San Francisco Jewish Film Festival Announces Full Schedule

The Jewish Film Institute (JFI) announced today the complete lineup for the 38th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF) which will return to the Bay Area July 19th to August 5th, 2018. Tickets are now on sale for all programs following the Early Bird Festival Passes which went on sale May 17, 2018, and early leaks of select programs.

The Festival will present 67 films from 22 countries over the course of three weeks of screenings in San Francisco, Albany, Oakland, Palo Alto and San Rafael.

“From the curtain-raiser Love, Gilda to Closing Night with Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me, SFJFF38 is sure to be a terrific ride. JFI’s commitment to presenting as many diverse perspectives as possible is on display in our program that places women filmmakers front and center and includes meaningful partnerships with some of the great Bay Area arts organizations including the Museum of the African Diaspora, the Film Noir Foundation, and the SF Silent Film Festival. The joy of collectively challenging our assumptions and discussing cinema together is what makes SFJFF a thought-provoking and transformative experience for Bay Area film aficionados.” said JFI Executive Director Lexi Leban.

Now in its 38th year, the Festival, the first and largest of its kind, will welcome an audience of over 40,000 attendees at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, the Albany Twin Theatre in Albany, the CinéArts Theatre in Palo Alto, the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, and the Piedmont Theater in Oakland.

Opening Night Film – LOVE, GILDA

Following its World Premiere as the Opening Night Film at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, SFJFF will open with LOVE, GILDA, director Lisa D’Apolito’s touching tribute to comedian Gilda Radner. It has been more than 40 years since this brilliant, fearless and uproarious performer burst onto the scene, but Gilda Radner’s enduring impact on our culture can still be felt in myriad ways. Her wacky and quirky recurring characters such as the crabby Roseanne Roseannadanna, the hard-of-hearing Emily Litella and the nerdy Lisa Loopner still delight. Radner was the first person cast by Lorne Michaels for Saturday Night Live and her celebrity was instant. When she died after an epic battle with ovarian cancer, a piece of us left with her. Lisa D’Apolito’s endearing, exuberant and intimate tribute uses rare personal recordings and clear-eyed journal entries to bring Radner back into our lives as we learn of her early struggles, meteoric rise and very human journey to find the love of her life (Gene Wilder). Home movies throughout her life and interviews with current and former SNL cast members such as Amy Poehler, Cecily Strong, Laraine Newman and Martin Short help us remember Gilda as they share their fondest memories of this iconic comedy legend. Clips from some of her famous routines reveal how Radner poured her heart and soul into every character she created and take us back to a time when this woman enchanted us with her passion, childlike wonder and inventiveness. Ultimately the heartfelt and poignant LOVE, GILDA accomplishes what every great film aspires to: making you want to see more. Director Lisa D’Apolito and original SNL cast member Laraine Newman will be in attendance.

Following LOVE, GILDA, the party continues at the Contemporary Jewish Museum to celebrate the opening of SFJFF38, where film and art come together. Festival goers will dance to tunes inspired by SNL’s 1970s heyday, nosh and sip on refreshments from Hagafen Wineries and Lagunitas Brewing and feast on tasty treats from Wise Sons, L’chaim Sushi and more.

Castro Closing Night Film – SAMMY DAVIS JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME

As part of a strategic partnership between JFI and the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) to promote dynamic engagement about issues of identity and representation in the arts, SFJFF38 will wrap it’s Castro run with Sam Pollard’s SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME, an exploration of the life and career of legendary Rat Pack member Sammy Davis Jr.. A star of stage and screen, Davis helped break racial barriers but paid a heavy price for it, defying societal norms concerning interracial romance, religion and political affiliation. Loaded with dazzling footage, the film examines all the complexities of Davis.

“Sammy Davis Jr. knocked down a lot of doors for Black folks with style and fearlessness. Fearless leaders can often be misunderstood.  This film goes deeper in many aspects of his life  as it shares Sammy’s commitment to Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement and the Black men and women serving in the Vietnam War. A man comfortable with his identities. I’m looking forward to this film changing the perceptions of what is Black, Jewish and decidedly American. An impactful must see film,” said MoAD Director & CEO Linda Harrison.

