It’s not just the free popcorn that draws hundreds of moviegoers to the Tucson International Jewish Film Festival, which will run for its 21st year at the Tucson Jewish Community Center Jan. 12-22. It’s the lineup of films, from dramas to comedies to animated shorts, with themes that are universal, such as love, loss, resilience and family — plus a little murder and intrigue.
The Loft Cinema will host opening night with “The Round Up (La Rafle),” a powerful depiction of events in 1942, when Vichy French police, under Nazi rule, rounded up 17,000 Parisian Jews and detained them for weeks under appalling conditions before transporting them to concentration camps. The film will be screened at 7 p.m.
One of the highlights of the festival is a special guest appearance by co-producer and creative advisor for the animated short “Beyond the Forest,” Jud Newborn. He will speak briefly at 12:45 p.m. before the film screening at the JCC on Sunday, Jan. 15.
There will also be a kickoff event at the Desert View Performing Arts Center in SaddleBrooke, 39900 S. Clubhouse Drive, in collaboration with the Northwest Division of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, on Sunday, Jan. 8 at 2:15 and 7 p.m. It will be an encore presentation of “Berlin ’36,” a movie about the Germans’ refusal to allow Jews on their Olympic team and how the Nazis conspired to replace a Jewish athlete, high jump champion Gretel Bergmann.
Over the course of 10 days, 15 films will be screened, ending at the Crossroads Cinema with the “Fabulous Faygeleh LGBT Film Series.” The three films in the series touch on AIDS, gay marriage and end with the Israeli version of the television program “Glee.”
Individual tickets are $8 for adults and $7 for JCC members, students and seniors. Festival passes good for all films are also available for $85. Discounts are available for groups. For full film descriptions, trailers and tickets, visit tucsonjewishfilmfestival.org, call 615-5432 or stop by the JCC.
All movies will be shown at the JCC unless otherwise noted, and yes, there will be free popcorn at all JCC screenings.