About the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival

Our mission, vision, and history

Our mission

To present films with Jewish themes from all over the world to the Greater Phoenix Community.

Our vision

To increase the sense of community and cohesiveness among all Jews in the Valley of the Sun. To increase awareness of the variety and richness of Jewish culture among all residents of the Valley of the Sun.

We accomplish this mission

By presenting films reflecting past, present, and future themes of Jewish life worldwide. By encouraging participation of all Jewish organizations in the Festival. By sharing the benefits of the Festival with the entire community.

We do this because

We believe in and value our Jewish heritage. We believe in and value the contribution the film festival continues to make to our entire community. We believe Jewish films reflect these values. We believe Jewish films add to the enrichment, understanding, and perception of these values.

Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival History

The Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival (GPJFF) resulted from a merger of the Phoenix Jewish Film Festival (PJFF) and the East Valley Jewish Film Festival (EVJFF). The PJFF was founded by Phyllis and the late Sheldon Pierson who, in 1996 decided that Phoenix, the capitol and largest city in Arizona, needed a Jewish film festival; in 2004, the EVJFF was born from an idea of Gloria and the late Sid Israel. The two festivals merged five years later, and, thus, the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival as we know it now was created. This is our 26th year of providing entertaining and compelling international films with Jewish themes to audiences across the metropolitan Phoenix area.

Who We Are

GPJFF is a wholly independent, volunteer-run 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. Sources of funding are ticket sales, donations, advertising and grants. In the past, we have received grants from the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, City of Scottsdale, City of Chandler, West Valley Art Council and the Arizona Commission on the Arts/National Endowment for the Arts. Almost 13,000 people attended our films in 2020, a continuation of our year to year growth, and we expect to attract many more each year. Many out-of-towners who spend time in the Valley during the winter regularly attend and generously support the festival.

Film screening committees begin the hard yet rewarding work of selecting films as soon as the current festival ends. The GPJFF strives to bring to the big screen a variety of excellent films produced in different countries, and to offer different genres, including drama, comedy, documentary and Holocaust.

In 2021 and 2022, in response to the threat of COVID, the festival is being offered virtually, from the comfort of your favorite seat. Following many of our films we are featuring guest interviews. Since we are not constrained by geography these include directors, actors, historians, film critics, and other professionals from around the globe, presenting insights and enriching the experience for our virtual festival attendees.

The GPJFF also continues to hold special screenings throughout the year, often in conjunction with other groups.