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.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - Itzhak (2018)
(Sponsored by Friends of AZJHS at Westminster Village)


From Schubert to Strauss, Bach to Brahms, Mozart to…Billy Joel, Itzhak Perlman’s violin playing transcends mere performance to evoke the celebrations and struggles of real life; “praying with the violin,” says renowned Tel Aviv violin maker Amnon Weinstein.

Alison Chernick’s enchanting documentary looks beyond the sublime musician, to see the polio survivor whose parents emigrated from Poland to Israel, the young man who struggled to be taken seriously as a music student when schools saw only his disability. Itzhak himself is funny, irreverent and self-deprecating, and here his life story unspools in conversations with masterful musicians, family and friends, most endearingly his devoted wife of 50 years, Toby. Itzhak and Toby’s lives are dedicated to their large, loving, Jewish family in NYC and their continual support of young musicians in Israel. As charming and entrancing as the famous violinist himself, Itzhak is a portrait of musical virtuosity seamlessly enclosed in warmth, humor, and above all, love.  82 min.






Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - Carl Laemmle (2019) 
(Sponsored by Susan and Mark Sendrow with Susan Sacks and Jim Andrews)


Carl Laemmle is a feature documentary about the extraordinary life story of Carl Laemmle, the German-Jewish immigrant who founded Universal Pictures, and saved over 300 Jewish families from Nazi Germany.

It was Laemmle as much as anybody who invented the modern movie business. Back in 1908, he led the fight against Thomas Edison’s ruthless attempts to monopolize the film industry. He also led the immigration of filmmakers to Hollywood where he founded Universal Pictures and created Universal City, an entire city built for the sole purpose of making movies.  Ruling his movie kingdom with affability and humor unique among the early studio moguls, Carl Laemmle -- known to everyone as Uncle Carl -- turned out a highly profitable roster of monster movies, westerns, and comedies, and eventually went on to produce the film version of the anti-war classic All Quiet on the Western Front.

Shortly before Kristallnacht, Carl Laemmle began doing what few studio heads would do: rescuing Jews from Nazi Germany. Battling not just the Nazis, but the U.S. State Department, Carl wrote hundreds of affidavits and spent a great deal of his fortune finding jobs and homes for German refugees. By the time of his death in 1939, Carl Laemmle had saved over 300 Jewish families, creating a legacy in their many descendants that thrives to this day.


Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - The Road to Babi Yar (2018)
(Sponsored by Susan and Ira Feldman)


With the invasion of Germany into the territory of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, a new stage in the history of the Shoah began, characterized by the massacres of Jews, exemplified in the Ukraine.

“The road to Babi Yar” shows the events of the first 100 days of the occupation of Ukraine, during which the Nazis, with the participation of local residents, began killing Jews directly in their places of residence, as well as the evolution of the mass murder system in hundreds of killing sites, symbolized by Babi Yar.

Conversations with historians, local residents – to those events and Jewish survivors of the Shoah, presented in the film, allow us to recreate a comprehensive and painful picture of the fate of the Jews of Ukraine during the Shoah.   This film includes subtitles.   107 min.





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Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - Quality Balls - The David Steinberg Story (2013)
(Sponsored by Desert Foothills Jewish Community Association)

Americans have long depended on Canada for three things: oil, maple syrup and comedians. David Steinberg counts among Canada's biggest comedic exports. Born in Winnipeg, he attended Yeshiva in Chicago, abandoning his studies to join the legendary Second City. He never looked back.

The film features priceless archival footage of his performances, including The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where he was second only to Bob Hope in the number of appearances) and the standup shows that put him in the ranks of George Carlin and Richard Pryor. At times too controversial for US networks, his religious sermonettes generated more hate mail for CBS than any network had ever received, resulting in the cancellation of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. His directing credits are no less outstanding, including Seinfeld, Mad About You, Golden Girls and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Steinberg’s incredible career influenced a generation and now, after 25 years, he returns to the stage in this exceptional biography.  75 min.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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