GPJFF is filled with exciting post-film receptions, discussions, book signings, performances, parties, and more. It’s always wonderful to see so many familiar faces and meet some of the newest additions to our GPJFF family. Whether you attended our special events or missed out on a few, our photographers made sure to document all the fun. Enjoy perusing each set of pictures and thanks again for hanging out with us!
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Fall Fest 2019 – Opening Night Film | Picture of His Life
GPJFF’s annual Fall Fest Film & Food event began with a delicious bagel buffet along with two food shorts (Gefilte, by director and special guest, Rachel Fleit, and Tuesdays Are for Burekas), followed by Chewdaism: A Taste of Jewish Montreal. This delightful, charming Canadian documentary follows YidLife Crisis comedians Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion as they trek across Montreal to learn about its Jewish history and eat a LOT of food along the way!
GPJFF patrons got their feet moving at The Mamboniks, Lex Gillespie’s charming doc about Jews’ long history and love of “mambo” dancing! Special guest Orquesta Caché serenaded guests precluding the film.
Fall Fest 2019 | Safe Spaces
Fall Fest 2018 – Opening Night Film | The Interpreter
The newly titled 38th Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival (GPJFF) kicked off the season with the Philadelphia premiere of The Interpreter, Martin Šulík’s powerful road trip comedy/drama (also Slovakia’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film for the 2019 Oscars!). Star Peter Simonischek, best known for his hilarious role in Toni Erdmann, attended the film for a post-film Q&A and sponsor reception.
Fall Fest 2018 | Anthrax
Director Shai Scherf came to Philly to talk about his riveting new Israeli thriller, Anthrax, a gripping tale (based on true events) of a group of former IDF soldiers who begin experience strange side effects after being administered an anthrax vaccination.
Fall Fest 2018 – Spotlight Film | Who Will Write Our History
Who Will Write Our History premiered to a sold-out house at the National Museum of American Jewish History with director Roberta Grossman in attendance!
Fall Fest 2018 | Budapest Noir
Budapest Noir premiered to a sold-out theater at Reel Cinemas in Narberth with director Éva Gárdos in attendance! This stylish, engaging Hungarian noir has been a favorite at Jewish film festivals across the world.
Fall Fest 2018 – From the Vaults | Gentleman’s Agreement 35mm Screening
In a very special event, Elia Kazan’s groundbreaking Oscar winner, Gentleman’s Agreement, was presented on 35mm with Cecilia Peck (daughter of Gregory Peck!) and film historian Claudine Stevens.
Fall Fest 2018 – Tikkun Olam Film | Heather Booth: Changing the World
Activist and political organizer Heather Booth joined director Lilly Rivlin for the premiere of their inspiring, deeply important new film, Heather Booth: Changing the World.
Fall Fest 2018 | Song of Back and Neck
Paul Lieberstein (best known as Toby from The Office) and co-star/co-producer Jennifer Prediger attend the festival for their hilariously quirky new comedy, Song of Back and Neck, and a post-film happy hour at Positano Coast.
Fall Fest 2018 – Closing Night Film | Promise at Dawn
GPJFF closed its 38th fall festival with Promise at Dawn, a sprawling French epic starring Pierre Niney and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Fall Fest 2018 – Film & Food | Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas
GPJFF38 closed its Fall Fest season with the delightful, toe-tapping Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas at the Gershman Y. This engaging musical doc explores the Jewish roots of some of the most iconic Christmas songs. The evening was accompanied by performances by The Village Carolers and a post-film Chinese cuisine and reception.
Lindy CineMondays 2019 – Opening Night Film | Redemption
Lindy CineMondays 2019 – Young Professionals Night | Leona
Week two of Lindy CineMondays kicked off with Leona, a beautifully filmed, truthful coming-of-age tale from Mexican filmmaker Isaac Cherem. Partnered with Tribe 12, GPJFF hosted a pre-film happy hour at the nearby Lucha Cartel. After the film, Olivia Antsis (Executive Artistic Director of GPJFF) conducted a Q&A with local artist Caitlin Herrschaft whose murals are featured in the film. Even more, Isaac himself Skyped in to join the conversation!
Lindy CineMondays 2019 – Closing Night Film | Tel Aviv on Fire
Lindy CineMondays ended another fabulous season with the Philadelphia premiere of Tel Aviv on Fire, Sameh Zoabi’s critically acclaimed Israeli/Palestinian comedy. The film was followed by a discussion led by Dr. Sara Byala of the University of Pennsylvania and Sameh himself. Guests were then treated to a delightful reception with food and libations in the lobby of the theater.
