The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF) is back! From July 22 to August 1, the world’s first and largest Jewish film festival will present over 50 films from over 20 countries with an unprecedented number of shorts and special guests from around the globe, celebrating bold films and filmmakers that expand and evolve the Jewish story for audiences everywhere. Tickets and passes are now on sale for all programs.Now in its 41st year, this year’s program has “something for everyone.” From historical dramas to genre-bending documentaries, this year’s themes range from poignant coming of age films to complex narratives surrounding Jewish identity. Five films address LGBTQI+ issues, eight films on the joys and pains of teenage life, seven explore topics and themes relating to the Israeli-Palestinian region, 25 feature women directors and producers, literature takes center stage in five films, and the creation of music graces the screen in three films. This year, the new JFI Social Change Teen Fellowship program will be presenting the Take Action program.
Festival-goers can experience SFJFF several ways this year. Those who are comfortable viewing from home can do so in the JFI Digital Screening Room, and those who are excited to gather in community will be able to enjoy in-person, live screenings at the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco on July 24 and 25.
“We really were not sure what was going to happen this year, so we are thrilled to be back in the Castro for a limited theatrical run with the highest quality slate of ground-breaking and provocative films. The lineup reflects the full breadth of Jewish identity and the perseverance of independent filmmakers during a global pandemic. There is nothing like a community experiencing a film premiere together in the dark. We cannot wait to see everyone!” says JFI Executive Director Lexi Leban.
Queer films include:
BINDING OF ITZIK (Short)A middle aged Hasidic bookbinder, in his search for binding materials, stumbles across a craigslist ad offering “binding lessons for submissive women.”Directed by Anika Benkov
A richly drawn biopic of Czech healer Jan Mikolášek who rose to fame through his uncanny ability to diagnose disease with a mere glance at the patient’s urine. Treating all who entered his clinic, from the poor to the Nazis, is he an unorthodox healer ahead of his time or a mere charlatan?
Directed by Agnieszka Holland
Internationally renowned conductor Marin Alsop smashed the glass ceiling when she became the first woman to serve as music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. The Conductor takes the audience backstage to the artistry and energy that rewards her audiences and inspires her students.Directed by Bernadette Wegenstein
COSMOPOLITAN (Short)Jacob goes out, for the first time in his life, to a gay party, but discovers that his skin color prevents him from being accepted into the community. The film is part of the “Equals” project, by the Gesher Multicultural Film Fund.Directed by Moran Nakar
PROGNOSIS: NOTES ON LIVING
When maverick Oscar-winning Bay Area documentary filmmaker Debra Chasnoff is diagnosed with stage-4 breast cancer, she faces injustice as always, with her camera. A raw, surprisingly funny portrait emerges of how her calling—to repair the world—shifts as she navigates between terminal illness and the shifting identities of her chosen LGBTQI+ family. Directed by Debra Chasnoff & Kate Stilley Steiner
MY NAME IS PAULI MURRAY
Fifteen years before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat, a full decade before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned separate-but-equal legislation, Pauli Murray was already knee-deep fighting for social justice. A pioneering attorney, activist, priest and dedicated memoirist, Murray shaped landmark litigation—and consciousness—around race and gender equity. As an African American youth raised in the segregated South—who was also wrestling with broader notions of gender identity—Pauli understood, intrinsically, what it was to exist beyond previously accepted categories and cultural norms.Directed by BETSY WEST AND JULIE COHEN
Visit sfjff.org for complete Festival information, including ticket sales and registration, updates and announcements.