Director Sam Pollard will be in attendance and participate in a post-film conversation with Linda Harrison, the Executive Director of MoAD.

At the age of three his immense talent was already on display as he sang and tap danced his way across the country performing with his father and godfather. In the 1950s, he notoriously dated Hollywood star Kim Novak prompting Columbia Pictures bigwig Harry Cohn to order him to stick to Black women. Following a serious car accident in which he lost an eye, Davis converted to Judaism. In the 1960s, the only African American member of the legendary Rat Pack, he supported John F. Kennedy’s candidacy, marched in Selma with Martin Luther King and became a prominent activist in the civil rights movement. And then in 1972 he shocked the country by supporting Richard Nixon for reelection, giving him a famous hug on stage during the Republican convention. It’s hard to imagine a more talented and groundbreaking performer who led a more complicated and contradictory life than Davis. He did not shy away from controversy and was not afraid to use his name and talent for a good cause. Featuring excerpts from his exhilarating performances and interviews with the likes of Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis and Whoopi Goldberg, director Sam Pollard’s riveting documentary unpacks the apparent contradictions and presents a very full and very human portrait of this complex, courageous and conflicted man. The film made its World Premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

After the screening July 29th at the Castro Theatre, SFJFF and its Closing Night partner MoAD will host the Closing Night Reception on the Castro Theatre’s Mezzanine. Enjoy tasty drinks and dishes while toasting to the end of the Festival’s  San Francisco run.

Freedom of Expression Award – Liz Garbus and THE FOURTH ESTATE

Since 2005, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival has presented the Freedom of Expression Award annually to honor the unfettered imagination, which is the cornerstone of a free, just and open society. In these tumultuous political times, the Festival could not find a more timely recipient of the 2018 Freedom of Expression Award than Academy Award Nominated documentary filmmaker Liz Garbus. Garbus will be honored for her work and a screening of her latest film THE FOURTH ESTATE will highlight the event. Award-winning filmmaker Bonni Cohen (An Inconvenient Sequel, The Rape of Europa) will moderate the conversation following the screening.

Liz Garbus has been at the forefront of nonfiction filmmaking for decades. The prolific two-time Academy Award nominee, Grammy nominee, Peabody winner, Emmy winner and DGA- nominated director began her career with a searing look into prison life, The Farm: Angola, USA (1998). Co-directed with Wilbert Rideau and Jonathan Stack, the debut brought Garbus her first Best Documentary Oscar nomination and the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Garbus continued to hone her directing and producing talents with the acclaimed The Execution of Wanda Jean (2002), Girlhood (2003) and an examination of the First Amendment featuring her father, attorney Martin Garbus, Shouting Fire: Stores from the Edge of Free Speech (SFJFF 2009). She then directed Bobby Fischer Against the World (SFJFF 2011), an entertaining and thoughtful retelling of the Cold War chess face-off between Fischer and Boris Spassky. Garbus quickly followed up this success with Love, Marilyn (2012), an elegiac biography of Marilyn Monroe with never-before-seen footage and leading Hollywood actors and actresses reading from the late star’s writings. Garbus was again nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar in 2016 for What Happened, Miss Simone?. SFJFF is honored to bestow this year’s award to Garbus, whose powerful and distinctive films are a true embodiment of this award.

THE FOURTH ESTATE takes an in-depth look at the journalists working at The New York Times at a time when President Donald Trump as declared the majority of the nations news outlets “the enemy of the people.” Garbus witnesses the inner workings of journalism and investigative reporting from the front lines during the administration’s first year in office. The film made its World Premiere as the Closing Night Selection at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

Centerpiece Narrative – TO DUST

SFJFF will present TO DUST as the 2018 Centerpiece Narrative. The film, which won the Audience Award at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival for Best Narrative, follows Shmuel (Géza Röhrig of SON OF SAUL), an Hasidic cantor in Upstate New York. Distraught by the untimely death of his wife, he struggles to find religious solace, while secretly obsessing over how her body will decay. He develops a partnership with Albert (Matthew Broderick), a local community college biology professor, and the two embark on a darkly comic and increasingly literal undertaking in the underworld. Director Shawn Snyder and actor Géza Röhrig will be in attendance for the San Francisco screening of the film Wednesday, June 25th at 8:30PM at the Castro Theatre.  Additional screenings of the film will take place on Monday, July 30th at 8:30PM at the Albany Twin Theatre in Albany and Saturday, August 4th at 6:35PM at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.

