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Palm Springs Jewish
Film Festival

MARCH 26-29, 2023

Palm Springs Cultural Center

2300 East Baristo Road, Palm Springs

Play trailer here

Our Festival opens Sunday, March 26th with a live concert featuring SVETLANA PORTNYANSKY, returning from 12 sold-out concerts in Israel.

We have 17 films and Q&A with 19 Actors, Producers, Directors & Writers.

PLATINUM PASS (concert & all films) - $150
Concert only - $35        Individual tickets - $12


Sunday, March 26 - 2:00pm

Opening Concert Starring
Svetlana Portnyanski

Svetlana’s sensational voice and personal charm has endeared her to audiences around the world.  Just returning from 12 sold out concerts in Israel. Svetlana is a graduate of one of Moscow’s prestigious music academies.  Her passionate, soulful voice, along with her uncommon beauty, has been charming audiences around the world. She’s been compared to Barbara Streisand and sings in five languages.  Svetlana is of Ukrainian heritage and  defected to the United States in 1991 where she also trained as a Cantor.  Svetlana has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and even sang the National Anthem at Dodgers Stadium Svetlana brings her artistry to the opening celebration of the Palm Springs Jewish Film Festival’s 10th Anniversary.


Svetlanya produced the Documentary “Terezin: The Code to Life” which plays Yad Vashem in Israel.  The film will screen following her concert.   Live Q & A to follow.   

Sunday, March 26 - 7:00pm

Our (almost completely true) Story

Run Time | 1 hr 32 mins



Don Scardino



Mariette Hartley, Jerry Sroka



Mariette Hartley, Jerry Sroka, Bernie Kopell


A tall, aging, “shiksa” icon meets a short Jewish leprechaun in a bird store – what are the chances?


Live Q & A with Stars & Writers Mariette Hartley & Jerry Sroka

Sedona International Film Festival

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (Winner Audience Award:   Best Feature Comedy)


Monday, March 27 - 9:00am

Exodus 91

Run Time | 1 hr 30 mins


Micah Smith



Eitan Anner



Yoram Toledano, Shai Fredo, Sarit Wuvet


A docu-narrative film that tells the story of Asher Naim, an Israeli diplomat caught between worlds and facing a crisis of faith in himself and his country.  Asher, a North-African Jew himself, is sent to Ethiopia to negotiate the escape of 15,000 Ethiopian Jews from a country collapsing under famine and civil war.  Working with his Ethiopian Israeli colleagues who, themselves, immigrated to Israel a decade earlier.  Asher and his partners begin to question if the Israeli government is serious or using the operation as part of an elaborate publicity stunt against claims that “Zionism is Racism.”  With rebel forces closing in on the capital, Asher’s faith in his mission is put to the test as he navigates the treacherous world of bureaucracy and politics in Ethiopia, Israel, and the US.  Exodus 91 takes viewers behind the scenes of Operation Solomon, the diplomatic and military mission to bring thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in the midst of Ethiopia’s brutal civil war.  The feature-length film explores challenging questions of racism, homeland, cultural identity, the politics of immigration and the hardships of these immigrants, and those that followed them, to this day.

New York Jewish Film Festival

Miami Jewish Film Festival

Humanitarian Award

Monday, March 27 - 10:45am

Jews of the Wild West

Run Time | 1 hr 20 mins



Amanda Marshall Kinsey



Amanda Marshall Kinsey


“Jews of the Wild West” is a feature length documentary.  Through on-camera interviews, compelling footage and historical photographs, the film tells a positive immigration story and highlights the dynamic contributions Jewish Americans made to the shaping the Western United States.


Q & A on Zoom with Filmmaker Amanda Kinsey

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

Vancouver Jewish Film Festival

Nashville Jewish Film Festival

New York Jewish Film Festival

Toronto Jewish Film Festival


Monday, March 27 - 1:00pm


Run Time | 2 hr 7 mins


Director & Writer

Ofir Raul Graizer



Oshrat Ingadashet, Michael Moshonov, Ofri Biterman


An Israeli swimming tutor living in Chicago returns to Israel after 10 years of absence to bury his father.  An encounter with a beloved childhood friend and his newly engaged girlfriend will set a series of events in motion that will affect everyone’s lives.  A story set between a flower shop and an ancient monastery, between a swimming pool in Chicago and the Mediterranean, between life and death – and somewhere in the middle.


