Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival Celebrates 20th Anniversary in Valley

By Ingrid Sanora

Shalom, Glendale! The Annual Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival is back in the Valley, celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year. The film festival will be held at Harkins Theatres in Scottsdale, Peoria and Chandler from Feb. 14 through Feb. 28.

These last two weeks in February will be full of “Great Films — With a Little Jewish Flare.” The festival features films from 10 countries such as Belgium, France, Argentina, Czech Republic and Canada to name a few. Featuring films from several different countries allows viewers to get a sense of other cultures’ outlooks on life and situations they have faced or could face.

The films range from documentaries to dramas and even romantic comedies. The films include: “Apples From the Desert,” “Dough,” “Bad Faith,” “Belle and Sebastian,” “A Blind Hero: The Love of Otto Weidt,” “Free Men,” “The German Doctor,” “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” “In Silence,” Once In a Lifetime,” “Rabin In His Own Words,” “Rock In the Red Zone,” “To Life!,” “Serial (Bad) Weddings,” “Tuviansky,” “Secrets of War,” and “The Wandering Muse.”

Bob Segelbaum, the director of the festival said, “My favorites are “Dough,” from England, a comedy, “Rabin In His Own Words,” from Israel, a documentary, “Secrets of War from the Netherlands,” a drama, and “Serial (Bad) Weddings” from France, a comedy.  A hidden gem of a film is “Rock in the Red Zone,” a documentary from Israel about the many rock and roll bands that have come from Sderot, a town in southern Israel which is constantly under almost daily rocket attacks from Gaza.”

This year’s GPJFF is special in that this year will be its twentieth anniversary. In celebration of that, there will be a party held at the Phoenix Art Museum Feb. 11, featuring music, some appetizers, beverages, cake and then a documentary about music Jewish music from various continents called “The Wandering Muse.”

Here are a few short previews of some of the films available at the festival:

“Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem” – This film is about a woman named Viviane Amsalem trying to divorce her husband, in a court where a husband gets to decide whether there is a divorce or not. In this case, the husband refuses to agree to one. This film will keep you at the edge of your seat just and will frustrate you almost as much as Viviane is frustrated going through the trial to divorce her husband.

“Bad Faith” – Clara and Ismael are a happy couple that’s overjoyed when they find out they’re expecting a baby. However, since Clara is Jewish and Ismael is Muslim, they discover their religion and where they come from is very important to them. They struggle to see eye-to-eye on this issue. The film will have you rooting for the couple to work things out.

“Serial (Bad) Weddings” –  This is a comedy about a Catholic family that goes through a series of multicultural weddings when their daughters marry men outside of the Catholic religion. The film is ruthless, in that it pokes fun at just about every culture. It is sure to keep you laughing throughout the entire film.

The price for tickets are $11 for adults ($13 at the door) and $7 for students under 25 years of age (ID required). For more information on tickets call 602-753-9366 or visit