Centerpiece Documentary – THE WALDHEIM WALTZ

For the Centerpiece Documentary, SFJFF will present Ruth Beckermann’s THE WALDHEIM WALTZ, winner of the top documentary prize at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival.      The film turns its lens on United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim election bid for the presidency of his native Austria in 1986. But only weeks before the final vote, the campaign was suddenly mired in scandal. The World Jewish Council revealed that Waldheim had been a German army senior officer in the vicinity of the infamous 1942 Nazi deportation of 56,000 Greek Jews from Thessaloniki. For some Austrians, Waldheim’s firm refusal to admit guilt symbolized their nation’s unspoken culpability in wartime atrocities. For others, supporting Waldheim was an issue of national pride. In the midst of the heated race, filmmaker Ruth Beckermann (Return to Vienna, SFJFF 1984) took to the streets of Vienna capturing edgy and often ugly anti-Semitic confrontations between activists and Waldheim supporters. Not surprisingly, Waldheim won the presidency and Beckerman shelved the black-and-white video footage for the next three decades. But with the recent rise of populist, right-wing movements across the world, the filmmaker decided to revisit the material.

Director Ruth Beckermann will be in attendance for the first two screenings of the film Tuesday, July 24th at 6:10PM at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, and Wednesday, July 25th at 6:00PM at the CinéArts Theatre in Palo Alto. The Festival will host additional screenings Monday, July 30th at 6:00PM at the Albany Twin Theatre in Albany and Saturday, August 4th at 4:05PM at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.

Next Wave Spotlight – THE MAN WHO STOLE BANKSY

To highlight JFI’s Next Wave initiative focusing on content for filmgoers 35 and under but open to all, the Festival will present the West Coast premiere of Marco Proserpio’s THE MAN WHO STOLE BANKSY fresh from its World Premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival as the Next Wave Spotlight Film. In 2007, world renowned street artist Banksy traveled to Palestine and painted a number of politically charged works on the separation barrier and buildings all over the city. Some viewed this as a nuisance; others hailed the work as high art; and still more saw a business opportunity. Specifically, a Palestinian bodybuilder and local taxi driver known as Walid the Beast came up with an entrepreneurial plan: cut out the part of the wall containing the art and sell it off to the highest bidder.

“This year’s Next Wave section is really a global look at Jewish experience and spotlights issues and ideas that are in the zeitgeist today. Cross-cultural identity, political street art, veganism and intimate relationships are just some of the themes that attendees of all ages can explore at SFJFF38.” said JFI Programmer Joshua Moore.

Following the screening Saturday, July 21st at 8:45PM at the Castro Theatre, the Festival will host the Next Wave Spotlight Reception on the Castro Theatre Mezzanine. Next Wave passholders will be able to enjoy cocktails, drinks and snacks while celebrating the growing Next Wave community and the new frontiers of Jewish Film. Producer Fillippo Perfido will be in attendance for the screening in San Francisco, and an additional screening will be held Wednesday, August 1st at 8:30PM at the the Albany Twin Theatre in Albany.

Local Spotlight – SATAN & ADAM

Oakland based filmmaker V. Scott Balcerek will present his film SATAN & ADAM as the Local Spotlight presentation making its West Coast Premiere at the Festival following its World Premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. In New York City in 1986, Adam, a lanky, young blond-haired guy walks down 125th Street exploring Harlem and sees a grizzled street musician, a one-man band who sings and plays the guitar and percussion with his feet at the same time. He calls himself Mr. Satan and he plays a mean blues. Unexpectedly, the white Jewish kid pulls out a harmonica and asks Satan to jam, and a musical partnership in perfect sync is born. The street musician is Sterling Magee, who is rumored to have played with James Brown, Ray Charles, King Curtis, Etta James and other blues luminaries. Adam believes, despite his Ivy League education, that it was his mission in life to do this. The odd couple are soon killing it at music festivals and other gigs. They cut a record. One of Satan’s tunes ends up on a U2 album. Then, suddenly, Satan drops out of sight. Two years later, the filmmakers find him in St. Petersburg, Florida. The old man had a stroke and can’t play the guitar anymore. But the connection is still strong, and Satan and Adam attempt to reconstitute the act. This documentary, a big attention-getter at the Tribeca Film Festival, captures a fascinating journey of friendship, heartbreak and the transformative power of the blues.

