Last weekend Aviva visited Longue Vue House & Gardens, the New Orleans home of Julius Rosenwald’s daughter Edith Stern, for a special screening of Rosenwald. Edith, like her father, was a gracious philanthropist, humanitarian, civil rights activist, and assisted in the establishment of Dillard University. The home now serves as not only a museum and garden, but a great learning facility for everyone with tours of the estate. While visiting, Aviva was able to join a tour and take some photos of the lovely household.
Needless to say, with a screening at such a historic place rich with culture and educational resources, the film drew a large crowd and filled the venue.
Aviva Kempner took a trip to California during late July and early August to promote Rosenwald, screening the film at various theaters throughout the area to many wonderful crowds.
First, a preview screening of Rosenwald was held at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, CA on July 27th where it was warmly received in a packed house. The event was held in collaboration with the NAACP Hollywood Bureau and TheWrap. After the show, Sharon Waxman, journalist and founder of TheWrap, interviewed the director Aviva Kempner. Among those in the audience were actor Shelly Berman, who has a brief appearance in the film and director Arthur Hiller, former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, with his family.
On July 31st, Aviva Kempner returned to the Castro Theatre in San Francisco to screen her fourth film at the wonderful San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Started as the first Jewish Film Festival in the world in 1980, the festival has gone on for over 35 years, where it has continued to be one of the largest Jewish film festivals.
In 2009, Aviva Kempner was awarded the Freedom of Expression Award from the San Francisco Film Festival for her work on Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg!
After the screening of Rosenwald, Aviva Kempner and Julius Rosenwald’s grandson, Peter Ascoli, were welcomed to the stage to answer questions by a standing ovation. In the audience were a dozen West Coast members of the Rosenwald family who enthusiastically embraced the movie.
After the screening at the San Francisco Film Festival, on August 2nd Aviva headed over to the Official screening of Rosenwald for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The screening was followed by a Q&A with Aviva, moderated by Patt Morrison (LA Times). Among Academy members was Kempner’s favorite European actor, Armin Mueller Stahl.
The following day, Aviva attended a preview screening of the film for Reel Talk at the Landmark Theater in Los Angeles. The screening was also followed by a Q&A- moderated by Reel Talk host, Stephen Farber. Kempner’s favorite American actor, Ed Asner in the audience.
A trip to Toronto provided Aviva with a great opportunity to catch up with her family in the area. After the reunion, Aviva’s family joined her in attending a new festival screening of Rosenwald.
Aviva Kempner enjoyed returning to the Toronto Jewish Film Festival to screen another one of her films on May 10th for the showing of Rosenwald. It should be to no surprise that Julius Rosenwald’s contributions are even less known in Canada than they are in the United States. Being the case, it was exciting to spread the story to more people who would not normally have heard it. The audience was still very receptive and appreciated the movie and it’s message.
Last night, April 19th, Rosenwald screened at the Nashville Film Festival. After the screening, a Q & A was held with director Aviva Kempner, interviewees Frank Brinkly and Peter Ascoli (grandson of Julius Rosenwald), and editor Marian Sears Hunter. It was exciting to show the film near Fisk University, where so much research had been done for the film, and the Cairo school, whose restoration we had filmed.
At the end of the festival, the was named the winner of the Lipscomb University Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.
Running from April 16th to April 25th over two weekends, the 46th annual Nashville Film Festival will showcase 200 films that beat out a staggering 3,550 submissions which means that some notable documentary, film, short filmmakers were left in the cold while others will be screened in competitive and non-competitive categories. That’s pretty impressive, right? Participating in the Documentary Feature Competition, Rosenwald will be screened on April 19th at the Green Hills Cinema- Theater 16 at 7:00pm. Tickets will go on sale on April 6th at 10:00am.
Sharing an even deeper connection than NaFF, The Cairo School was built in near Nashville, Tennessee in 1922 under the funds of the Rosenwald Fund. Today, it looks almost exactly as it did when it was built, with a gable-end entrance, double-hung sash windows, weatherboard siding, and a stone foundation. In 1959, the school closed. Then, in 2008, the Tennessee Preservation Trust (TPT) was awarded a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Lowe’s to rehabilitate the Cairo Rosenwald School. The main reason the school was rehabilitated was that the TPT had seen how much the Cairo School had anchored its community, bringing together people of all ages for social and educational purposes. It is now one of only three Rosenwald Schools still standing in Sumner County, TN. The Cairo School appears in Kempner’s film Rosenwald, as it is near the Rosenwald filming location of Nashville, TN.
Key research was also done at the historically black college in Tennessee, Fisk University, which houses the archives of the Rosenwald Fund.
Some notable interviewees in the film are Julian Bond, John Lewis, Cokie Roberts, Ben Jealous, and A’Lelia Bundles.
To get more information about purchasing a ticket and other films that will be screened at the NaFF, click here.