Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival

SCHEDULE:

Apples From the Desert
Arizona Premiere
Drama/Romance – (Israel) 96 minutes, Hebrew, w/ English subtitles

Screenings:
Peoria – Mon. Feb. 22, 7 pm
Scottsdale – Sun. Feb 28, 3 pm

Rebecca Abravanel is living a cloistered existence with her strictly religious parents in Jerusalem. Unhappy with the restrictive traditions, she secretly breaks taboos, attending dance classes where she forms a relationship with a secular kibbutznik. Reacting, her father arranges her marriage to an older widower; Rebecca’s mother and aunt are appalled. After Rebecca runs away, the family conflict forces them to confront their beliefs and one another.

Guest Speaker: Peoria: Rabbi Irwin Wiener D.D., spiritual leader of the Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation.

Dough 
Phoenix Premiere
Comedy/Drama – (United Kingdom) 94 minutes, English

Screenings:
Scottsdale –Sun. Feb. 14, 3 pm
Chandler – Sun, Feb. 21, 3 pm
Peoria – Sun., Feb. 28, 3 pm

Widowed and down on his luck, Orthodox Jew Nat Dayan is desperate to save his faltering kosher bakery in London’s East End. Nat reluctantly enlists the help of Darfur refugee Ayyash. The Muslim teen assists with the bakery, while selling marijuana on the side to help his struggling mother. When Ayyash accidentally drops his stash into the dough, the challah starts flying off the shelf, and an unlikely friendship forms.

Preceded by short film, 7 DAY GIG. (USA). A punk, an old man and a chicken gather round for a make-shift shiva after Jay puts an ad on Craigslist looking for mourners to join him in this comedy about loss and finding your roots.

Bad Faith
Arizona Premiere
Drama/Comedy – (Belgium/France) 88 minutes, French, w/ English subtitles

Screenings:
Scottsdale – Tues. Feb. 16, 3 pm
Chandler – Tues. Feb 23, 3 pm

He’s Muslim, she’s Jewish, yet Ismael and Clara are the perfectly gorgeous cross-cultural young French couple who have spent the last four years in a blissful, trouble-free relationship. Both Clara and Ismael are secular, so the notion of religion, race and culture has never factored into their relationship – until Clara unintentionally becomes pregnant. Now they need to break the news to their respective traditional parents, and the fear and stress of those reactions put their relationship to the ultimate test.

Belle and Sebastian
Arizona Premiere
Drama/Family – (France) 104 minutes, French, w/ English subtitles

Screenings:
Scottsdale – Sun. Feb. 21, 3 pm

These courageous adventures of a lonely young boy and his giant sheepdog are set amidst the stunning backdrop of the snow-covered Alps. In WWII-occupied France, on the border of Switzerland, 6-year-old Sebastian tames the enormous, yet gentle mountain dog Belle. When the Nazis arrive, Belle and Sebastian prove their loyalty to the village and each other when they undertake a treacherous journey to help the cause.

Note: Recommended for ages 10 and older.

A Blind Hero:
The Love of Otto Weidt
Docudrama – (Germany) 90 minutes, German, w/ English subtitles

Screenings:
Scottsdale – Tues. Feb. 17, 3 pm
Peoria – Tues., Feb. 24, 3 pm

Based on a true story. Otto Weidt, a middle-aged German broom industry magnate, used his factory to save the lives of dozens of Berlin Jews. Weidt bribed Gestapo agents to allow his employees refuge in his factory. In 1943 Berlin was declared Jew-free, and Weidt was forced to find safe places for his workers. But when his former secretary. with whom he fell in love, was deported to Auschwitz, he posed as a traveling brush salesman to follow her.

Free Men
Arizona Premiere
Drama – (France) 99 minutes, French, w/ English subtitles

Screenings:
Chandler – Mon. Feb. 22, 7 pm
Scottsdale – Wed. Feb 24, 7 pm

Inspired by true events. After German occupation forces pick up Younes, a young Algerian immigrant peddling black market goods, he agrees to spy on a mosque, whose rector is suspected of aiding the Muslim Resistance and providing Jews with false papers. Younes forms a deep friendship with Algerian cabaret singer, then discovers she is Jewish. He stops collaborating and transforms from politically ignorant migrant to full-fledged freedom fighter.

