Arts and Culture | Local

Tucson Jewish film festival brings world to local screens

Sienna Miller and Paul Rudd in a scene from ‘The Catcher Was a Spy’ (Courtesy Tucson International Jewish Film Festival)

The 2020 Tucson International Jewish Film Festival will live up to its global billing, with 20 films that will transport viewers from the United States to Austria, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, England, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, Israel, Mexico, and Poland.

The Tucson Jewish Community Center is the venue for most films, with the exception of two pre-festival screenings on Sunday, Jan. 5 and the opening night film at the Loft Cinema.

“The Mamboniks,” a joyful documentary about how Jews fell in love with the Cuban dance craze, will play Jan. 5 at 3 p.m. at the SaddleBrooke Desert View Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Drive. “Disobedience: The Sousa Mendes Story,” about the Portuguese consul in France who defied Nazi rule, will play in Green Valley at the Beth Shalom Temple Center, 1751 N. Rio Mayo, also Jan. 5 at 3 p.m. Tickets, $7, will be sold only at those venues. “The Mamboniks” also will play at the Tucson J on Friday, Jan. 10 at 1 p.m.

German Jewish immigrant Carl Laemmle founded Universal Pictures. (Courtesy Tucson International Jewish Film Festival)

On Thursday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m., the Loft will show “Carl Laemmle,” which documents the extraordinary life of the German Jewish immigrant who founded Universal Pictures and saved 300 Jewish families from the Nazis.

Festival highlights will include “Working Woman,” an Israeli drama about a wife and mother who launches a real estate career and tries to navigate around a boss who becomes increasingly more sexually aggressive. “Working Woman” is Sunday, Jan. 12 at 1 p.m.

Film buffs and “Fiddler on the Roof” fans will enjoy the documentary “Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles” on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 5 p.m.

Actor Paul Rudd, known for his work on TV’s “Friends” and the film “Ant-Man,” stars in “The Catcher Was a Spy,” a biographical drama based on the true story of Moe Berg, a graduate of Princeton and Columbia Law School, who chose major league baseball over law. During World War II, Berg chose to be a spy and provided the United States with invaluable intelligence. “The Catcher Was a Spy” plays Saturday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

General admission tickets are $10; $9 for JCC members, seniors, students, and military. A six-pack of tickets is available for $50 and a season pass for $125. For more information, visit or call 299-3000.