team of Programmers and Management includes:

Jeremie Abessira: After working as the Festival Coordinator in Toronto for Cinefranco, Jeremie was in charge of,  Un poing C’est court, a short film Festival in Lyon, France. Back in Toronto he worked at the Worldwide Short Film Festival, as well as the Italian Contemporary Film Festival, and more recently, the Toronto International Film Festival as Guest Coordinator. He has worked with the Toronto Jewish Film Festival since 2009, and joins the team as a programmer for the TJFF 2013 edition.

Allen Braude has over 18 years experience working with and programming for a variety of film festivals including The Toronto International Film Festival, The Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children (now TIFF Kids), Inside Out (Toronto), Out on Screen (Vancouver), the Tumbleweeds Film Festival for Children and Youth (Salt Lake City) and the Breast Fest Film Festival (Toronto), the world’s only film festival dedicated to breast cancer awareness and education. He holds a degree in film studies and production from Simon Fraser University.

Rani Sanderson has worked for over 15 years as a video artist, VJ and film programmer in many countries, cities, islands, clubs, events and festivals around the world.  More recently, she received a Master in Environmental Studies, where she concentrated on community arts and environmental education.  Rani develops and teaches creative literacy, arts, digital storytelling and urban education programs for children with Small Print Toronto, Harbourfront Centre, Luminato Arts & Culture Festival, FoodShare, Regent Park Focus, Fort York and Story Planet, among others.

Susan Starkman, has a B.A. and M.Ed from University of Toronto. She did her teaching degree in English and Media Studies and, prior to joining the Jewish Film Festival, spent ten years teaching at Methodist Ladies’ College in Melbourne, Australia. Susan has produced film study guides for the Jewish Film Festival, TIFF Kids (formerly Sprockets) and HBO in the United States.

Helen Zukerman is the artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival.  Helen has successfully guided the vision of the Festival for the last 21 years, resulting in a world acclaimed event. She has been invited to attend numerous festivals worldwide and has developed a strong network within the festival industry.

Debbie Werner is TJFF’s Executive Director. She first joined the Festival in 2009 as Director of Operations, before being promoted to Managing Director in 2012, and to her current position in early 2014.  A graduate of the University of Toronto, Debbie possesses 16-years experience in marketing and event management.