Shot over 30 years, the film showcases a miraculous journey of friendship, heartbreak and the transformative power of music at a time when America finds itself once again divided. The film will screen Sunday, July 22nd at 4:00PM at the CinéArts Theatre in Palo Alto, Saturday, July 28th at 6:20PM at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, Sunday, July 29th at 6:55PM at the Albany Twin Theatre in Albany, and Friday, August 3rd at 6:00PM at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.  V. Scott Balcerek will be present for all screenings of the film.

East Bay Opening Night – THE OSLO DIARIES

SFJFF will launch its East Bay Screenings at the Albany Twin Theatre in Albany with THE OSLO DIARIES,  Following the international success of Censored Voices (SFJFF 2015), the documentary about the immediate aftermath of the Six Day War, Israeli filmmakers Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan set out to make a film about peace. They turn their lens on the 1992 peace negotiations with the Palestinians held during the Yitzhak Rabin era. With Israeli-Palestinian relations at a low and official communication suspended, an unlikely group of negotiators—two Israeli professors and three PLO members—met secretly in Norway. The meeting was disguised as an academic conference. The political drama with all its intrigue, suspicion and discord is told through the actual diaries of the negotiators and the long-discarded footage of the Oslo negotiations. This emotional and intimate source material, as well as reenactments, contemporary interviews (including the last one with Shimon Peres before his death) and powerful news footage give shape to what becomes a very human story. Even though mutual distrust reigned, those sitting in fundamental opposition nonetheless found common ground and, in some cases, came to regard their counterparts as friends. This broad view of diplomacy illustrates the delicate nature of peace and reveals the parallel story of the unwillingness of extremist political forces (on both sides) to let the negotiations succeed.

Producer Hilla Medalia will be in person for the East Bay Opening Night screening Thursday, July 26th at 6:30PM at the Albany Twin Theatre in Albany and the East Bay Opening Night Reception immediately following the film. The film will also screen Wednesday July 25th at 5:45PM at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco with Medalia present, and Saturday, July 21st at 2:05PM at the CinéArts Theatre in Palo Alto.

Palo Alto Opening Night – WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY

The World Premiere of Roberta Grossman’s WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY will kick off the Palo Alto Screenings for SFJFF at the CinéArts Theatre in Palo Alto. Grossman (Seeing Allred, JFI WinterFest 2018; Above and Beyond, SFJFF 2014; Hava Nagila (The Movie), SFJFF 2012)  returns to the Festival with her ten-years-in-the-making documentary. The film focuses on a team of searchers in 1946,  who went with probes, shovels and their bare hands into tunnels to burrow through the vast tracts of rubble where the Warsaw Ghetto had stood. After nearly giving up hope, they found what they were looking for: an astonishing cache of archival materials documenting Jewish life in Nazi-occupied Warsaw, one of three buried treasures that would be found over the next five years. The collection of photographs, diary entries, smuggling accounts, newspapers and Nazi pronouncements constituted the invaluable work of a remarkable 60-member activist group Oyneg Shabes, (joy of sabbath). In Who Will Write Our History director Roberta Grossman (Seeing Allred, WinterFest 2018; Above and Beyond, SFJFF 2014; Hava Nagila (The Movie), SFJFF 2012) reveals to the world the vision, ingenuity and courage of these women and men. Told through a combination of archival footage, photographs and masterful reenactments, the film is a stirring paean to these bold individuals and a celebration of their optimism, persistence and grit.

Remarked filmmaker Roberta Grossman about the premiere: “WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY tells the most important unknown story of the Holocaust.  It is a story about people who risked their lives so the truth would survive, even if they did not. The questions of “who lives and who dies and who tells the story” are painfully resonant today.  There is nowhere I would rather premiere this film than the world-class SFJFF – with its incredible audiences – which has been a home away from home for me and my films!”

