37th Annual Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival

 Some very special guests are packing their bags to visit Philadelphia for the 37th Annual Philadelphai Jewish Film Festival
And with 35 films set to screen in 12 venues over 12 days in November (the 4th to the 19th — save the dates!), we’re busily booking directors, stars, film subjects, experts, and film buffs to facilitate meaningful conversation after each film. It’s a PJFF tradition — we love cinema but we also cherish the conversations that take place in the wake of stirring cinematic experiences.
To see our Official Film Guide, click on the image of our cover (featuring our Centerpiece Film BOMBSHELLsubject, Hedy Lamarr) or, click HERE!
Below, read about the fantastic guests who have been confirmed to present and moderate after-film discussions. Each film is accompanied by a link to the film’s page on our PJFF homepage, a trailer or clip for the film, and a direct link to a ticket purchasing page.

Monday, November 6  2:00 PM  The Gershman Y
Special Guest: Director Yonatan Nir

MY HERO BROTHER is a tender and inspirational documentary follows eleven remarkable young people with Down syndrome and their siblings who begin an arduous two-month journey through the Indian Himalayas. Watch the trailer HERE, visit the film’s page HERE, or buy your tickets right now HERE!

THE ESSENTIAL LINK sheds light on one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century — an Oskar Schindler-type hero who used his wealth and connections to save over 10,000 Jews during the Holocaust. Watch the trailer HERE, visit the film’s page HERE, or buy your tickets right now HERE!

Award-winning filmmaker Yonatan Nir has been telling stories for over a decade – from epic photojournalist reports to the critically acclaimed Dolphin Boy (2011), which was acquired by Disney Pictures and screened in over 130 film festivals; a film in which he successfully captures and portrays unique relationships formed between man and nature. Read more about Nir HERE!

Thursday, November 9  11:00 AM  The Gershman Y
Special Guest: Director Robert Philipson (plus a Settlement School jazz quartet!)

A testament to the power of music to transcend cultural/ ethnic differences and bring people together, BODY AND SOUL celebrates one of the most influential compositions of the 20th century Jazz canon. Watch a trailer HERE, visit the film’s page HERE, and get your tickets HERE!

Robert Philipson backed into filmmaking when he took an Introduction of Videography course at Berkeley City College while trying to learn how to operate a camera. Already an experienced writer and college professor (Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin), Robert was blessed with an intuitive sense of form and structure. Read more about Philipson HERE!

Centerpiece Film
Saturday, November 6  7:30 PM  The Gershman Y
Special Guest: Director Alexandra Dean and subject/author Fleming Meeks

Beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, BOMBSHELL reveals the “real” Hedy Lamarr — a passionate inventor whose frequency-hopping device revolutionized weapons systems and laid the groundwork for Bluetooth technology. Watch a clip HERE, visit the film’s pageHERE, and get your tickets RIGHT NOW!

Alexandra Dean is an Emmy award-winning journalist and documentary director. She produced news-magazine stories and documentaries for PBS and Bloomberg television. She’s also worked as a print journalist, writing about invention for Businessweek magazine. She is a founding member of Reframed Pictures along with actress Susan Sarandon and producer Adam Haggiag. Read more about Dean HERE!

Fleming Meeks is an award-winning financial writer and editor whose extensive interviews with Hedy Lamarr, for a 1990 article in Forbes magazine, form the backbone of Bombshell. Meeks recently stepped down as Executive Editor of Barron’s after an 18-year run at Dow Jones. Read more about Meeks HERE!

Tikkun Olam film
Monday, November 13 
 7:00 PM  Lightbox Film Center
Special Guest: Director Sophia Cruz

This deeply moving award-winning documentary highlights four women from across the globe who use art to empower women and girls and battle global gender-based violence.Watch the trailer HERE, visit the film’s page HERE and get your tickets HERE!

Sophia Kruz is an EMMY® Award-winning documentary filmmaker and TEDx speaker. Her work has been broadcast nationally and screened at film festivals and museums around the world. Her most recent film, Little Stones, won Best Documentary at the Vail Film Festival, Best Foreign Documentary at the Female Eye Film Festival, the Humanitarian Award from DOCUTAH International Documentary Film Festival, and an Award of Excellence from Impact Docs. Read more about Kruz HERE!
Wednesday, November 15  7:00 PM  National Museum of American Jewish History
Special Guest: Directeor Rachel Israel and the cast of the film

This heartfelt and award-winning romance of two young people on the autistic spectrum will undoubtedly be among the most genuine and memorable comedies you’ll see in the theater this year. Watch an excerpt HERE, visit the film’s page HERE, and get your ticketsHERE!
achel Israel (Writer/Director) received her B.F.A. from Rhode Island School of Design and her M.F.A. from Columbia University. She lives in NYC and is an adjunct professor of film at Rhode Island School of Design. She was an associate producer on Violet & Daisy (2011) and has directed short films that have screened at festivals around the world. Read more about Israel HERE!

