Denver Jewish Film Festival Returns February 14-March 1

26th annual festival will showcase 34 films and shorts through virtual and in-person events

DENVER, Colo., January 18, 2022 – The 26th Annual JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center’s Denver Jewish Film Festival powered by The Chotin Foundation will be held virtually and in-person from February 14 to 22 and will be followed by an entirely virtual festival from February 23 through March 1, 2022. The festival includes 34 films and shorts showcasing cinema from 14 countries. Films cover a variety of diverse topics, many showcasing stories of perseverance through different lenses. Tickets and festival passes went on sale on January 19 at 10 a.m.

“Our goal in selecting the films for this year’s festival was to showcase a broad array of film topics that would appeal to varied audiences including films from Jewish and Israeli directors and filmmakers about friendship, hardship, and stories of love, to name a few overarching themes,” said Rich Cowden, general manager of the JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center. “We are also pleased to announce that more than forty percent of the films in the festival are from female directors. With COVID-19 continuing to impact in-person events, we are excited to offer virtual viewing options throughout the festival to expand its reach to people across Colorado, not just to those in our own community.”

Film highlights include:

Persian Lessons
  • Persian Lessons – Monday, February 14 at 7 p.m. (opening night): An unconventional friendship grows between a German chef of a concentration camp kitchen, Klaus Koch, and the young Belgian Jew, Gilles, who falsely claims to be Persian in order to survive a mass shooting. He is now obliged to teach Klaus a language that he only pretends to know.
    • Tickets to the VIP opening night celebration are $75 and include a champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception and film screening.  
  • Neighbours – Thursday, February 17 at 8 p.m.:A little village on the Syrian-Turkish border in the early 80’s: A six-year-old Kurdish boy experiences his first year in an Arab school and sees how his little world is radically changed by absurd nationalism. With a fine sense of humor and satire, the film tells of a childhood, which, between dictatorship and dark drama, also has its light moments. How much friendship, love and solidarity are possible in times of repression and despotism?
    • WINNER! SF Film Critics Jury Prize – San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 2021
    • Audience Award – Boston Jewish Film Festival 2021
  • Here We Are preceded by A Father’s Kaddish – Sunday, February 20 at 1 p.m.:
    • Here We Are – Aharon has devoted his life to raising his son Uri. They live together in a gentle routine, away from the real world. But Uri is autistic, and now as a young adult, it might be time for him to live in a specialized home.
    • A Father’s Kaddish tells the story of how Steven Branfman used the art of pottery to help him work through his grief after the death of his 23-year-old son. The film is a potent and moving journey through the universal experience of loss, mourning and rebuilding a life.
      • Steven Branfman, featured in the short film A Father’s Kaddish, will have his pottery on display at the Plinth Gallery in Denver starting on February 4. Plinth Gallery will host a special opening on February 19 from 7-9 p.m. leading up to the film’s showing at The Elaine Wolf Theatre on February 20 at 1 p.m. Plinth Gallery is located at 3520 Brighton Blvd. in Denver.
  • Plan A – Tuesday, February 22, 8 p.m. (closing night of hybrid festival): Based on the incredible true story of the “Avengers,” a group of Jewish vigilantes, men and woman, who after surviving the holocaust are vowing to avenge the death of their people.
  • Unreined – Available on-demand Wednesday, February 23 through Tuesday, March 1: Nancy Zeitlin is fearless when adapting to a new country, breaking stereotypes and leaping over societal barriers. Born in San Diego, she moves to Israel as a child. As she rises to become an Olympic-level equestrian, she must navigate through a divided religious and secular Israeli society outside and inside her own family. 
Here We Are (2020)

“We are excited to sponsor the Denver Jewish Film Festival for the second year,” said Robin Chotin, director of The Chotin Foundation. “Our goal is to support organizations that provide expanded access of arts and cultural programs to Colorado communities, along with funding programs that create cultural and educational experiences for families, children and individuals with an emphasis on the Jewish community. The Denver Jewish Film Festival fits perfectly into this by providing diverse and thought-provoking films.”

To see the complete lineup of films and to purchase tickets, visit www.jccdenver.org/film. Tickets can also be purchased in-person at the JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center Box Office located at 350 S. Dahlia Street in Denver Monday to Friday from 12-5 p.m. and one hour before all in-person screenings. Pricing for individual tickets and festival passes is as follows:

  • Virtual films cost $20 per household per film.
  • Individual tickets to in-person events cost $15 per person for adults, $13 for students and seniors.
  • All-Access Festival Pass for 16 admissions and 26 virtual unlocks (All films also available on-demand for seven days after in-person screening)  – $499 ($760 value)
  • In-Person Only Pass for 16 admissions (All films also available on-demand for seven days after in-person screening) – $189 ($240 value)
  • On-Demand Only Festival Pass for 26 virtual unlocks – $349 ($520 value)

For the first week of the festival from February 14-22, films will be available virtually through Eventive the day after the in-person screening for seven days. Films showing solely through the Virtual Festival will be available from February 23-March 1. Virtual films can easily be viewed by Chromecasting to your TV, or via the Eventive Smart TV apps for Roku or Apple TV. 

The JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center follows the direction of the CDC, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and local Denver government for its health and safety policy. Ticket holders will be responsible for affirming their commitment to following any and all health and safety policies upon purchasing seats for in-person screenings.  While these guidelines continue to evolve, please expect to wear a mask and prepare to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 upon visiting the theatre for in-person events. For information on policies, visit https://djff.eventive.org/2022Policies.

ABOUT JCC MIZEL ARTS AND CULTURE CENTER

As one of the Rocky Mountain region’s premier arts organizations, the JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center illuminates the human experience through creative and cultural programs in the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts for the Jewish community and the Denver community at-large. The Mizel Arts and Culture Center is a Tier II member of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) and is guided by a mission that is focused specifically on arts and cultural programs. A variety of festivals are offered throughout the year including Denver Jewish Film Festival, JAAMM Fest (Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music Fest), and ReelAbilities Film Festival. The JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center is located at 350 S. Dahlia Street in Denver. For more information, visit www.jccdenver.org/arts-culture or call 303-316-6360.

ABOUT STAENBERG-LOUP JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER

The Staenberg – Loup Jewish Community Center (JCC Denver) serves the metro-Denver area through educational, social, cultural, fitness, sports and other programs that are rooted in Jewish values. The JCC Denver’s mission is to create a vibrant and inclusive family and social gathering place, guided by these timeless Jewish values. The JCC Denver’s four program areas focus on connection, community and well-being and include: a robust fitness, sports, tennis and aquatic center; Early Childhood Engagement, including an Early Learning School and a variety of programs for families; the Mizel Arts and Culture Center which offers Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies & Music Festival (JAAMM Fest), Denver Jewish Film Festival, and ReelAbilities Film Festival; summer camps including Ranch Camp and Camp Shai; engagement programming for teens, young adults, seniors and the LGBTQ+ community. The JCC Denver is located at 350 S. Dahlia Street in Denver. For more information, visit www.jccdenver.org, like us on Facebook and Instagram @jccdenver or call (303) 399-2660. 

ABOUT THE CHOTIN FOUNDATION

The Chotin Foundation is a private foundation established in 1994 as the charitable giving organization for the Steven B. Chotin and Robin D. Chotin family and The Chotin Group Corporation. The Foundation is dedicated to improving and enriching the lives of individuals, children and families with particular interest in Jewish community causes as well as secular charitable initiatives in the areas of arts and culture, education, and health and wellness.

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