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Washington DC The Scene

Last night we went to the 18th annual Woodley House movie benefit, with a reception at Spices, and a special screening of Unbroken at the Uptown Theatre across the street.

Directed by Angelina Jolie, and based on the book by Laura Hillenbrand, it’s the true story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini, who joined the military in World War II, survived on a raft two months when his plane was shot down, was captured by the Japanese, and subjected to brutal treatment in a POW camp for two years. While parts are hard to watch, it’s ultimately a story of resilience and triumph, as he clings to his brother’s exhortation: If you can take it, you can make it.

At the reception, we snapped NBC 4 anchor Doreen Gentzler, the evening’s emcee, with her husband, US Attorney’s spokesman Bill Miller. The Movie Benefit is Woodley House’s one annual fundraiser; all funds support its programs for those with mental health problems to reclaim their lives.

Jane Cafritz, whose husband Calvin accepted an award as CEO of the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation for its generosity to those in need, is with Ann Jordan. Guests munched on sushi, spring rolls and coconut shrimp. 

Congrats to Woodley House Board president Isabel Jasinowski, who raised a record $200,000 for the nonprofit’s housing for those with mental illness, from crisis through transitional to semi-independent. She’s with former senator and Labor Secretary Bill Brock and his wife Sandy.

Washington Post economics columnist Steve Pearlstein is bookended by his wife Wendy Gray and by Isabel’s sister Lorna Graev, who came in from New York for the benefit.

The Taghavi family was among the evening’s benefactors: mom Manijeh, serial entrepreneur and former Bisnow employee Aram, and his sister, Christian Science Monitor journalist Roshanak.