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 to RSVP or for sponsorship information

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

September 12, 2017
On the Banks of the Tigris (2015) 
(Sponsored Friends of AZJHS at Westminster Village)

hava nagila.jpg

This film tells the story of Majid Shokor, an Iraqi-Australian from a Muslim background, who discovers a hidden history - the Jewish role in Iraqi music. The film follows Majid's journey from Australia to Israel, Europe and Iraq, to meet exiled Iraqi musicians and unite them in a concert at London's Barbican Centre, where music and culture transcend religion and politics. On the Banks of the Tigris provides a nuanced and sympathetic view of the deep, intertwined roots of Muslim and Jewish people in Iraq.  Includes subtitles.   79 min.

October 10, 2017
Refusenik (2007)
(Sponsored by Sandy and Lee Shedroff)

prime ministers.jpg

is the first retrospective documentary to chronicle the thirty-year movement to free Soviet Jews. It shows how a small grassroots effort bold enough to take on a Cold War superpower blossomed into an international human rights campaign that engaged the disempowered and world leaders alike. Told through the eyes of activists on both sides of the Iron Curtain - many of whom survived punishment in Soviet Gulag labor camps - the film is a tapestry of first-person accounts of heroism, sacrifice, and ultimately, liberation. 

The campaign to free Soviet Jewry is a major event in Jewish history. By 1992, one and a half million Jews had left the Soviet Union to live in freedom as a direct result of what was likely the most successful human rights campaign of all times.   Includes subtitles.   120 min.

November 14, 2017
Hail Sid Caesar!   The Golden Age of Comedy (2001)
(Sponsored by Desert Foothills Jewish Community Association)


Sid Caesar was the star of arguably the most influential sketch comedy television show until the advent of Saturday Night Live. This documentary chronicles the amazingly talented writing staff Caesar put together in the '50s, combining this with hilarious archival footage from the show.    The story, told by Rob Reiner, profiles Sid Caesar and the effects success had on him. It tells the amazing story of what it was like to write, produce, direct and perform in a live show every Saturday night, for seven years.  The DVD features digitally restored kinescopes, rare photos, personal memorabilia and includes interviews with Woody Allen, Neil Simon, Drew Carey, Carl Reiner, and Larry Gelbart, among others.  105 min.


December 12, 2017
Surviving Skokie (2015)
(Sponsored by Susan Sacks and Jim Andrews)


They survived the horrors of the Holocaust and came to America to put the past behind. For decades they kept their awful memories secret, even from their children.  But their silence ended when a band of neo-Nazi thugs threatened to march in their quiet village of Skokie, Illinois "because that is where the Jews are."

Surviving Skokie is an intensely personal documentary by former Skokie resident Eli Adler about the provocative events of the 1970s, their aftermath, his family's horrific experience of the Shoah, and a journey with his father to confront long-suppressed memories.

As community leader and survivor Aaron Elster says in an interview: "The neo-Nazis accomplished something... they were the stimulus of the survivors getting together and saying hey, we've got to do something."  66 min.

January 9, 2018
Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem (2014)
(Sponsored by Susan and Ira Feldman)

 empire of their own.jpg 

Portraits of two beloved icons--Sholom Aleichem and Theodore Bikel--are woven together in this enchanting new documentary. The two men have much in common: wit, wisdom and talent, all shot through with deep humanity and Yiddishkeit.

This new film Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem combines Bikel's charismatic storytelling and masterful performances with a broader exploration of Aleichem's remarkable life and work.   Theodore Bikel, the unstoppable performer whose career spanned more than 150 screen roles (including an Oscar-nominated turn in The Defiant Ones) and countless stage and musical productions, was also the foremost interpreter of Sholom Aleichem's work.  Bikel, who passed away in 2015, played Tevye the Milkman on stage more than 2,000 times. Bikel animated Aleichem's work through his creation of two celebrated musical plays about the great Russian author.  75 min.



Website Builder