On Sunday, November 12, the curtain closed on our 10th Annual Neustadt JAAMM Festival. Though it’s sad to say goodbye, we have plenty of reasons to celebrate this year. Thanks to our outstanding patrons, donors, and the hardworking MACC team (along with countless others), the 2017 JAAMM Festival was the most successful one of its kind.

Amy Weiner, the Director of Festivals for the MACC, took some time out of her busy schedule (hello, 2018 Denver Jewish Film Festival!) and gave us some valuable insight about the festival. When asked about the overall most successful event at JAAMM this year, Ms. Weiner had, understandably, a tough choice to make; however the resonating wisdom Morris Dees brought to his event on November 2nd quickly sprung to mind.

Morris Dees, Co-Founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, speaks during the 10th Annual Neustadt JAAMM Festival 2017 on November 2, 2017. Photographs by Morgan Hagar.

The Elaine Wolf Theatre was packed to the brim with over 300 audience members who came to hear the co-founder and chief trial counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center speak. This event in particular gave the audience an opportunity to talk about social action and awareness where usually, in past festival programming, political conversation was avoided. So what instigated the MACC’s invitation to Mr. Dees?

“When we were looking for JAAMM programming last year, we had just gotten out the election and we asked ourselves, ‘What do people want to talk about?’ and we found that this whole year people have wanted to know what they could do to take action in their community.”

Along with the success of Dees, JAAMM proudly showcased artists such as Wonderbound Dance Company, movie critic Leonard Maltin, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Ron Suskind. The high points were endless at this year’s festival and the skillfully crafted programming made sure there truly was something for everyone.

What does our JAAMM Fest hold in the future? Well, we can’t tell you just yet, but we are proud to announce the 2018 JAAMM Festival dates so, get ready, get set, and mark your calendars: October 4th-21st. Weiner assures us that they will be returning to the Jewish Book Council for their programming and will take the feedback from this year to heart in order to give the community exactly what they want.

To wrap things up with some light-hearted goodness, we asked Amy to tell us her own personal high point of this year’s festival:

Amy Weiner, Director of Festivals

“Alan Zweibel was so funny, he’s one of the original SNL writers, and he was just dropping names left and right–he’s like ‘Larry David and Billy Crystal are my best friends’ and, he’s a comedy legend, so I’m trying to joke around with him, but he’s Alan Zweibel! So, after the event, he emailed me and said, ‘Amy, it was such a pleasure to work with you and you really made me laugh.’ That was a total highlight for me!”

Amy also wanted to send out a personalized ‘thank you’ to all those who made this festival possible: “I want to extend my deepest thanks and gratitude to our sponsors, volunteers, and MACC Board of Directors, whose support for and presence at the festival made it the resounding success that it was!”

And thank you, Amy! We can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve for 2018’s programming.