Documentary Film Series

Please join us once a month for a FREE documentary film screening. 

Special thanks to our SPONSORS, who enable us to screen these films free to the public. 
Email lbell@azjhs.org to RSVP or for sponsorship information

Special thanks also to the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and Arizona Commission for the Arts for supporting our documentary film series and other fine arts and culture programs.


January 8, 2019 - SOLD OUT
After Auschwitz (2017)

(Sponsored by Anne & Ronald Weinstock and Susan Owens)

Encore Screening Tuesday, January 15th at 7pm.  Seats available.

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"You're free. Go home." For survivors of the Holocaust, liberation from the camps was the beginning of a life long struggle. They wanted to go home, but there was no home left in Europe. They came to America and wanted to tell people about their pasts, but were silenced for over three decades. 

After Auschwitz is a "Post-Holocaust" documentary that captures what it means to survive and try to live a normal life after unspeakable tragedy. Six extraordinary women who all survived Auschwitz take us on a journey that American audiences have never seen before. These women all moved to Los Angeles, married, raised children and became "Americans" but they never truly found a place to call home. What makes the story so much more fascinating is how these women saw, interpreted and interacted with the changing face of America in the second half of the 20th century. They serve as our guides on an unbelievable journey, sometimes celebratory, sometimes heart breaking but always inspiring. After Auschwitz gives us the story that we have always wanted to see and one that in many ways is as important as the stories of the camps themselves.  75 min.




February 5, 2019 - SOLD OUT
Encore Screening added February 6, 2019 at 7pm - Seats Available
Violins of Hope (2016)
(Sponsored by Susie and Tim Ernst)
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For Jews during the Holocaust, there wasn't much reprieve from the despair and horror surrounding them, but music— particularly that of violins, which hold an important role in Jewish culture—offered temporary solace and a glimmer of humanity. Violinists in concentration camps were sometimes treated better and even spared their lives because of their ability to play this important instrument. 

Narrated by Adrien Brody, Violins of Hope follows the journey of Israeli violinmaker Amnon Weinstein in his efforts to restore violins recovered from the Holocaust, and captures the lessons and highlights the music the instruments now bring to others.   These special artifacts from the Holocaust, which Weinstein has dubbed the "Violins of Hope," include instruments that were played by Jewish prisoners in concentration camps and others that belonged to the Klezmer musical culture. The program chronicles the journey of the instruments from Weinstein's small workshop in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he has worked for two decades to repair the violins to Cleveland, where they were brought in 2015.   
57 min. 

This screening is part of the larger Violins of Hope project, which runs through March 2019.  Visit violinsofhopephoenix.org for more information    

 

March 12, 2019

The Untamable Kirk Douglas (2018)
 
(Sponsored by Susan Sacks and Jim Andrews)

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It is a difficult task to tell the story of such a legend, one of the last living stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. There were so many films, so many events… To make a film about, and with, Kirk Douglas is to travel through the 20th century and, in doing so, revisit practically the entire history of Hollywood. That is a testament to the scope of this life, and the scale of the myth.  52 min.


April 9, 2019
Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel (2017)
(Sponsored by Susan and Mark Sendrow)


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Heading Home follows a team of current and former Jewish Major League Baseball players on their first trip to Israel and their journey to capture Israel’s first baseball championship.

Thanks to legends like Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg and modern players like Shawn Green and Alex Bregman, Jews have always had a deep connection to baseball – watching it, arguing about it, playing it, and even excelling in it on the highest professional level. Many of those pro players have not had much exposure to Judaism, much less visited Israel.  In the fall of 2016, several American Jewish baseball players agree to play for Team Israel at the World Baseball Classic qualifier in Brooklyn, winning and making it for the first time in the country’s history to the World Baseball Classic in South Korea in March 2017. Prior to that, the delegation of American-based baseball players make a historic visit to the Promised Land, a “birthright” trip of sorts for the majority of them. While visiting Israel on a 10-day whirlwind trip, the group experienced huge laughs, unexpected tears, and a ton of soul-searching.

While throwing curve balls, turning double plays, and stealing home are everyday occurences for these Jewish baseball players, Heading Home steals the hearts of everyone who loves the game.  92 min.

  

May 9, 2019
Back to Berlin (2018)
(Sponsored by Sharon and Joe Luber)

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In the summer of 2015, the European Maccabi Games (also known as the Jewish Olympics) were held in Germany for the first time since the Second World War at the site of Hitler’s infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics.  This symbolic moment is captured in the documentary feature, “Back to Berlin”, which follows eleven modern day motor bikers on a mission to carry the Maccabiah torch, and fly the Israeli flag from Tel Aviv to Berlin. 

These riders follow in the tracks of early 1930’s bikers, who in one of the most innovative PR exercises of all time, set out from Palestine to all corners of Europe to search for athletes for the first Maccabi Games in the British Mandate of Palestine in 1932.  The documentary also charts the fascinating history of the Maccabiah Movement and puts it into a fresh historical context.

Back to Berlin is the first Biker-Flick meets Holocaust, educational fly on the wall documentary; mixing archival footage of the original bikers, pertinent historical events with the personal revelations of the 2015 bikers to deliver a deep and profound message.  75 min.

 

June 11, 2019
Doing Jewish: A Story From Ghana (2018)
(Sponsored by Susan and Ira Feldman)

What does religion mean to you? When Gabrielle Zilkha volunteered to work in Africa, religion wasn’t at the forefront of her mind. But when the Jewish New Year came along she realized she was a lone Canadian Jew awash in a sea of Christians. Surprisingly, she found, in remote Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana, a group of people, dedicated and devout, who practiced special rites including circumcision and keeping Kosher dietary laws and had done so for centuries. Only recently had they discovered they were part of a worldwide religion with millions of followers – Judaism.

Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana, is an exploration of the background and day to day lives of the Jews of Sewfi Wiawso. At the same time, it shows the importance of connections, as we see the Sefwis try to reach out to other Jews worldwide and witness their ongoing struggle for acceptance and growth. Their leader, Alex Armah, tells us his dream is to see his congregation achieve official status, and to know and understand their history. But what is their history? Made over the course of five years, Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana is a fascinating study of Judaism and belonging.   84 min.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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