Bagels & Sips at 11 AM
Sunday, November 19  12:30 PM  The Gershman Y
Special Guest: Director Ate de Jong

Sharing the quirky undertones of the 2009 hit, (500) Days of SummerLOVE IS THICKER THAN WATER shines as a Romeo and Juliet story for the modern age with a touch of prickly humor. Watch the trailer HERE, visit the film’s page HERE, and get your ticketsHERE!

Ate de Jong was born in 1953. He studied at the Film Academy of Amsterdam from 1970 to 1974 where he also studied philosophy. From 1976 to 1986, he directed six feature films in the Netherlands includingA Flight of RainbirdsBurning Love and Shadow of Victory. Read more about de Jong HERE!

Wednesday, November 8  7:00 PM  National Museum of American Jewish History
Special Guest: Star John Rothman
In MY ART, Laurie Simmons (a notable graduate of Temple University’s Tyler School of Art) runs the show as star, writer and director, crafting a rom-com about creative self-realization and its limits and contradictions. Watch a trailer HERE, visit the film’s pageHERE, and then get your tickets NOW!
John Rothman has worked steadily on stage, screen, and television for forty years. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, he has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in many plays directed by such illustrious directors as Mike Nichols, Michael Blakemore, and, this past season, Trevor Nunn. Read more about Rothman HERE!

Sunday, November 12  7:00 PM  Hiway Theater
Special Guest: Child psychologist Dr. Henri Parens

Monday, November 13  2:00 PM  The Gershman Y
Special Guest: Film subject Dr. Henri Parens

Based on a true story, THE CHILDREN OF CHANCE is a heartwarming coming-of-age film about a young Jewish boy who is admitted into a French children’s hospital during WWII. Watch the trailer HERE, visit the film’s page HERE, and get your tickets HERE!

In his eye-popping documentary, Australian filmmaker-artist Philippe Mora traces his family’s incredible story of survival by taking viewers along on his flavor-rich, cross-continental journey through time. Watch the trailer for MONSIEUR MAYONNAISE HERE, visit the film’s page HERE, and get your tickets NOW!

Dr. Henri Parens has been in private practice of Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis for over 50 years. He has held a number of Training and Professional Administrative posts and was Director of the Early Child Development Program, MCP/EPPI & President of Parenting for Emotional Growth. Read more about Dr. Parens HERE!

Thursday, November 16  7:00 PM  Landmark Theatres Ritz East
Special Guest: Star Ben Avni
SAVING NETA is a compelling and detail-rich character study follows four women who come into contact with the film’s titular character, a man named Neta. Watch a trailerHERE, visit the film’s page HERE, and get your tickets HERE!
Benny Avni is an Israeli actor, known for Pilpelim Tsehubim (2010), Nymphs in the Mist (2007),Hachaverim Shel Naor (2006), and The Witch from Melchet Street (2005).

Saturday, November 18  7:30 PM  The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Special Guest: Star Alon Aboutboul
HARMONIA is a modern-day adaptation of the biblical tale of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar is set amidst the backdrop of the Jerusalem Philharmonic Orchestra. Watch the trailerHERE, visit the film’s page HERE, and get your tickets HERE!
Alon Aboutboul’s first role in a big popular film was in 1986 when he was cast in the Israeli film, Shtei Etzbaot Mi’Tzidon (Two Fingers from Sidon), a movie which took place in the 1982 Lebanon War. For his performance in the film, Aboutboul was later awarded the Best Actor award at the Jerusalem Film Festival. Read more about Aboutboul HERE!


Special guest: Dr. Jerry Kutnick, Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of History, Gratz College • Read more HERE!
Film Page • Trailer • Ticket link

Special guest: Dr. Marcia Littell, Emeritus Professor at Stockton University in New Jersey where she founded America’s first Master of Arts Degree in Holocaust and Genocide Studies • Read more HERE!
Film Page • Trailer • Ticket link

Special guest: Rabbi Mordechai Vardi, Head of the screenwriting department at The Ma’aleh School of Television, Film and the Arts in Jerusalem • Read more HERE!
Film Page •

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