Guest Speakers:Scottsdale: Rabbi Arthur Lavinsky.
Chandler: Rabbi Dean Shapiro, spiritual leader of Temple Emanuel in Tempe.

The German Doctor
Arizona Premiere
Drama – (Argentina) 93 minutes, Spanish, w/ English subtitles

Screenings:
Scottsdale – Thurs. Feb. 25, 7 pm

A foreign physician with a sinister obsession for genetic purity upends the lives of an Argentinean family. A couple is preparing to open a hotel in a remote town when they encounter the charismatic doctor. With mother, Eva, pregnant with twins, and her 12-year-old daughter bullied about her stunted size, the family interests the nefarious doctor. They accept him into their home, until a local archivist suspects the town of German immigrants is harboring one of the world’s most infamous war criminals.

Guest Speaker:  Dr. Murray Henner is Professor of International Law and Intelligence at Embry Riddle University and published author of over 50 books.

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
Drama – (Israel/France) 115 minutes, Hebrew, w/ English subtitles

Screenings:
Scottsdale – Thurs. Feb. 25, 3 pm

An emotionally shackled Israeli woman seeks a divorce from her cruel and manipulative husband. In Israel only rabbis can legalize a marriage or its dissolution, which is only possible with the husband’s consent. Viviane Amsalem has been applying for a divorce for three years but her husband will not agree. His cold intransigence, Viviane’s determination to fight for her freedom, and the ambiguous role of the judges shape a procedure in which tragedy vies with absurdity, and where everything is brought out for judgment, apart from the initial request.

Guest Speaker:Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, dean of Valley Beit Midrash and a noted author.

In Silence
Phoenix Premiere
Docudrama – (Czech Republic/Slovakia) 90 minutes, Czech, w/ English subtitles

Screenings:
Scottsdale – Thurs. Feb 18, 7 pm

This intense, beautiful docudrama depicts the shattered lives of five Jewish artists whose dreams were cut short by the Holocaust. With the rise of Fascism many Jewish performers were barred from working and ultimately deported to death camps. The filmmakers approach this well-chronicled subject employing lyrical cinematography and first-person narration to tell the true stories of Czech and German artists who faced Nazi persecution.

Guest Speaker:Martin Beck Matuštik, Ph.D is a professor of ethics and religion at Arizona State University and author of Out of Silence: Repair Across Generations.

Once In a Lifetime
Phoenix Premiere
Drama – (France) 105 minutes, French w/ English subtitles

Screenings:
Scottsdale – Tues. Feb. 16, 7 pm
Peoria – Sun. Feb 21, 3 pm
Chandler – Sun. Feb 28, 3 pm

A French high school teacher taps into lessons of the Holocaust in this drama based on a true story. Anne Gueguen is determined to give the best education she can to her underprivileged inner-city pupils. To overcome their apathy, Anne enters her multicultural classroom in a national competition on the theme of child victims of the Nazi camps. After initial resistance, an encounter with a Holocaust survivor changes the class’s attitude and they begin to see themselves in a whole new light.

Note: Recommended for teenagers and older

Guest Speakers: Scottsdale: Dr. Lawrence Bell, PhD, executive director of the Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center and vice president of the Arizona Interfaith Movement.
Peoria: Max McQueen covered culture arts for the East Valley Tribune for over 20 years and now moderates four film clubs.

Rabin In His Own Words
Arizona Premiere
Documentary – (Israel) 113 minutes, Hebrew, w/ English subtitles

Screening:
Scottsdale – Sun, Feb 14th, 7 pm

This story is told entirely in Yitzhak Rabin’s own voice 20 years after his assassination. Through rare archival footage, home movies and private letters, Rabin’s dramas unfold – from his childhood as the son of a labor leader in pre-state Israel, through a change of view that turned him from a farmer into an army man, through his later years when as Prime Minister he made moves that enraged a large portion of the public until the horrific end.