Fall Fest 2017 – Opening Night Film | The Cakemaker
The 37th Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival opened to a packed house at The Gershman Y with The Cakemaker, Ofir Raul Graizer’s stunning dramatic debut. The screening was followed by a private reception for our incredible sponsors and supporters who have helped us keep this festival moving forward.
Fall Fest 2017 | My Art
PJFF37 premiered My Art at NMAJH, the new film from writer/director/star Laurie Simmons (a graduate of Temple University’s Tyler School of Art). Actor John Rothman, who stars in the comedy, attended the screening for a post-film Q&A, charming the audience with anecdotes, personal stories, and behind-the-scenes commentary.
Fall Fest 2017 – Film & Food | Body and Soul: An American Bridge
PJFF37’s first Food & Film event kicked off at The Gershman Y with Body and Soul: An American Bridge, Robert Philipson’s masterful documentary. The film was followed by a delicious soul food brunch curated by Aprons Soul Food Restaurant. Robert himself also attended the screening for a post-film Q&A.
Fall Fest 2017 – Centerpiece Film | Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
PJFF37 presented its Centerpiece Film, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, at The Gershman Y. This sold-out screening about the life of renowned actress and inventor, Ms. Hedy Lamarr, was followed by a Q&A with its director, Alexandra Dean, and a vintage Hollywood-inspired reception.
Fall Fest 2017 – Spotlight Film | Keep the Change
PJFF37 was pleased to premiere Keep the Change at NMAJH, a charming modern day romance between two young people on the spectrum who meet and fall in love at a JCC group. Director Rachel Israel and stars Brandon Polansky, Samantha Elisofon, and Will Deaver attended the screening for a post-film Q&A.
Fall Fest 2017 | Master Class with Barak Heymann
PJFF37 and Penn Cinema Studies presented an informative Master Class at the University of Pennsylvania with Israeli filmmaker Barak Heymann. Together with his brother, Tomer Heymann, Barak has created poignant documentaries that merge current social and political issues with the deeply personal. Their films have garnered prestigious awards and screenings at festivals worldwide.
Fall Fest 2017 – Closing Night Film | Harmonia
The 37th Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival concluded with Harmonia, Ori Sivan’s modern day version of the biblical tale of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar set amidst the Jerusalem Philharmonic Orchestra. Alon Aboutboul, the star of the film, was present for a post-film Q&A with PJFF’s Artistic Director, Iris Drechsler.
Fall Fest 2017 – Brunch & Film | Love Is Thicker Than Water
The final day of the 37th Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival opened with a bagel brunch with libations at The Gershman Y followed by a bonus screening of Love Is Thicker Than Water, a lovely British interfaith romantic comedy. Co-director Ate de Jong attended the event for a post-film Q&A.
CineMondays 2018 – Opening Night Film | GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II
PJFF CineMondays 2018 kicked off the season with an unforgettable, sold-out screening of GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II at the Prince Theater. The screening was followed by a Q&A with director Lisa Ades and a delicious reception.
CineMondays 2018 – Closing Night Film | Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel
PJFF CineMondays 2018 closed its fantastic season at NMAJH with the Philly premiere of Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel. With a plethora of special guests (including the Phillie Phanatic himself!), guests were treated to a baseball-themed reception following the film.
Fall Fest 2016 – Opening Night Film | One Week and a Day
PJFF’s 36th ‘Double Chai’ Festival opened at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts with Asaph Polonsky’s poignant One Week and a Day and special guest, Isaac Zablocki, Director of Film Programs at JCC Manhattan. The night ended with a private reception at The Gershman Y for VIPs, Sponsors, Supporters, and Pass Holders.
Fall Fest 2016 | Sand Storm
PJFF was delighted to host the Philadelphia premiere of Sand Storm, Israel’s submission for the 89th Academy Awards, at the Ritz East with special guest Steve Dinero, Professor of Liberal Arts at Philadelphia University. Viewers were invited to attend a post-film happy hour at the nearby Positano Coast for free hors d’œuvres and drink specials.
Fall Fest 2016 – Centerpiece Film | The Last Laugh
In an unforgettable evening, comedian Judy Gold took to The Gershman Y stage for a quick stand-up routine before introducing Ferne Pearlstein, the director of PJFF’s thought-provoking Centerpiece Film, The Last Laugh. After the film, Judy and Ferne joined Robert Edwards, producer of The Last Laugh, Paul Lewis, Professor of English at Boston College, and PJFF screening committee member, Dr. Elliot Ratzman, for a very interesting discussion about the difference between comedians pushing boundaries and crossing the line when it comes to writing comedy about sensitive and tragic topics. Following the discussion, the audience was welcomed to a complimentary reception with delicious food and libations.