Grossman will be present for all screenings of the film starting Saturday, July 21st at 6:15PM at the CinéArts Theatre in Palo Alto for the Palo Alto Opening Night, and continuing with screenings Sunday, July 22nd at 4:00PM at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, and Saturday, July 28th at 6:00PM at the Albany Twin Theatre in Albany.

Silent Film Festival Partnership – THE CITY WITHOUT JEWS with Live Score

Hans Karl Bresiauer’s silent gem from 1924, THE CITY WITHOUT JEWS will make its International Premiere  at the Festival as part of SFJFF’s partnership with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The film was believed to have been lost until a copy was discovered in a Paris flea market in 2015, and was painstakingly  restored by the Austrian National Film Archive. The film will screen Sunday, July 22nd at 7:00PM at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. Set in the mythical republic of Utopia, the economy is stagnant, the currency has become worthless, and with protests by the hordes of unemployed workers are growing by the day, the ruling party moves to expel all Jews from Utopia. Based on the novel of the same name by Hugo Bettauer, it caused such a furor that Bettauer was assassinated by a fascist. Looking ahead ten years to what happened in Europe, this tongue-in-cheek “expulsion” foresaw the all-too real “extermination” of Jews. Viewers now have the opportunity to see this film and realize that thinking a happy ending could result from such a vile proposal is truly laughable. An original live score performed by local musician Sascha Jacobsen and the Musical Art Quintet will accompany the film.

“San Francisco Silent Film Festival is thrilled to partner with the Jewish Film Institute to present this important rediscovery in its international premiere! SFJFF’s audience will have the added pleasure of seeing this silent gem accompanied live by Sascha Jacobsen and the Musical Art Quintet,” said Anita Monga, SFSFF’s Artistic Director.

Film Noir Foundation Partnership – BUDAPEST NOIR

In collaboration with the Film Noir Foundation, SFJFF will screen Éva Gárdos’ Hungarian drama BUDAPEST NOIR. The film, set in 1936, follows  Gordon, a crime reporter who investigates  the death of a beautiful young girl. Filled with classic film noir tropes, Gárdos’ blends traditional noir elements into a politically charged period piece with contemporary resonance. As part of the Film Noir Foundation partnership, founder and president of FNF Eddie Muller will lead a discussion with Gárdos following the screening of the film Saturday, July 21st at 6:00PM at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. Gárdos will also be present for a screening of the film Sunday, July 22nd at 6:15PM at the CinéArts Theatre in Palo Alto. Additional screenings of the film will take place Saturday, July 28th at 8:45PM at the Albany Twin Theatre in Albany, and Saturday, August 4th at 8:40PM at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.

Take Action Day: Activist Filmmaking to Repair the World

On Friday, July 27th at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, SFJFF will once again present a full day of illuminating documentaries which take their cues from the Jewish value of tikkun olam,dedicated to repairing the world with our actions. Discussion of the issues with filmmakers and representatives from community organizations who are making a difference with their work, led by award-winning filmmaker and former JFI Filmmaker in Residence Nicole Opper, will follow each screening.

Environmentalism, health and corporate accountability, unbridled scientific creativity, gender inequality, and criminal justice and the legal response to cyber stalking are just some of the pressing issues raised in this grouping of buzzed-about documentaries. A path forward to a healthier, cruelty-free lifestyle is examined in THE END OF MEAT, an expose about the Dupont company and their continued development of Teflon products despite the health risks to its workers and consumers are revealed in THE DEVIL WE KNOW, and introduction to the extraordinary cadre of teenage scientists working to combat the effects of climate change and other contemporary problems in SCIENCE FAIR. Standouts in the program also highlight the inequality of the criminal justice system  in THE SENTENCE, a piercing examination of the consequences of mandatory minimum sentences on women and families, and NETIZENS, a profile of three powerful women who, as survivors of cyber harassment, become the advocates they need to be to change laws and opinions around online privacy.