Rock In the Red Zone
Phoenix Premiere
Documentary – (Israel) 90 minutes, Hebrew and English, w/ English subtitles

Screenings:
Scottsdale – Wed. Feb 17, 7 pm
Chandler – Tues., Feb 23, 7 pm
Peoria – Thurs., Feb 25, 7 pm

In a small Israeli border town on the edge of the Negev Desert, the constant sounds of rockets exploding provide the backbeat. Sderot, located meters from Gaza, is the epicenter of an amazing Israeli musical phenomenon. Amidst casualties, maimed neighbors and crumbling buildings, Sderot’s youth have found expression for both their anger and their hope in rock music.

Guest Speaker:Chandler: Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic and Gannett Newspapers film critic.

Serial (Bad) Weddings
Phoenix Premiere
Comedy – (France) 97 minutes, French, w/ English subtitles

Screenings:
Chandler – Sun. Feb. 14, 3 pm
Scottsdale – Mon. Feb. 22, 7 pm
Peoria – Wed. Feb. 24, 7 pm

A bourgeois Catholic family is upended in this unabashedly politically incorrect romantic comedy that pokes fun at the melting pot of modern-day France. Claude and Marie consider themselves open-minded. Their tolerance has been tested as three of their four daughters successively marry an Arab, a Jew and an Asian. Then their youngest daughter announces her engagement to Charles. When the groom’s parents arrive from the Ivory Coast, bigotry becomes a two-way street.

Preceded by Short Film DEAR G-D (Israel). A beautiful, mysterious woman puts a note a Wailing Wall crevices, and Aaron, a simple man who guards the historic site, decides to fulfill her deepest wish, while learning that love is all about communication.

To Life!
Phoenix Premiere
Drama – (Germany) 90 minutes, German, w/ English subtitles

Screenings:
Scottsdale – Sun. Feb. 21, 7 pm
Peoria – Tue. Feb. 23, 7 pm
Chandler – Wed. Feb. 24, 7 pm

Jonas, a young man on the run, arrives in Berlin just in time to save Ruth’s life. Evicted from her apartment, the aging Jewish cabaret singer saw no other way out than suicide. As Jonas discovers Ruth’s past and takes part in her present, his attentions and the passionate Yiddish songs of her youth help her find the way back to life. In turn, when Ruth learns Jonas is incurably ill, she helps him find the strength to tackle his fears.
Guest Speakers: Scottsdale & Peoria: Rabbi Art Abrams, spiritual leader of Beth Ami Temple of Paradise Valley.

Chandler: Jack B. Silver LCSW, ACSW, director of counseling at Jewish Family & Children’s Services.

Tuviansky
Arizona Premiere
Drama – (Israel) 84 minutes, Hebrew, w/ English subtitles

Screening:
Scottsdale – Tues. Feb. 23, 3 pm

This true story is about the only execution of an Israeli officer by the Israeli military. In 1948, amidst the chaos of a new military force, Captain Meir Tuviansky was accused of treason. The British are still active in Palestine, and bombs are hitting Jewish targets with alarming precision. Just weeks after the state of Israel was established, a man was accused of treason, tried, sentenced and executed within hours. One year later he was exonerated by David Ben Gurion.

Guest Speaker:Rabbi Bonnie Koppell, spiritual leader of Temple Chai in Phoenix, and chaplain (colonel) in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Secrets of War
Phoenix Premiere
Drama – (Netherlands) 90 minutes, Dutch, w/ English subtitles

Screenings:
Peoria – Sun. Feb 14, 3 pm
Scottsdale – Mon. Feb 15th, 7 pm
Chandler – Thurs. Feb 25, 7 pm

Inseparable friends in Nazi-occupied Netherlands find their loyalty severely tested. As conflict rages, 12-year-old best friends Tuur and Lambert are oblivious to the danger, spending days in  school and playing. Tuur’s father and brother join the resistance movement, and Lambert’s parents ally themselves with the local Nazi party. The arrival of lively Maartje has the boys vying for her affection, but sets into motion events that alter the lives of all three children forever.

Note: Recommended for ages 10 and older.

Guest Speakers: Peoria: Paul Weiser, Holocaust Expert, 16-year member of the Phoenix Holocaust Survivors’ Association, and a Mandel Fellow of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Scottsdale: Janice Friebaum, chair of Generations After – Descendants of Holocaust Survivors in Greater Phoenix.

Chandler: Rabbi Kenneth Leitner, spiritual leader of Temple Beth Shalom of the East Valley.

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