Q & A Live with Director Ofir Raul Graizer

Jerusalem Film Festival:  Best Actress

Monday, March 27 - 4:00pm

Farewell Mr. Haffman

Run Time | 1 hr 55 mins



Fred Cavayé



Fred Cavayé, Jean-Philippe Daguerre, Sarah Kaminsky



Daniel Autueil, Gilles Lellouche, Sara Giraudeau


After the Nazi occupation of Paris, a talented jeweller, Joseph Hafmann, arranges for his family to flee the city and offers one of his employees the chance to take over his store until the conflict subsides

Gold Coast International Film Festival:  Audience Award

Cleveland Jewish Film Festival:  Audience Award

Aspen Film Festival:  Audience Award

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival:  Best Director Award


Monday, March 27 - 7:00pm

I Mordecai

Run Time | 1 hr 42 mins



Marvin Samel



Rudy Gaines, Dahlia Heyman



Judd Hirsch, Carol Kane, Sean Astin


A Holocaust survivor born and raised in a different time, must now face the realities of modern world, when confronted with an unfamiliar object, an iPhone will Mordecai be able to fit into a world that has changed so much around him?

Q & A Live with Director Marvin Samel & Co-Star Azia Dinea Hale

Miami Jewish Film Festival:  Audience Award

Tuesday, March 28 - 9:30am

Space Torah

Run Time | 24 mins



Rob Cooper, Austin de Beche



Dr. Jeff Hoffman, Rabbi Shaul Osadchey, Janna Kaplan


In February 1996, Jewish astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman took a Torah with him on the space shuttle Columbia. Hoffman became the first astronaut to read in Hebrew in space when he unrolled the perfectly kosher parchment scroll to reveal the first seven paragraphs of the book of Bereishit (the Book of Genesis), which speaks about the creation of the world.


Q & A on Zoom with Director Rob Cooper

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival:  Audience Award Best Short


Tuesday, March 27 - 10:30am


Run Time |  1 hr 40 mins



Moshe Rosenthal



Moshe Rosenthal



Sasson Gabay, Rita Shukrun, Lior Ashkenazi


A bittersweet comedy about a middle class suburban couple in their new neighbor, a charismatic bachelor who has karaoke evenings at his apartment.

Jerusalem Film Festival:  Audience Award for Best Film

Nominated for 13 Israeli Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director

Tuesday, March 28 - 1:00pm

The Trench (Short)


Gabriel Balogna



Gabriel Balogna, Jason Richman



Jason Loughridge,  Adamo Palladino, Nicolas Porcelli


Where war and humanity collide.  An American and a German are fighting in a brutal death-match in the trenches of Word War One, only to realize they are both Jewish...


In World War One, over 800,000 Jews fought for the Allies, and over 400,000 Jews fought for the Central Powers. There is no other war in history where so many Jews killed Jews. What would you do if your enemy was you?


Most staggering of all, in World War One, over two million soldiers died in hand-to-hand combat. That is two million deaths face to face...


Q & A Live with The Trench Director Gabriel Bologna


Three Minutes: A Lengthening

Run Time | 1 hr 9 mins



Bianca Stigter



Bianca Stigter, Glenn Kurtz



Helena Bonham Carter (voice), Glenn Kurtz, Moszek Tuchendler

A snippet of 16mm film offers an emotionally charged, meditative glimpse into the lives of the unsuspecting Jewish citizens of a small Polish village at the precipice of World War II.


Q & A on Zoom with Glenn Kurtz, Author of Three Minutes – A Lengthening

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival


Tuesday, March 28 - 2:30pm

Special Live Q&A with Helen Ayer Patton (granddaughter of General George Patton)

While carrying the torch for her father and grandfather, Helen has attended ceremonies commemorating WWII anniversaries and headed up the Patton Foundation, which aids returning troops and veterans in need.  She also hosted an amazing TED’s Talk about her grandfather.  Helen has entered many multi-ethnic cultural ventures in places such as the Balkans, Africa, and the Holy Land.  Helen began her career singing for the Department of Defense, singing for the troops in such places as the East German Border and the Sinai Peninsula.  A graduate of Catholic University and London’s Academy of Royal Arts.  She is a professional, singer, actress, producer and director and her experience in stage, television and film includes credits in the United States, the UK and Europe.  Helen has produced two award-winning documentaries, one about General Joseph Pershing and another about the continued struggles of war long after troops return.  She gave a TEDx Talk about her grandfather.  Helen has facilitated reunions between Holocaust survivors and their liberators.  Many concentration camps were liberated by her father under his command.    