Hands On/Hands Off: Anatomy of a Feminist Film Movement

As part of a special initiative supported by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences and the California Arts Council in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, SFJFF38 will shine a spotlight on women behind and in front of the lens shaping today’s social discourse and revolutionizing the way we talk about sexual harassment and consent. Two contemporary documentaries showcase the voices of feminist directors. Cynthia Lowen’s NETIZENS which profiles three women, including Carrie Goldberg, a Jewish attorney who has launched a law firm specializing in internet privacy and sexual assault cases following her own cyber harassment. Nancy Schwartzman’s ROLL RED ROLL which uncovers disturbing evidence on social media documenting the assault of a teenage girl by members of an idolized Ohio high school football team. And showing just how far we’ve come in the conversation about female representation and empowerment, we present the pre-Code, 1933 Hollywood film BABY FACE starring Barbara Stanwyck as a victim-turned-survivor, who exploits men in her climb to the top. This sidebar will feature with a panel discussion featuring NETIZENS director Cynthia Lowen and subject Anita Sarkeesian, ROLL RED ROLL director Nancy Schwartzman and more to be announced.

Next Wave Programming

From art dealers and stealers in the West Bank (THE MAN WHO STOLE BANKSY) to an unlikely duo of blues musicians in Harlem (Local Spotlight film SATAN & ADAM) and a quirky buddy comedy built on an exploration of death and decay (Centerpiece Narrative TO DUST), SFJFF38’s Next Wave selections address the complicated, conflicting and empowering elements of contemporary life, Jewish identity and expression through a showcase of remarkable stories that touch on art, social justice, relationships, cuisine and more. Other films in the Next Wave section include: Marc Pierschel’s look into alternative meat options in THE END OF MEAT, the Israeli LGBT coming of age drama RED COW, Annemarie Jacir’s look at a Palestinian father and his estranged son who come together to hand deliver his daughter’s wedding invitations to each guest in WAJIB, Stephanie Kass’s hybrid documentary ETGAR KERET: BASED ON A TRUE STORY about Israeli writer Etgar Keret, Sophie Huber’s emotional journey behind the scenes of Blue Note Records in BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTES, and Cynthia Lowen’s NETIZENS.

Next Wave membership is $40 for attendees  35 & under— which includes a Festival pass offering tremendous access to everything on offer at SFJFF as well as special events, film screenings, artist talks and more throughout the year. Visit to start experiencing film differently today.

Blackish / Jewish

The stories on display in the black•ish / jew•ish spotlight highlight compelling personal and cultural narratives that locate the grey areas in all of us, challenge stereotypes and beg the question: #What’sYourISH?. SFJFF38’s Closing Night film, Sam Pollard’s electrifying documentary SAMMY DAVIS, JR.: I’VE GOTTA BE ME, presented in partnership with the Museum of the African Diaspora, is a redemptive journey into the complicated history of the famous entertainer, with very current implications for the politics of identity. BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTES excavates the African-American and Jewish relationships that solidified the iconic Jazz record label as America’s most important musical export, with spellbinding footage from the making of seminal albums. SATAN & ADAM, the SFJFF38 Local Spotlight, takes viewers on a twisting, 30+ year journey with the unlikely blues duo of an African-American busker from Harlem and a white, Jewish harmonica player who transcend their cultural divides through music. And CROSSROADS, a team of improbable lacrosse players at an African American charter school in North Carolina and their Jewish coach are equally transformed through mentorship, friendship and mutual understanding.

Bless My Homeland Forever: Austria’s Sordid Past

The films in this sidebar challenge the false narrative that casts Austria as the original “victim” of Hitler’s imperialist expansion, despite the country’s documented complicity with the Nazi war machine. The trilogy begins with THE CITY WITHOUT JEWS, the international premiere of the newly restored 1924 silent film replete with dystopian expressionism, a newly commissioned score, and presented with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The the festival will visit the dramatic courtroom setting of MURER-ANATOMY OF A TRIAL to witness the political machinations and conspiracies that virtually absolved the notorious Butcher from Vilnius of his Holocaust crimes. Finally, SFJFF’s Centerpiece Documentary THE WALDHEIM WALTZ, examines former U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim’s 1986 election to the Austrian presidency, despite the revelations of his Nazi past. This sidebar is a chilling examination of a historic example of fake news and its impact on populist demagoguery.

