Did you know “The Last of the Red Hot Mamas” was Jewish?

Sophie Tucker (1887-1966) was regarded as a pioneer among female entertainers, performing material that was risqué for her time. Yet she was the product of a particularly strict Jewish upbringing. “She grew up in an Orthodox family,” said Emily Schuss, director of the Columbus Jewish Film Festival. “But obviously she then kind of went off that path a little bit to become an entertainer.”

Tucker’s life and career are celebrated in The Outrageous Sophie Tucker, a documentary featured in the 10th of the series’ less-serious offerings, Schuss said, but certainly not the only one.

For example, there’s It Happened in St. Tropez, which Schuss described as a “really light French comedy.” These and other films should appeal to viewers of all backgrounds, she said. “The films are really diverse this year,” Schuss said. “You know, a lot of people think, ‘Oh, they’re just going to show a bunch of Holocaust movies,’ but we really don’t.”

Not that the most tragic of 20th annual “Doc Sunday,” The Outrageous Sophie Tucker will be followed by Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge From the Holocaust.

The 56-minute documentary is about “how the Philippines stepped in during the Holocaust to work with these cigar manufacturers in Cincinnati in saving more Jews than Schindler saved,” Schuss said. “And nobody knows about it.”

The Holocaust also plays a role in the festival’s final film, Run Boy Run, based on the true story of a Jewish boy who struggled to survive Poland’s Nazi occupation during World War II.

In honor of its 10th Prominent Israeli director Avi Nesher will be brought in to show The Wonders, a fact-inspired drama about a graffiti artist who delves into Jerusalem’s criminal underworld. “We’re really excited about that because we’ve never had the budget to bring someone in from so far away,” Schuss said.

Indeed, the festival has come a long way since its modest beginnings in 2005. That year, it consisted of seven screenings squeezed into the span of one week.

More recently, organizers have added films and spread them out over a two-week period, which helped to bolster attendance. anniversary, the festival will be launched with a big to-do: “People come to more movies now that it’s not one night after the other,” Schuss said.

She’s hopeful that even bigger crowds of Jews and non-Jews alike will show up for a 10th a French comedy—and, of course, a documentary about iconic performer Sophie Tucker.

“That’s a great movie for everybody,” Schuss said.




Festival schedule


Unless otherwise stated, tickets are $10, $8 for seniors and members of the Jewish Community Center; all tickets are $10 at the door. An all-festival pass is $110. Venues: Drexel Theatre, 2254 E. Main St.; JCC, 1125 College Ave.; Lincoln Theatre, 769 E. Long St.; and Wexner Center, 1871 N. High St. For more information, call 614-559-6212 or visit www.cjfilmfest.org.


Nov. 2: The Wonders (drama, Israel, 2013), 7 p.m., Lincoln Theatre. Director Avi Nesher will be interviewed by Wexner Center director Sherri Geldin after the screening. A reception will follow. Tickets are $35.

Nov. 4: The Jewish Cardinal (drama, France, 2012), 7 p.m., JCC.

Nov. 6: A Place in Heaven (drama, Israel, 2013), 5:30 p.m., Drexel; 24 Days (drama, France, 2014), 8:15 p.m., Drexel. A boxed dinner can be ordered to eat between screenings; reservations ($10) are due Oct. 30.

Nov. 9: Doc Sunday, Drexel: The Outrageous Sophie Tucker (U.S., 2013), 11:30 a.m.; Rescue in the Philippines (U.S., 2013), 1:30 p.m.; Road to Eden (U.S., 2013), 3:45 p.m. Complementary coffee and bagels will be served.

Nov. 9: Concert featuring Dan Nichols and his band, E18gteen (subjects of Road to Eden), 7 p.m., JCC. Tickets are $15, $10 for seniors and JCC members, $5 for ages 12 and under.

Nov. 11: It Happened in St. Tropez (comedy, France, 2013), 7 p.m., Drexel.

Nov. 12: First Cousin Once Removed (documentary, U.S., 2013), 7 p.m., Wexner Center. Director Alan Berliner will present and discuss his film about a cousin afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. A reception will follow. Tickets are $8; $5 for seniors and members of the JCC and Wexner Center.

Nov. 13: Bethlehem (drama, Israel/Germany/Belgium, 2013), 7 p.m., Drexel.

Nov. 16: 70 Hester Street (documentary, U.S., 2014) and The Sturgeon Queens(documentary, Canada, 2014), 11 a.m., JCC. In honor of Russ & Daughters, the historic New York eatery profiled in The Sturgeon Queens, an optional brunch will be served at 10 a.m.; reservations ($16) are due Nov. 10.

Nov. 16: Run Boy Run (drama, Germany/France, 2014), 7 p.m., JCC.

Appears in Issue: