Film mogul a ‘personal hero’
A HIGH POINT of the Jewish-themed programming featured at NJPAC this fall will be “Dore Schary: Activism Through Cinema” on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 3 p.m.
Noted film educator and historian Dr. Eric Goldman of Teaneck will present the program about a man who he said was “a personal hero of mine.” An Academy Award-winning director, writer, and producer, Schary also served as head of production and then president at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Schary “was the first Hollywood executive who was unafraid to identify publicly as a Jew,” said Goldman, “and to put forward his love for Israel, when most of the Jewish film moguls were concerned about issues of dual identity and of being perceived as not being sufficiently patriotic as Americans.”
Schary was a “proud Jew who worked hard on all kinds of wonderful causes” — he served as the national chair of the Anti-Defamation League in the mid-1960s — and was “a believer in film as a messenger for change and understanding” and as a weapon to fight prejudice and bigotry.
Goldman, who had the “great pleasure,” when he was a graduate student, of interviewing Schary, will explore his life and work at NJPAC through film clips with a particular lens toward his activism.
Goldman, the founder and president of Ergo Media, which specializes in Jewish and Israeli video, said it’s not incidental that Schary was from Newark (he even acted in and directed plays he wrote at the city’s High Street YMHA). In fact, the first time Goldman was asked to talk about the filmmaker it was in conjunction with “Dore Schary: From Newark to Hollywood,” a 2015 exhibit at the Aidekman Jewish Community Campus in Whippany that was curated by Jewish Historical Society of NJ executive director Linda Forgosh.
Regarding the series at NJPAC, Goldman said, “It’s extremely exciting to be part of this project. I give a lot of credit to Max Kleinman, who was the driving force to make this happen.” He also credits NJPAC president and CEO John Schreiber and Chelsea Keys, special projects lead in his office, who “were both amazing in their dedication to bringing the program to fruition.”