Awards & Competition at the Festival

The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival is now a qualifying film festival in the Academy Award® Documentary Short Subject category. SFJFF is the first Jewish film festival to achieve this Academy Award qualifying status. Recipients of SFJFF’s juried Best Short Documentary Award will be eligible for consideration in the Academy Award®’ Documentary Short Subject category provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.

“We are honored to have SFJFF join a select group of qualifying festivals for the Short Documentary Oscar®. We are very happy that our filmmakers will have this added benefit when  they screen at our Festival,” Jay Rosenblatt, JFI’s Program Director, said.

All feature length narrative and documentary films at the Festival compete for the SFJFF Audience Award, which is announced at the close of the Festival on The SFJFF Audience Award was inaugurated at the 2017 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.

The San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award, inaugurated at the 2017 Festival, represents a new partnership between SFJFF and the influential community of Bay Area film critics. The 2018 SFJFF Film Critics Circle Award will be presented in the category of Best Narrative Feature.

The SFJFF Film Movement Award, presented annually with the distributor Film Movement, honors achievement in short filmmaking that expresses the Jewish experience in a unique, original and meaningful way, or provides a fresh perspective on the diversity within the Israeli or Jewish community. All SFJFF selected short films are eligible and receive the option of a non-exclusive distribution deal with Film Movement.

—Entering its 38th year, the Festival is expecting an audience of over 40,000 moviegoers at the following theaters; the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, the Albany Twin Theatre in Albany, the Piedmont Theatre in Oakland, the CinéArts Theatre in Palo Alto, and the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.

For general and ticket information, visit or email To contact the SFJFF Box Office directly, please email or call 415.621.0523.

For Festival logos, photos and press materials, visit or To request interviews or screeners, contact Larsen Associates.

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About the Jewish Film Institute 
The Jewish Film Institute (JFI) is the premier curatorial voice for Jewish film and media and a leading arts and culture organization in the Bay Area. Presenter of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, JFI catalyzes and inspires communities in San Francisco and around the world to expand their understanding of Jewish life and culture through film, media, and dialogue. Year round, the Jewish Film Institute promotes awareness and appreciation of the diversity of the Jewish people through multiple mediums – including original online programming that reaches a global audience of over 2 million views. All of these services, along with artists’ support and educational initiatives, give audiences around the world even greater access to Jewish culture and the visionaries who shape it.

About the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF), presented by the Jewish Film Institute, is the largest and longest-running festival of its kind and a leader in the curation and presentation of new film and media exploring the complexities of Jewish life around the world. Presenting more than 65 films and 135 individual screenings, performances and events in five Bay Area cities (San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Rafael, Oakland, Albany), SFJFF attracts more than 40,000 filmgoers and industry professionals to its 18-day program.

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 38 Sponsors
The Jewish Film Institute and San Francisco Jewish Film Festival wish to thank the 2018 Premier Festival Sponsors Sterling Bank & Trust and The Seligman Family Foundation.

SFJFF38 wishes to thank its Premier Media Sponsors: the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGATE; its Grand Media Sponsors: J. the Jewish News of Northern California, KQED and The Forward; and its Major Media Sponsors: ABC7/KGO-TV, and the SF Bay Times.

The Festival wishes to thank its Business and Community Sponsors: Berkeley Film Foundation, Britex Fabrics, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Craig Harrison’s Expressions of ExcellenceTM,GoWatchIt, Ingeniux Web Experience Management, Schoenberg Family Law Group, Sinai Memorial Chapel Chevra Kadisha and Wareham Development and Where the Buffalo Roam.

SFJFF38 also recognizes its Hospitality and Events Sponsors: Leftwich Event Specialists, Inc., Ba-Bite, Catch SF, Hagafen Wineries, the Hotel Carlton, Lagunitas Brewing Co., Landmark Theatres, L’Chaim Sushi, Frena Bakery, Little Star Pizza, Melons Catering & Events, Sullivan & Botello Party Rentals, Poesia, Salt & Honey, Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen, Taste, Wise Sons and Zaytoon Mediterranean Restaurant & Bar.