100-year-old Hattie Russ Gold and her sister 92-year-old Anne Russ Federman have life stories that hit all the key notes of the Jewish immigrant experience: hard work, humor, romance, and a little tsuris. Hattie and Anne are the two surviving daughters from the famed lox and herring emporium Russ & Daughters on the Lower East Side. They are also the stars of THE STURGEON QUEENS.
This documentary – timed to coincide with the store’s centennial in 2014 – traces four generations of Russ family history, from patriarch Joel Russ, who immigrated to the US from Austria-Hungary with little more than the shirt on his back, to Josh Russ Tupper and Niki Russ Federman, Joel’s great grandchildren, now in their 30s, who run the store today. Niki’s father Mark Russ Federman, who ran the store from the 1970s until 2008, adds insights from his years researching Russ family history.
The film also features Herman Vargas, aka The Artistic Slicer, longtime Russ & Daughters employee, now manager, who represents the new wave of immigrants behind the R & D counter.
Julie Cohen -Director, Producer & Writer
Julie’s love affair with Russ & Daughters™ pickled herring began in 2007, when she selected the store as one of six subjects in her documentary The Jews of New York, produced for New York PBS.
The founder of BetterThanFiction Productions, Julie has directed and produced ten films and won three New York Emmys, including the 2014 award for Best Arts Program.
Before starting BetterThanFiction, she was a longtime staff producer for NBC News. She graduated from Colgate and holds masters degrees from Yale Law School and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she is an adjunct professor.
Julie lives in Brooklyn with her husband Paul M. Barrett, senior feature writer for Bloomberg Businessweek and author of four nonfiction books, including Law of the Jungle.
Other key personnel on The Sturgeon Queens include:
Director of Photography Rich White, Â veteran cameraman who has shot hundreds of pieces for 60 Minutes, Dateline NBC, and 20/20, as well as theatrical documentaries and seven BetterThanFiction films.
Senior Editor Scott Feinstein, Emmy-winning editor for NBC, PBS, and OWN, who has edited five BetterThanFiction documentaries.
Editor & Associate Producer Mustafa Hameed, 2013 graduate of the Columbia Journalism School and a researcher on Steve Collâ€™s forthcoming book.
Graphic Effects Editor Beverly Chase,Â multiple Emmy-winning editor who edits Brian Williamsâ€™ feature stories on NBC Nightly News, who has edited five BetterThanFiction projects.
Editor & Associate Producer Nadine Natour,Â 2012 graduate of the Columbia Journalism School and a 2012 â€“ 2013 News Associate at NBC.
Editor & Associate Producer Yvonne Bang,Â 2013 graduate of the Columbia Journalism School and a writer at Nautilus Magazine.
The narrators are six longtime customers – now in their 70s, 80s, and 90s – who sit around a table eating, kibitzing, and reading the script paragraph-by-paragraph, seder style.
2015 Screenings (more to come)
Temple Shalom Succasunna, NJ – January 11 3 Stars Cinema, Dallas, TX – January 13 Baton Rouge Jewish Film Fest – January 14 Dwares JCC, Providence, RI – January 14 Temple Beth Ami, Rockville, MD – January 16 Savannah Jewish Film Fest - January 22 Temple Israel, West Bloomfield, MIÂ - January 22 West Valley Jewish Film Fest – January 25 Denver Jewish Film Fest – February 7 Covenant Foundation – February 8 BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL - February 13 Limmud NY – February 15 Osher Marin JCC – February 17 The Farthest North Jewish Film Fest, Fairbanks, AK – February 21 Honolulu Museum of Art – March 8, 11, & 20 Temple Har Shalom, Warren NJ – March 8 Garde Arts Center, New London, CT – March 10 Tampa Jewish Film Fest – March 13 Glen Rock Jewish Center – March 15 Mandel JCC, Beechwood, OH – March 15 Jewish Film Fest of Sarasota-Manatee, FL - March 15 Athens, Georgia Jewish Film Fest - March 16 Temple Adath Jeshurun, Syracuse, NY – March 22 Chicago Sinai Congregation – March 22 Orange County Jewish Film Fest – March 25 Adas Israel Congregation, Washington DC – March 25 POSTPONED Geneva International Jewish Film Fest – March 29 Congregation Beth Shalom, Santa Clarita, CA – March 29 Time & Space Theater Hudson, NY – April 10 – 25 (6 screenings) Katz JCC, Cherry Hill, NJ – April 21 Dayton Jewish Film Festival – April 26 Cummings Centre, Montreal – April 30 Judischer Salon, Hamburg, Germany – late April Washington DC JCC – May 3 Congregation Beit Shalom, Monroe Township, NJ – May 6 DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, South Bend, IN – May 11 Time & Space Limited, Hudson NY – May 23, 24, 30, 31 Kehillat Israel Congregation, Pacific Palisades, CA – May 28 Temple Beth Am, Pinecrest, FL – June 2 Marshall Square Retirement Resort Augusta, GA – June 4 Peretz Center, Vancouver – June 7 Har El Congregation Palm Desert, CA – June 17 Chicago Jewish Film Fest, Evanston – June 21 Clay Center for the Arts Charlestown, WV – June 21 Chicago Jewish Film Fest, Chicago – June 26 Chatham Synagogue, Chatham, NY – July 12 Everett Jewish Life Ctr, Chautauqua, NY – July 19 & 22 Truro Public Library, Cape Cod, MA – August 6 Transatlantyk Festival, Poznan Poland – August 12 Margate JCC, Jersey Shore – August 13 Jewish Community Partners Memphis, TN – August 17 Temple Rodeph Shalom Youngstown, OH – August 25 Triplex Theater Great Barrington, MA – August 23 Temple B’nai Sholom Â Huntsville, AL – Sept 5 KKBE Adult Learning Charleston, SC – Sept 5 Friedberg JCC – Oceanside, NY – September 17 Hadassah of Akron, OH – September 20 Milwaukee Film Festival – Late September Congregation Beth Sholom Coconut Creek, FL – October 8 Northern Virginia JCC – November 29 Temple Beth El Lancaster, PA – December 5
CHECK BACK IN MID 2015 FOR NEWS ON STURGEON QUEENS BROADCASTS & DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION
Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival January 20 & 21 WINNER Audience Choice Award Tucson Jewish Film Festival – January 20 Virginia Festival of Jewish Film January 22 San Diego Jewish Film Festival February 7, 8 & 9 WINNER Audience Choice AwardÂ Congregation Beth Sholom, Anchorage, AK “The Frozen Chosen” February 15 Washington, DC Jewish Film Festival March 2 and 3 Boulder Jewish Film Festival March 9 Houston Jewish Film Festival - March 14 Desert Film Society, Palm Springs March 15 Pittsburgh Jewish Film Festival “ March 30 SOLD OUT show added April 6 New Jersey Jewish Film Festival March 30 Austin Jewish Film Festival April 3 Westchester Jewish Film Festival April 10 CLOSING NIGHT SOLD OUT Irvington Town Hall Theater April 18 Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival (Detroit) PATRONS NIGHT May 1, 4 and 8 Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival May 3 & 4 WINNER Audience Choice Award Toronto Jewish Film Festival May 5 & 11 National Center for Jewish Film (Mass) May 3 & 11 Rockland County Jewish Film Festival May 18 Manhattan JCC CineMatters Series May 20 SOLD OUT Allentown Jewish Film Festival June 1 Lower East Side Film Fest, Landmark Sunshine June 12 OPENING NIGHT – SOLD OUT Lower East Side Film Fest, Cinema Village East June 21 WINNER Neighborhood Award Portland OR Jewish Film Festival June 23 WINNER Audience Choice Award Skirball Cultural Center, L.A. June 29 Circle Cinema, Tulsa OK June 29 3 Stars Cinema, Dallas June Berkshires Jewish Film Festival July 7 Rochester NY Jewish Film Festival July 12 & 21 WINNER Audience Choice Award Liberty Hall at the Ace Hotel, NYC - July 20 (NOTE NEW DATE) SAN FRANCISCO JEWISH FILM FEST #1 Palo Alto ”Best of the Fest” July 26 SFJFF #2 BERKELEY OPENING NIGHT PARTY Aug 2 SFJFF #3 THE CASTRO THEATRE Aug 3 SFJFF #4 San Rafael Aug 10 Spertus Institute, Chicago September 7 Santa Fe Jewish Film Fest September 7 SOLD OUT Cleveland Jewish Film Fest September 7 Cinema du Parc, Montreal September 12 – 19 San Luis Obispo Museum of Art September 14 Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, MA September 21 Mid-Kansas Jewish Federation September 21 Greater Washington JCC, Rockville, MD September 21 Cinema Arts, Huntington, NY October 14 Sonoma County Jewish Film Festival October 14 Temple Beth Am, Los Altos Hills, CA October 18 Circle Cinema, Tulsa, OK October 21 Twin Cities Jewish Film Fest- October 23 OPENING NIGHT – SOLD OUT Temple Isaiah, Lafayette, CA October 26 Stamford CT Jewish film fest- November 1 Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival - November 2 Rutgers Jewish Film Festival, New Brunswick, NJÂ - November 2 Charlotte, NC JCC – November 2 UK Jewish Film Festival, London screening 1 – November 9 UK Jewish Film Festival, Manchester – November 9 Vancouver Jewish Film Festival - November 9 Nashville Jewish Film Festival November 10 Ocean County Jewish Film Fest – November 10 Ann Katz Festival of Books & Arts, Indianapolis – November 11 UK Jewish Film Festival, Glasgow Scotland – November 15 Temple Sinai, Toronto – November 15 UK Jewish Film Festival, London – November 16 Devour Food Film Festival, Halifax, Canada – November 16 Columbus Jewish Film Fest - November 16 Central Florida Jewish Film Festival (Orlando) - November 17 Calgary Jewish Film Festival - November 23 Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival- December 7 The New Synagogue, Palm Beach, FL – December 16 Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival December 17 & 18 Rhoda Goldman Plaza, San Francisco – December 24 Temple Shaaray Tefila, Bedford, NY – December 25
THE STURGEON QUEENS IS PRESENTED BY:
IF YOU LIKE THE STURGEON QUEENS, YOU’LL ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:
-Mark Russ Federman’s book about Russ & Daughters
-The Tenement Museum