The 36th Annual Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival Kicks Off November 5

A curated selection of more than 30 films celebrate Jewish identity, culture, history and community.

From Saturday, November 5 through Saturday, November 19, the Gershman Y presents its lauded annual Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival.

The 36th annual iteration of the multi-venue event includes more than 30 documentaries, narratives, feature films and shorts. Several events will even include post-film discussions with prominent members of the Jewish and film communities.

Fast Facts

  • The festival runs Saturday, November 5-Saturday, November 19.
  • The year’s lineup includes 33 films from 12 countries.
  • Screenings and discussions will be held at venues all over the city.
  • Screenings typically cost $13, but special pricing applies to several films and events.

Festival Highlights

The (lights, camera) action kicks off on Saturday, November 5 with a screening of One Week and a Day at the Kimmel Center. This powerful Israeli film depicts a married couple who must begin their lives anew after mourning a loss.

For a dose of old Hollywood, sit down on Tuesday, November 15 for a screening of 1932’s Grand Hotel, starring Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford and John Barrymore. The romantic drama will be followed by a talk by New York film critic Noah Isenberg about the film’s historical importance.

(Photo courtesy Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival)
The 36th annual Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival presents 33 films from 12 countries around the world November 5-19.

On Thursday, November 17, Shalom Italia documents three Italian Jewish brothers’ search for the cave in Tuscany where they hid from the Nazis during WWII. The screening will be followed by a post-film Skype interview with the film’s director and stars, as well as an Italian brunch curated by Gran Caffe L’Aquila.

Documentary fans will have no shortage of choices during the festival. Jerry Lewis: The Man Behind the Clown focuses on the slapstick comedian’s more serious side as a groundbreaking filmmaker. Eva Hesse tells the story of the extraordinary true life of the remarkable artist who escaped Nazi Germany as a child.

The festival closes on Saturday, November 19 with an evening of Israeli short films by and about women, ranging from a drone pilot to an aspiring actress to real-life beauty salon customers. Women in Sink, Operator, The Fine Line and Hounds are all shot in Hebrew but will include English subtitles.

Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival
(Photo courtesy Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival)
The annual Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival spans two weeks with screenings at venues including…

  • The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
  • The Gershman Y
  • National Museum of American Jewish History
  • Ritz East
  • International House Philadelphia
  • Bryn Mawr Film Institute


Tickets for most screenings cost $13 ($11 for seniors, free for students). If you’re thinking of attending multiple films, consider the $55 Five-Film Pass.

A Big Night Pass costs $75 and includes one ticket each to the Opening Night, Centerpiece and Closing Night films and receptions.

Film buffs can purchase an All-Access Festival Pass for $300, which includes admission to all films and special events.

All package ticket holders must pre-register for each screening to be guaranteed a seat.

Select screenings and events require special pricing. Go online to see the cost breakdown.

36th Annual Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival

When:Saturday, November 5 - Saturday, November 19
Where:Various locations including Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad Street
Cost:Varies by event and venue; screenings are typically $13 per person ($11 for seniors, free for students)



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