Amongst many other honors, Helen is proud to have received a special citation from the U.S. based Chapel of Four Chaplains, which recognizes “persons who have rendered service to humanity without regard to race, religion or creed. “On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Europe, France awarded Helen with the Legion of Honour.

Tuesday, March 28 - 4:00pm

Where Life Begins

Run Time | 1 hr 39 mins



Stéfane Freiss



Caroline Deraus-Garrel, Laure Deschénes, Stéfane Freiss



Lou de Laage, Ricardo Scamarcio, Pierre-Henry Salfati


The story of a young Haredi woman and a divorced farmer who both long to break free.

Jewish International Film Festival Australia:  Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature


Tuesday, March 28 - 7:00pm

My Neighbor Adolph

Run Time | 1 hr 36 mins



Leon Prudovsky



Dimitri Malinsky, Leon Prudovsky



David Hayman, Udo Kier, Danharry Colorado

South America, 1960.  A lonely and grumpy Holocaust survivor convinces himself that his new neighbor is none other than Adolf Hitler.  Not being taken seriously, he starts an independent investigation to prove his claim, but when the evidence still appears to be inconclusive, Polsky is forced to engage in a relationship with the enemy in order to obtain irrefutable proof.


Q & A Live with Udo Kier, Actor and Star of the film

Miami Jewish Film Festival

Palm Springs International Film Festival

Wednesday, March 29 - 10:30am

Baltic Truth

Run Time | 1 hr 30 mins



Andrejs Hramcovs & Eugene Levin



Andrejs Hramcovs



Dudu Fisher


Exposes the tragic events of the first months of WW2 in the Baltic States and how almost the entire Jewish community of the occupied Baltic Nations was eliminated by face-to-face executions, one bullet at a time with assistance of local population, before the Final Solution, before Auschwitz, and before gas chambers.


Q & A Live with Eugene Levin, Producer and Director of Baltic Truth

Sundance Film Festival

Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival


Wednesday, March 29 - 1:00pm

The Last Laugh

Run Time | 1 hr 57 mins



Ferne Pearlstein



Robert Edwards, Kent Kirshenbaum, Ferne Pearlstein



Renee Firestone, Klara Firestone, Gilbert Gottfried


World-famous comedians including Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, and Gilbert Gottfried pitch in with their own views on the boundaries of comedy.


Q & A on Zoom with Director Ferne Pearlstein

Q & A Live with special guest Actor/Director Don Most (“Happy Days”) and Producer/Writer/Actress Hanala Sagal

Tribeca Film Festival

Denver Jewish Film Festival

Austin Jewish Film Festival

Boston Jewish Film Festival

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

Copenhagen Jewish Film Festival

Jfilm Festival (Pittsburgh)

Seattle Jewish Film Festival

Wednesday, March 29 - 4:00pm

Simchas and Sorrows

Run Time | 1 hr 57 mins


Genevieve Adams



Genevieve Adams



Genevieve Adamas, Thomas McDonell, Hari Neff


An atheist actress attempts to convert to Judaism to marry the man she loves.


Q & A on Zoom with Director Genevieve Adams, Actress/Star/Director/Writer

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival


Wednesday, March 29 - 7:00pm

Tiger Within

Run Time | 1 hr 38 mins



Rafal Zielinski



Gina Wendkos



Edward Asner, Luke Eisner, Taylor Nichols


A story featuring an unlikely friendship between a homeless teen and a Holocaust survivor, sparking larger questions of fear, forgiveness, healing and world peace.  Starring multiple Emmy Award-winning actor Ed Asner.


Q & A Live with Writer Gina Wendkos and Co-Star Margot Josefsohn

Miami Jewish Film Festival:  Best Actor Ed Asner

Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival

Austin Jewish Film Festival

Lincoln Center

St. Louis Jewish Film Festival

Wednesday, March 29 - 9:30pm

After Party - Everyone welcome!



The Concert and all films will be held at the
Palm Springs Cultural Center (former Camelot Theater),
2300 East Baristo Road, Palm Springs.
For information about the Palm Springs Jewish Film Festival,
and / or to become a sponsor,
call 760-325-2281.

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