If there’s one thing most of us have learned over the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s perseverance. And that all-important trait is honored in the 26th annual Denver Jewish Film Festival.

“What really stuck out to us as we were looking at the films is that dogged determination was a through-line in almost all of them,” said Rich Cowden, general manager of the JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center. “That theme is really timely and I don’t think it’s an accident that so many films focus on perseverance right now.”

The festival runs through March 1 and includes both virtual and in-person screenings. The in-person section runs through the 22nd at the JCC Center, 350 S Dahlia St. in Denver, and the virtual portion runs from the 23rd to March 1. According to provided information, the festival includes 34 films and shorts showcasing cinema from 14 countries.

“We started with the dream of having a fully in-person festival with virtual options to back it up and what we think we have now is the best of both worlds,” Cowden said. “People have been saying they need this in-person experience in my life. I think a lot of people needed to get back to the theater and get out of isolation and feeling like they’re alone.”

Over the years the festival has developed a strong reputation for its documentary entries, and while that remains a strong focus this year, Cowden said that not only were organizers receiving more entries than ever before, but many of those entries were very strong narrative features.

Some films that audiences may want to make a point to investigate include “Neighbours,” which takes place in a small village on the Syrian-Turkish border in the early 1980s and follows a 6-year-old student at his first year in school and “Plan A,” which is based on the true story of a group of Jewish vigilantes who survive the Holocaust and vow to avenge the deaths of so many.


No matter which way viewers experience the films, the aim is that this year’s event will provide some comfort and inspiration for everyone persevering through these uniquely challenging times. And hopefully, many of the films will remind people of the importance of connecting with others.

“We have to be strong and unapologetic voices for reason and tolerance. There’s a sign out there of the JCC that says, ‘Everyone welcome,’ and we really mean it,” Cowden said. “There are films here that transcend culture and faith. We’re confident that if you take the leap and buy tickets, they won’t regret it because these are extraordinary films.”

Information and tickets can be found at www.jccdenver.org/film.


The CSO honors the work of Bob Dylan

One of my favorite things about writing this column is (hopefully) introducing readers to art in all mediums that are worth their time. But if you don’t know about Bob Dylan, then I really don’t know what to write here. He’s the best songwriter of all time, a Nobel and Pulitzer winner and Frank Sinatra superfan.

The Colorado Symphony and Colorado Symphony Chorus are joining together to pay tribute to the man with “The Times They Are A-Changin’: The Words and Music of Bob Dylan,” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 18 at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1000 14th St., No. 15. Get tickets at https://tickets.coloradosymphony.org/6026.


A dance celebration of one people in Northglenn

The Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble is one of the metro area’s favorite arts organizations and to celebrate Black History Month, the ensemble will bring its “One People, Many Voices” production to the Northglenn Arts Parson Theatre, 1 East Memorial Parkway, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 25.

According to provided information, the “performance focuses on the power of dance to elevate and enlighten us all as we seek a deeper understanding on issues of justice and equity while honoring our shared humanity.”

Secure your tickets at NorthglennArts.org.


Clarke’s Concert of the Week — The War on Drugs at the Mission Ballroom

The War on Drugs, led by Adam Granduciel, has proved itself the most reliably fantastic alt-rock band we’ve seen in a long time. Over the course of their five albums, they’ve subtly and thoughtfully expanded their sonic frontiers, blending Springsteen-esque heartland rock with My Bloody Valentine guitar reverb.


In support of 2021’s excellent album “I Don’t Live Here Anymore,” The War on Drugs will be performing at the Mission Ballroom, 4242 Wynkoop St. in Denver, at 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 18. Get tickets for the show at www.missionballroom.com/event/408770-mission-ballroom-denver-tickets.


Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.