Arts & Entertain
Call for Nominees for the 16t h Annual
At The Movies
for Outstanding Professional Service
created by Mandell L. and Madeleine H. Berman
Eligibility for Nomination:
All Jewish communal professionals employed by
local constituent agencies of the Jewish Federation
of Metropolitan Detroit, who have been working in
the Detroit Jewish community a minimum of five
years, may be nominated for the Mandell and
Madeleine Berman Award.
In his Academy Award-nominated documentary,
"Spellbound," filmmaker Jeffrey Blitz profiles
a suspenseful battle mired in the English language.
Special to the Jewish News
Criteria for Selection:
The recipient of the Mandell and Madeleine Berman
ANAiard shall manifest the highest standards of Jewish
communal service. The professional must have made a
contribution to and for the general good of the Jewish
community, demonstrating creativity, dedication,
knowledge and care in the provision of services to the
Jewish community. Moreover, in awarding the Berman
Award, consideration shall be given to special professional
innovations that reflect quality professionalism. First
consideration is given to agency professionals, followed
by Jewish Federation staff and agency executive directors.
To receive a nomination form, please
contact Kari Alterman at the Federation,
248.203.1470; email: email@example.com.
Names of the nominees will remain
confidential, and they may be renominat
ed in subsequent years.
Send nominations to:
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit
P.O. Box 2030
June 13, 2003
at a reception of the
Board of Governors
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303-2030
or FAX to: 248.205.2559
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But there are surprises, too, and it is
these stories that are especially touching.
The embodiment of the American
dream, Angela Arenivar makes it to
the nationals against all odds: She
comes from a tiny town in Texas,
growing up as the daughter of
Mexican natives who came to this
country illegally decades ago.
Her father never learned to speak
English and works as a ranch hand; it's
Angela who wants to go all the way,
not her parents. Their reaction upon
learning they'll be going to the nation's
capital for the finals is wonderful to
ust days after the 2003
Scripps Howard National
Spelling Bee crowned its latest
orthographical genius, a new
film, Spellbound hits theaters across
the country to capitalize on an
American tradition so ingrained in our
consciousness that the national com-
petition is televised on ESPN.
Tracing the study habits and person-
al backgrounds of eight would-be
National Spelling Bee champions, the
documentary chronicles the action as
249 spellers trying to make it
to the top of the 1999 heap are
whittled down to a single win-
Directed by Jeffrey Blitz, the
film profiles Bee finalists Harry
Altman of New Jersey; April
DeGideo of Pennsylvania;
Angela Arenivar of Texas; Ted
Brigham of Oklahoma; Neil
Kadakia of California; Nupur
Lala of Florida; Emily Stagg of
Harry Altman during the 1999 National
Connecticut; and Ashley
White of Washington, D.C.
Ranging in age from 10 to
As for some of the other contestants,
14 and attending sixth through eighth
there are those who have been to the
grade, this diverse group of young
big dance before. Nupur Lala was a
Americans is followed by Blitz and his
contestant in 1998, as were April
camera crew as each prepares for the
DeGideo and Stagg, and others are
just keeping up the family tradition,
Blitz celebrates each small victory
like Neil Kadakia, whose sister also
along the way, as the spellers move
from local to regional to national com- was a speller on the national stage.
Most prepare for the Bee for months
before it actually happens, devoting
He also devotes time to introducing
their after-school hours and summer
us to the spellers' families and the
vacations to words like "insouciant"
environments they are growing up in,
many of which have a profound effect
There is only one Spellbound star
whose study habits we don't get to see.
The stories of the individual spellers
Harry Altman never expected nor
are sometimes what you'd expect.
sought out fame. According to him, it
Emily Stagg comes from a well-to-
just kind of happened.
do community in Connecticut and
"I wasn't even supposed to be in the
says she is in the Bee just because she
movie," says the Spellbound star, who
likes the competition.
made it to both the 1999 and 2001
Many of the spellers are driven by
National Spelling Bees.
parents, who do everything from drill
Now 16, he appears in the Academy
them for hours each night to hire
Award-nominated documentary as a
tutors to help with foreign language
sixth-grader who makes it through