Jewish Film Festival celebrates 20th year

Deborah Muller

The Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival, celebrating its 20th year of providing Jewish independent films to the Valley, will offer eight screenings at the Harkins Fashion 20 Theater in Chandler from February 14-28, 2016.

The East Valley lineup includes four dramas, three comedies and a documentary. But wait; there’s more! Two of the movies are paired with cinema shorts and several showings will feature post-screening discussions.

The longest-running film festival of any kind in the Valley, the GPJFF celebrates its 20th year by presenting more than 1,700 magical minutes of Jewish cinema. In addition to the Chandler screenings, located at 3159 W. Chandler Blvd, the festival will show films at the Harkins Shea 14 in Scottsdale and the Harkins Arrowhead Fountains 18 in Peoria from February 14-28. A special 20th year celebration party and movie premiere of The Wandering Muse will kick off the festival at the Phoenix Art Museum on Thursday, February 11 at 5:30 p.m. There will be a special ticket price of $36 for this event.

The Arrowhead screenings include:

Dough: An old Jewish baker struggles to keep his business afloat until his young Muslim apprentice accidentally drops cannabis in the dough and sends sales sky-high. It will be preceded by the comedic short Seven Day GIF, in which a Craigslist ad is used to garner mourners to sit Shiva.

To Life!: A chance encounter between an aging cabaret singer and Holocaust survivor and a young terminally-ill German man leads to an ensuing friendship that teaches both characters to live and love again.

Secrets of War: Inseparable childhood friends in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands find their loyalty severely tested when a girl tells a secret to only one of them.

Rock in the Red Zone: A documentary detailing the many musicians and bands that have come out of Sderot, a town in southern Israel that is under almost daily rocket attacks from Gaza.

For dates, times and locations, or to view film trailers, visit The festival also is on Facebook ( and Twitter (at GPJFF).


Individual tickets are $11 in advance, $13 at the door and $7 for students 25 or younger with ID. Tickets may be purchased at the screenings, but the film festival’s website ( is handling ticket sales securely online, which will assess a per-ticket fee of $1.34 ($1.17 for students). All tickets can be delivered online or at the box office Will Call.

Discount passes and group tickets are available directly from the festival:

Festival pass: One ticket for each movie at any choice of venue: $125; groups of 10-to-15 people: $9.50 per ticket; groups of 16 or more people: $9 per ticket.

To order discount passes or group tickets call 602-733-9366 or e-mail [email protected]

In the past, the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival 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.

Chandler Film Line Up:

Sunday, February 14 at 3:00 p.m. — Serial (Bad) Weddings (Comedy, French with English subtitles) plus comedy short Dear G-d (Hebrew with English subtitles)

Sunday, February 21 at 3:00 p.m. — Dough (Comedy, English) plus comedy short Seven Day GIF (English).

Monday, February 22 at 7:00 p.m. — Free Men (Drama, French with English subtitles) with speaker discussion led by local Rabbi Dean Shapiro

Tuesday, February 23 at 7:00 p.m. — Rock in the Red Zone (Documentary, Hebrew and English with English subtitles) with speaker discussion led by Arizona Republic film critic Bill Goodykoontz.

Wednesday, February 24 at 3:00 p.m. — Bad Faith (Comedy; French with English subtitles); 7:00 p.m. — To Life! (Drama; German with English subtitles) with discussion led by Director of the Jewish Counseling Program at Jewish Family and Children’s Services Jack Silver, LCSW

Thursday, February 25 at 7:00 p.m. — Secrets of War (Drama; Dutch, with English subtitles) with speaker discussion led by local Rabbi Kenneth Leitner. Film recommended for ages 10 and older.

Sunday, February 28 at 3:00 p.m. — Once in a Lifetime (Drama; French with English subtitles). Film recommended for teenagers and older.

For more information or to view trailers, visit