20th Annual Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival

Break out the bubbly and bagels, the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival is celebrating 20 years of providing quality independent film about Jewish culture to the Valley of the Sun.

Across countries, languages, religions and cultures, modern Jewish film flings wide open the door into new perspectives and ways of life; confirming on screen the stories, cultural connections and humanity shared by people around the world. Over the course of 14 days, from February 14-28, the 20th annual Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival utilizes Jewish world cinema to bring a fresh and vibrant view of the world to the Southwest’s doorstep via 16 films from 10 different countries.

Celebrating two decades of existence, the 2016 Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival makes its tagline, Great Films – With a Little Jewish flavor, come alive, presenting films with zest and tang from around the globe and around the corner. Films hailing from France, Hungary, Israel, the Czech Republic, Argentina and our own United States of America give festival goers the opportunity to travel the world without leaving their seats or renewing their passports.

No longer a teenager at 20 years of age, the GPJFF is all grown up. This year, the Festival displays its maturity as the preeminent Jewish film festival in the Southwest and the longest-running film festival of any kind in the Greater Phoenix area. Last year, a record-breaking 6,400 people attended the Festival and contributed to 14 sold-out screenings and special events. Film screenings are held at three different theaters across the Valley – Scottsdale, Chandler and Peoria – making it convenient to catch a film wherever one resides in the Valley. The film slate and ticketing information were released online after Thanksgiving.

This year, the GPJFF will raise glasses in toast at a very special 20th anniversary celebration and screening to be held at the Phoenix Art Museum on February 11. Guests at the event will enjoy a musical performance by students from Arizona School of the Arts, a catered kosher appetizer buffet and dessert, be privy to a private showing of the Museum’s special Michelangelo exhibition, and finish with the Valley premiere of the new documentary, The Wandering Muse, in the Museum’s intimate theater.

Guest speakers present commentary following many of the festival films and provide question and answer sessions to engage audience members. Speakers are film makers, rabbis, historians, other professionals, and film critics, both Jewish and non-Jewish, selected for the contributions they make to enrich the experience for GPJFF festival attendees.

A film specifically geared to students is offered free of charge one Sunday morning during each year’s festival. The GPJFF also provides a no-cost Film in the Schools program to religious and secular middle and high schools, where holocaust-related films are shown and post-film discussions held to teach the important lesson of tolerance.

The GPJFF is a wholly-independent volunteer-run 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization and has received grants from the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, City of Scottsdale, City of Chandler, West Valley Arts Association and the Arizona Commission on the Arts/National Endowment for the Arts in the past.

In addition to the website at http://gpjff.org, you can also follow the Festival on www.facebook.com/GreaterPhxJewishFilmFest or at GPJFF on Twitter.

What: The 20th annual Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival

When: Sunday, February 14-Sunday, February 28

Where: Harkins Shea 14, 7354 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale

Harkins Chandler Fashion 20, 3159 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler

Harkins Arrowhead 18, 16046 N. Arrowhead Fountains Ctr. Dr., Peoria

Ticket prices: $11 for adults ($13 at the door; $7 for students (ID required) 25 yrs. and under); $125 unlimited films/unlimited venues VIP Festival Pass; $36 for all patrons attending the 20th anniversary celebration screening.

For more information about tickets, ticket packages or group discounts, call 602-753-9366 or visit www.gpjff.org.