Arts and Culture | Local

In 30th year, Tucson International Jewish Film Festival turns to streaming

Ben Schwartz (left) and Billy Crystal in a scene from 'Standing Up, Falling Down'

The Tucson International Jewish Film Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary with an abundance of films to stream.

“While many things have changed, the power of film to bring us together has not,” Film Festival Co-chairs Cookie Little and Donna Dennison write on the festival’s welcome page.

Using the Eventive platform, the festival will present eight films and two shorts in January, with an additional film and program each quarter through 2021. Each feature film will include a post-film program a few days after ticket holders have had the chance to watch the film.

A pre-festival film, “Monkey Business,” chronicling the lives of Hans and Margaret Rey, the German-Jewish couple behind the beloved “Curious George” books, will be available to stream beginning Tuesday, Dec. 8. The post-film program will be a discussion with filmmaker Ema Ryan Yamazaki and cartoonist Nat Scrimshaw, on Sunday, Dec. 13 via Zoom.

January highlights include “Standing Up, Falling Down,” starring Billy Crystal and Ben Schwartz, available beginning Wednesday, Jan. 6 at 4 p.m. The film follows the journey of Scott (Schwartz, “Parks and Rec”), who loses hope of becoming a stand-up comedian in L.A. and moves back home with his tail between his legs. His soul-crushing existence begins to lighten when he meets Marty (Crystal), an eccentric dermatologist who also is a charming, karaoke loving barfly.

The “Standing Up, Falling Down” post-film program will feature Crystal and Schwartz in conversation with the Loft Cinema’s program director, Jeff Yanc, on Zoom on Sunday, Jan. 10 at 4 p.m.

“The Samuel Project,” which begins Saturday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m., centers on Eli, a high school senior who connects with his grandfather Samuel (Hal Linden) for the first time when he makes Samuel the subject of an animated art project for school. Samuel may run a dry cleaning store now, but his childhood was anything but dull.

In the post-film program for “The Samuel Project” on Monday, Jan. 25 at 7 via Zoom, State Rep. Alma Hernandez will present insights into the state-wide Holocaust education bill. Holocaust survivors living in Southern Arizona will share parts of their stories and speak about the importance of the bill. The moderator will be Sharon Glassberg, a clinical therapist/wellness and support specialist at Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona.

The final film in January is “The Keeper,” based on the true story of Bert Trautman, a German POW who became the goalkeeper of Great Britain’s Manchester City soccer team. A bagel brunch over Zoom will be part of the post-film program, with bagel packages available for pre-order from the Tucson Jewish Community Center. The Zoom discussion on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 11 a.m. will feature Mark Trautman, who is Bert Trautman’s son, and the film’s director, Marcus Rosenmüller. Todd Rockoff, president and CEO of the J, will moderate.

Other January films are “Picture of His Life,” a nature documentary; “Douze Points,” a campy spy thriller from Israel; “Crescendo,” a drama based on the true story of an Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra; “Aulcie,” the biography of basketball player Aulcie Perry; and “Those Who Remained,” a post-Holocaust drama about the healing power of love and family.

The post-festival movies are “Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People”; “Mrs. G,” about the Gottex swimwear founder; “When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit”; and the French drama “An Irrepressible Woman,” based on a true story.

The festival site includes trailers for all of the films and details of each post-film program, plus instructions for how to order and stream films. Tickets for individual films and festival passes are available.