Fall Fest 2016 – Film & Food | Shalom Italia
PJFF hosted a tasty food and brunch event at The Gershman Y for Shalom Italia, Tamar Tal Anati’s tender new documentary. Following the film, viewers were treated to an authentic Italian spread curated by Philly’s own Gran Caffe L’Aquila and a live Skype Q&A with Tamar herself, along with Andrea and Bubi, two of the three brothers from the film.
Fall Fest 2016 | Moos
The delightful Jip Smit joined PJFF to talk about her new leading role in the Dutch comedy, Moos, at the Ritz East. Guests were invited to The Little Lion for complimentary appetizers and drink specials after the film.
Fall Fest 2016 – Closing Night Film | Women in Shorts
PJFF 36 ended its unforgettable two-week run at The Gershman Y with Women in Shorts, four extraordinary short Israeli films by or about women. Special guests included Iris Zaki, director of Women in Sink, and Omer Tobi and Gil Sima, director and producer of Hounds. Following the post-film discussion led by PJFF Artistic Chair, Iris Drechsler, guests were invited to mix and mingle at PJFF’s Closing Night reception.
CineMondays 2017 – Opening Night Film | The Women’s Balcony
PJFF CineMondays 2017 kicked off the season at The Gershman Y with The Women’s Balcony, Israel’s charming box office smash from 2016. David’s Harp, a Sephardic musical group, performed for guests before the film. Special guest Shlomit Nehama, the screenwriter of the film, participated in a live Q&A following the film.
CineMondays 2017 | Norman
Week two of CineMondays 2017 began with a special advanced screening of Norman, the newest star-studded drama from acclaimed director Joseph Cedar. The film was screened at the Ritz East with star Lior Ashkenazi himself. Preceding the movie, there was a small cocktail party with Lior as well at a private home in Society Hill.
CineMondays 2017 – Closing Night Film | Big Sonia
CineMondays 2017 ended its glorious run with the award-winning documentary, Big Sonia, and the Oscar-nominated documentary short, Joe’s Violin, at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The night concluded with a beautiful violin performance by Brianna Perez and Kokoe Tanaka-Suwan, the subjects of Joe’s Violin.
Fall Fest 2015 – Opening Night Film | Dough
PJFF’s 35th Anniversary Season opened with a Philadelphia premiere screening of Dough, featuring special guests John Goldschmidt and Jerome Holder and a private reception for PJFF Sponsors and Supporters.
Fall Fest 2015 | Deli Man
One of the best-loved events of PJFF35, we were privileged to present the charming documentary, Deli Man, along with a catered deli lunch and fascinating discussion with an amazing panel of deli insiders!
Fall Fest 2015 | A Blind Hero: The Love Of Otto Weidt
PJFF35 guests enjoyed a post-film happy hour at Old City’s Positano Coast following a screening of A Blind Hero: The Love of Otto Weidt, a powerful and moving docudrama.
Fall Fest 2015 – Centerpiece Film | A Very Semi-Serious Evening with Roz Chast
It was a packed house for PJFF35’s Centerpiece event, a Philadelphia premiere screening of the documentary Very Semi-Serious with special guest, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast!
Fall Fest 2015 – Spotlight Film | East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem
Legendary Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza joined us for a discussion and performance following the screening of the fantastic documentary East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem.
Fall Fest 2015 | Red Leaves
Barbara Ribakove Gordon, Executive Director of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry, joined us for this incredible film and Ethiopian brunch.
Fall Fest 2015 | Natasha
PJFF35 guests got to mingle at Old City’s Prime Stache with Natasha star Sasha K. Gordon and director/author David Bezmozgis.
Fall Fest 2015 – Closing Night Film | Soft Vengeance –
An Evening with the Honorable Albie Sachs
PJFF35 closed with the audience favorite documentary, Soft Vengeance, and the presentation of the Tikkun Olam Award to the guest of honor himself, Albie Sachs.
CineMondays 2016 – Opening Night Film | In Search of Israeli Cuisine
PJFF CineMondays 2016 began with a SOLD-OUT screening of In Search of Israeli Cuisine, a delectable documentary that featuring local Zahav chef, Michael Solomonov. The screening featured a post-film Q&A with Michael and director Roger Sherman, along with an autograph signing and mouthwatering food reception!
Fall Fest 2014 – Opening Night Film | Anywhere Else
Actor Neta Riskin joined us for our Opening Night celebration, followed by a private reception for PJFF Sponsors and Supporters.
Fall Fest 2014 | The Sturgeon Queens
Following PJFF’s Philadelphia premiere screening of The Sturgeon Queens, dozens of film and fish lovers joined us at Hamilton Hall for a Russ & Daughters Brunch and Book Talk by Mark Russ Federman, author of Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House That Herring Built.
Fall Fest 2014 | Etgar Keret: What Animal Are You?