Freedom of Expression Award: Lisa Edelstein

Lisa Edelstein expected to attend in San Francisco.

The Freedom of Expression Award will be presented to Lisa Edelstein in conjunction with the screening of Valeria is Getting Married, preceded by the short film Swipe NYC at the Vogue Theater. Tickets can be purchased on the film's webpage.

From the beginning, Lisa Edelstein has intertwined acting, writing, producing and visual artwork with her passion for social activism. In 1988 during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Edelstein launched her career by creating a musical to increase awareness about the crisis called Positive Me, which debuted in New York City. She has since committed to playing a wide variety of culturally groundbreaking roles in popular shows. Playing the character of Rhonda Roth in ABC’s Relativity was particularly meaningful for Edelstein because of the opportunity to tell the story of an LGBTQ+ woman and break barriers by performing in the first-ever lesbian make-out scene permitted on a major network. From portraying a sex worker in The West Wing to a trans woman in Ally McBeal, Edelstein says, “it’s been important to me that these characters present with a dignity and humanity that belies the societal standing they might otherwise have.” For over three decades, Edelstein has used her public platform as a fierce advocate for voting rights, workers’ rights, the environment, immigration reform and women’s healthcare. Her career took off with memorable appearances in box office hits including As Good as It Gets and Keeping the Faith. But she is perhaps best known (and beloved) for her television roles, especially as Dr. Cuddy in the global hit House and as Phoebe, Alan Arkin’s drug-addicted daughter, in The Kominsky Method

Since 2005, the Jewish Film Institute has presented an artist with the Freedom of Expression Award to honor the unfettered imagination, which is a cornerstone of a free, just and open society. Past Freedom of Expression Award recipients have included Judith Helfand, Liz Garbus, Joe Berlinger, Norman Lear, Lee Grant, Theodore Bikel, Alan Berliner, Elliott Gould, Kirk Douglas, Sayed Kashua, Aviva Kempner, Péter Forgács, Dani Levy, Amos Gitai, Jay Rosenblatt, Norma Barzman, and Walter Bernstein.

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