Pictured above: Ingrid Saunders Jones with Sherry Frank (right) at It Must Swing!:The Blue Note Story from the 2019 AJFF. Photo credit: Vaughn Gittens
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 Board Member Sherry Frank.
A Little Bit about Sherry
I have been actively involved in the Jewish community for nearly 50 years. I was the Southeast Area Director of the American Jewish Committee from 1980-2006. It was during this time that we created the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. I was centrally involved in AJC’s work in interfaith and interethnic relations, particularly in the area of Black-Jewish relations.
What is the most interesting challenge, in improving AJFF, that you get to help with?
It is always a challenge to increase the audience, especially with regard to diversity. I have worked on the Engagement Committee, reaching out to specific religious and ethnic groups based on the films that relate to this demographic. Every year I bring several of non-Jewish community leaders to various films. I always hope children, age appropriate, will attend these screenings and have spoken to faculty at Jewish day schools and parents to encourage increased attendance. I love bringing my grandchildren to the AJFF.
What is your fondest memory from being involved with AJFF?
I will never forget the strobe lights, large crowd and excitement of Opening Night in 2000, our very first AJFF. I knew then that AJC’s Atlanta chapter had created an amazing gift for our community.
How has your experience outside of AJFF played into your work with the festival?
As the current president of National Council of Jewish Women, Atlanta Section, we are sponsoring a film for the second year and linking it to our 125 years of responding to the urgent needs of women, children and families.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being involved with AJFF?
It is wonderful to work with so many dedicated volunteers and talented staff on the numerous committees of the festival. I love serving on the board and working on the Development and Programming Committees. Involvement in the AJFF is a great way to connect with the larger Jewish and general communities, while being entertained and educated in an inspiring way.
How do you describe AJFF to those who've never experienced it?
The AJFF is a total experience-community-education-entertainment and inspiration. It is the most satisfying way to spend time with friends, family and colleagues.
What's your favorite AJFF film, and why?
I love so many of the films, but especially the documentaries. I loved Above and Beyond and The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers. I see over 20 films every year and can’t select just one favorite. They are simply amazing!
Thank you to Sherry for her exemplary championship and leadership throughout AJFF’s 20-year history.. Stay tuned to see whom we profile next month.