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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2019-20 Season

Fall Fest 2019 – Opening Night Film | Picture of His Life

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The 39th Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival (GPJFF) premiered with Picture of His Life, an astounding Israeli documentary about one of the most daring, adventurous wildlife photographers around today: Amos Nachoum. Co-director Dani Menkin attended the film which was followed by a delectable reception in the Philadelphia Film Center lobby.
Fall Fest 2019 – Centerpiece Film | Latter Day Jew
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It was a sold-out event at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre for GPJFF’s annual Fall Fest Centerpiece Film! Latter Day Jew, directed by Aliza Rosen, is a hilarious yet deeply moving documentary about comedian H. Alan Scott, a former Mormon/cancer survivor who decides to convert to Judaism. Both Rosen and Scott, along with producer Todd Shotz, attended the film, which was followed by a delectable reception.
Fall Fest 2019 – Film & Food | Chewdaism: A Taste of Jewish Montreal
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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!
Fall Fest 2019 | The Mamboniks
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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
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It was a delightful night at the Ritz East where GPJFF premiered director Daniel Schechter’s new New York comedy/drama, Safe Spaces. Daniel himself attended the screening, which was followed by a happy hour at Positano Coast.
Fall Fest 2019 – Closing Night Film | Standing Up, Falling Down
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Fall Fest 2019 ended with a completely sold out, 450-seat showing of Standing Up, Falling Down, a delightful buddy comedy starring Ben Schwartz and Billy Crystal. An unforgettable night, indeed!
Jewish New Media Festival 2019 – Opening Night | VIRTUAL BODIES // the world to come + YidLive!
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The nation’s first-ever Jewish New Media Festival kicked off at the National Museum of American Jewish History with VIRTUAL BODIES // the world to come, a stunning exhibition featuring VR art installations and more. This was followed by YidLive!, a hilarious evening hosted by Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion of YouTube’s hit series, YidLife Crisis.

Jewish New Media Festival 2019 – Closing Night | An Evening with Jessica Katz
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The Jewish New Media Festival concluded with a very special evening with mother and daughter Nancy Spielberg and Jessica Katz. Nancy, sister of world-renowned Steven Spielberg, is an accomplished executive producer whose films we have had the privilege of showing for many years now. Jessica is a singer, voice actor, and currently co-host of Amazon’s hit show, Tech Talk.

2018-19 Season

Fall Fest 2018 – Opening Night Film | The Interpreter

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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GPJFF’s sixth annual, newly titled Lindy CineMondays spring series kicked off at the National Museum of American Jewish History with the Philly premiere of Redemption. Yossi Madmoni and Boaz Yehonatan Yaacov’s powerful Israeli musical drama has moved audiences at festivals (both Jewish and non-Jewish) around the world!


Lindy CineMondays 2019 – Young Professionals Night | Leona

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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

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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.

2017-18 Season

Fall Fest 2017 – Opening Night Film | The Cakemaker

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

2016-17 Season

Fall Fest 2016 – Opening Night Film | One Week and a Day

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

2015-16 Season

Fall Fest 2015 – Opening Night Film | Dough

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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