Monday, February 14, 2011

Come down to the 2011 Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival



The Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival is off to a great start. As you might have heard, we've expanded to three locations: Scottsdale, Chandler and Peoria in the West Valley. Saturday night we showed, the comedy, Oh What a Mess, which the trials and tribulations of an interfaith relationship as well as a love story with Orthodox Lesbians. It was preceded by a short called Gelfite Fish. Apparently there’s some Jewish tradition where the women are supposed to make their own gelfite fish for their husbands before their wedding. Yikes.

Yesterday, my friend and fellow Phoenix Holocaust Survivors Association supporter, historian Paul Wieser, (pictured) led a fascinating discussion after Against the Tide, a documentary that tells the story about the lack of a U.S. response to the Holocaust. It is really sad to realize that American Jews spent more time fighting each other than they did trying to fight the Nazi’s. Additionally, Paul Bergson and a few other men who were largely responsible for trying to do more to save the Jews of Europe were never recognized while they were alive. You can catch the 7pm screening at Scottsdale Camelview and hear Paul yourself.

Tonight there’s a Valentines Day screening of The Klezmatics, a feature-length documentary about the Grammy Award-winning, New York-based, klezmer band. followed by filmmaker Erik Greenberg Anjou.

Wednesday at 3pm in Chandler I am looking forward to seeing my favorite film of the festival, Berlin 36. Berlin 36 tells the true story of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and the fate of Jewish athlete Gretel Bergmann in the 1936 Summer Olympics. She was replaced by the Nazi regime at the eleventh hour by an athlete later discovered to be a man. We actually have Bill Goodykoontz, the film critic of the Arizona Republic moderating a discussion afterwards.

Wednesday and Thursday we are showing Savoirs in the Night at Camelview. Savoirs in the Night is based on the memories of Marga Spiegel. In her narrative, published in 1965, she describes how courageous farmers in southern Münsterland hid her, her husband Siegfried and their little daughter Karin from 1943 until 1945, thus saving them from deportation to the extermination camps in the East. The film tells this story of survival with a sense for the absurd in daily life and not without the typical Westphalian humor.

In Yad Vashem the farmers’ names are immortalized: Heinrich Aschoff, Hubert Pentrop, Bernhard Südfeld, Heinrich Silkenböhmer, Bernhard Sickmann. The Savoirs film wants to create a memorial in honor of these silent heroes.

For the entire line up, visit http://gpjff.org and be sure to follow on Facebook and Twitter.

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