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Tucson’s Jewish community celebrates cultural diversity with international film festival

Courtesy A Casual Romance Productions

Suited, a documentary about a tailoring company that helps the LGBTQ community in Brooklyn express themselves, will be showing at the Tucson International Jewish Film Festival. The festival will be held at the Jewish Community Center here in Tucson from January 12-22.

The Tucson Jewish Community Center is hosting the 26th annual Tucson International Jewish Film Festival.

The festival kicked off on Jan. 12 with opening night at The Loft Cinema and continues in the ballroom of the Tucson JCC until the conclusion of the festival on Jan. 22.

The selection of films offer an opportunity to experience Jewish life around the world while enjoying the comforts of a Tucson winter.

Lynn Davis, the director of arts and culture at the Tucson JCC, is a sixth-season veteran with the international film festival.

“I love that our selection gives a multi-fashioned, diverse view of Jewish life around the world,” Davis said.

The festival will highlight the diverse Jewish communities around the world and their culture represented in the films. Davis said film gives viewers “an up close and personal view” of the traditions celebrated around the world.

“Being Jewish isn’t about one thing,” Davis said.

The films selected for the festival were chosen based on a number of factors including production value, according to Davis. The films were also influenced by the lure of each topic and the impression it leaves after watching, Davis said.

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The film “Suited” will be shown on Jan. 15 at 3:30 p.m. and highlights the tailoring company Bindle and Keep. The Brooklyn-founded company is making its mark in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community with efforts to make their clients feel proud to be who they are.

All proceeds from the showing will benefit Tucson’s own Camp Born This Way. Camp Born This Way is a camp for transgender, gender creative and gender non-conforming children where kids and their families can spend time together and “experience a weekend free from bullying, harassment and judgment,” as stated on the camp’s website.

UA students are welcome to come experience the international film festival’s “magical ability to evoke passion,” Davis said.

The festival offers various volunteer opportunities throughout the year for fundraising for the event, Davis said. There are also opportunities for students to get involved with the Tucson JCC, including internships.

“[The Tucson JCC] is a place that brings together the Jewish community and the Tucson community together as a whole,” said Adina Karp, a literacy, learning and leadership sophomore.

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Karp is a camp counselor for the Tucson JCC working with the after school program, J-Care. She has been to the festival before.

“They have movies that everyone benefits from,” Karp said, recalling the speakers and discussions she participated in with the festival in years past.

Uri Maimon has been a Hebrew professor for 10 years at the UA and teaches Hebrew daily. Maimon is originally from Israel but has resided in Tucson for the past 33 years.

“I would recommend [students] to read the synopsis, look at the rating, then go see [the film],” Maimon said.

Tickets for the films are on sale on the Tucson Jewish Community Center’s website at Season passes are $140, with general admission tickets $9 each. Students, seniors and JCC member tickets are $8 each.

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