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Tucson International Jewish Film Festival launching 30th year with three pre-festival screenings

A scene from 'Doing Jewish: A story from Ghana' (Photo courtesy Tucson Jewish Community Center)

The Tucson International Jewish Film Festival is presenting three pre-festival screenings in advance of its January lineup for the 30th annual festival.

The festival is using the Eventive platform to screen films that viewers can watch on a computer, mobile device, or smart TV, and Zoom for post-film programs.

The first pre-festival film, “Doing Jewish: A Story from Ghana,” will be available for viewing from Tuesday, Oct. 27 through Thursday, Oct. 29.

When “Doing Jewish” filmmaker Gabrielle Zilkha arrived in Ghana on a humanitarian mission, she was the lone Jew amid a sea of Christian volunteers. Although not particularly religious, as the High Holidays approached she felt the need to connect with a Jewish community. It took her an entire day to get to a remote township where found a group of devout Jews who believed they were descended from the Lost Tribes of Israel. That was only the beginning of her journey of discovery.

“Doing Jewish” is being presented free of charge, but viewers must register for tickets in advance.

The next pre-festival film is “Disobedience: The Sousa Mendes Story,” which will be available for 48 hours beginning Nov. 11 at 4 p.m. Aristides de Sousa Mendes was the Portuguese Consul General in Bordeaux, France, during World War II. Despite the threat to his livelihood and reputation, he defied his government to issue more than 30,000 visas to people fleeing the Holocaust.

A post-screening conversation with Sheila Abranches-Pierce, granddaughter of Sousa Mendes, his wife Angelina, and Robert Jacobvitz, secretary and chair of the Sousa Mendes Foundation advisory council, will be held Sunday, Nov. 15 at 11 a.m. via Zoom.

“Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators” rounds out the pre-festival screenings, available starting Dec. 8. “Monkey Business” tells the story of Hans and Margaret Rey, a German-Jewish couple who fled Nazi-occupied France on makeshift bicycles, secretly carrying the unpublished manuscript of “Curious George.”

A post-film program, filmmaker Ema Ryan Yamazaki in conversation with cartoonist Nat Scrimshaw, will be presented Sunday, Dec. 13 at 4 p.m. via Zoom.

Tickets for “Disobedience” and “Monkey Business” are $10

For pre-festival film details and to access the Eventive platform, click here.