This year marks an important anniversary for the Gersham Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival. As part of its 40th-year celebrations, the GPJFF will be celebrating with a virtual two-week Fall Fest which kicks off this weekend. The festival will showcase over two dozen virtual programs and special events which include 18 world-class feature film premieres, two shorts programs and an episodic Israeli TV series.
By going virtual, the GPJFF might not be able to hold in-person events, but now this showcase has become more accessible than ever and not limited to those just in the City of Brotherly Love. Anyone can join in on the festival’s happy hours, filmmaker Q&As and panels without leaving their homes.
Opening night of the Film Festival will be the Philadelphia premiere of “Golden Voices,” an Israeli dramedy directed by Evgeny Ruman. The feature follows an elderly couple who gained notoriety for dubbing the classic films of the 20th century for Soviet audiences and now must begin their life anew in Israel upon the collapse of the Soviet Union
More stand-outs at the virtual festival this year include work from local talents. “From Philadelphia to the Front” is a locally produced documentary that was selected from the festival’s 40-year archive by GPJFF co-founder Ruth Perlmutter in honor of her late husband Archie Perlmutter, and Philadelphia artist Judy Gelles along with director Marianne Bernstein, the release states. Another local highlight comes from students from Israel American Council’s Eitanim group who submitted their project to GPJFF’s 2019 My Israel Student Short Film Competition. “My Israeli Story” is a five-minute short film and will make its premiere at this virtual showcase during the festival.
The GPJFF also will shine the light on a few works that take a look at LGBTQ issues, all of which will be available to stream for 48 hours. Those films include “Transkids,” “S Ublet,” “Shiva Baby,” and “Tahara.” There are also a few showcases that are going to look into the Black-Jewish Alliance in America. Both “They Ain’t Ready for Me,” and “Shared Legacies: The African American-Jewish Civil Rights Alliance” premiered in GPJFF’s summer film series and are back by popular demand for this year’s festival.
Arts lovers will also be able to tune into two documentaries to indulge. “On Broadway” will get your musical theater fix in, and “In Your Eyes, I See My Country,” explores the Judeo-Moroccan musical heritage and features music and songs by Neta Elkayam and Amit Haï Cohen.
According to the release, the festival also highlights new talent with two films featuring GPJFF Breakout Star Shira Haas (from “Unorthodox” and “Shtisel”). In “Asia,” a critically acclaimed Israeli drama, Shira plays a young woman coming of age and living with physical disabilities. In “Broken Mirrors,” another Israeli drama, the Emmy-nominated actor plays the rebellious daughter of an IDF commander whose obsession with discipline and order undermines his relationship with his family. A stand-up comedian named one of Time Out New York’s “Comedians to Watch” in 2019, GPJFF Rising Star Rachel Sennott is the festival’s “favorite discovery in the indie festival scene.” Sennott will take on playing the lead in “Tahara” and “Shiva Baby” this year.
Nov. 15 will also hold a special occasion for the GPJFF with the maiden voyage of the Festival’s Media Day. A few highlighted activities on the new Media Day include a first look at “Autonomies,” a new show from the creator of the hit series “Shtisel”; a free Master Class with comedian/writer/producer Raphael Bob-Waksberg, best known for creating the hit Netflix animated show “BoJack Horseman”; a free event where four Jewish artists will share their work and discuss how their art addresses contemporary social issues like democracy, systemic racism, gender inequality, global warming, immigration, and more; and the virtual premiere of Ariel Rivka Dance’s “Unorthodox.”
There are a few different options for viewers to buy passes for the GPJFF as well. Single tickets are $15 and several events are free (as long as you register in advance), or you can purchase a Piece of Cake All-Access Pass and gain access to all films and events offered in week #1 of the festival, or purchase a Second Slice All-Access Pass and gain access to all films and events presented in week #2 of the festival—each pass is priced at $180. Lastly, according to the release, one of the benefits of sponsorship is creating a personal account on GPJFF’s NEW Film Festival platform on CineSend. Similar to Netflix and other On-Demand streaming platforms, sponsors can browse and watch all of GPJFF’s Fall Fest offerings on CineSend just by logging into their accounts. Another benefit is watching festival films on their Smart TVs through GPJFF’s Roku and Apple TV apps.
To learn more information and to buy tickets visit PJFF.org