[SAN FRANCISCO, CA - November 20, 2020] The Jewish Film Institute, the presenters of The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival announce a special 40th Anniversary program during Hanukkah with an opening night drive-in movie, virtual screenings and conversations to celebrate SFJFF’s 40th anniversary. Audiences will come together during this festival of light to honor 4 decades of independent vision. 8 days of illuminating programs include a celebration that will recognize SFJFF’s enduring history, our supporters and the vibrancy of our community. So let’s raise a glass and light a candle to 40 years of bringing Jewish storytelling to light.
Jay Rosenblatt said of the program,
“The 8 days of cinema kick off with a light, funny and uplifting film at the drive-in. The virtual portion features a well known alumni filmmaker of the festivals past, LGBTQ+ titles, a couple of 2020 films back by popular demand, our Short Doc Awards finalists, a stellar panel of renown filmmakers and the West Coast Premiere of a JFI completion grant film.”
According to Lexi Leban, Executive Director,
“We want to close out 2020 by bringing everyone together to celebrate this incredible 40 year milestone. This year has made crystal clear to us that community, art, and film have the ability to bring light and hope in challenging times. It is comforting to know that we are all in this together. We are not going anywhere and we plan to be around for the next 40 years!”
Opening Night at Fort Mason Drive-In: Howie Mandel: But, Enough About Me Dir. Barry Avrich
2020, Canada, 88 min
Howie Mandel: But, Enough About Me is a heartwarming, funny and candid look at the life of wildly inventive comedian and actor, Howie Mandel. This intimate portrait examines one of the most beloved and complex comedians and his invulnerable spirit. Told through Howie’s own voice and using a wealth of behind the scenes access, the film examines his extraordinary life and career as well as his painful struggles with mental illness and how he has managed to cope while managing a relentless pace in his professional and private life.
Invited Guests: Director Barry Avrich and Subject Howie Mandel
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
Dir. Caroline Link
2019, Germany, 120 min
This stunning film from the director of the Academy Award–winning Nowhere in Africa has the grand dramatic sweep and ravishing visuals of cinematic epics from an earlier era. Based on the best-selling novel by Judith Kerr, the film begins in 1933, following 9-year-old Anna, who isn’t overly concerned with the changes coming to Berlin and the creeping dread of Hitler’s rise to power until her own father goes missing. Moving with her mother and brother to Switzerland, then Paris, then London, Anna experiences family disruption, dislocation, and assimilation into a new life. Caroline Link’s film offers a moving perspective on the experience of German Jews who fled the country before the war.
Invited Guest: Director Caroline Link
Born in Jerusalem and Still Alive (Next Wave Spotlight) Dirs. Yossi Atia and David Ofek
2019, Israel, 83 min
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA PREMIERE
While walking down Jaffa Road, Jerusalem native Ronen Matalon (Yossi Atia) overhears a tour guide offering a sanitized version of his hometown's recent history. This inspires him to begin his own "Terror Tour", taking tourists to famous bombing sites and giving them a droll take on the absurdity of everyday life during the terrorist attacks of the 1990's and 2000's. On one of
his tours he meets Asia, an ex-Jerusalemite living in Barcelona, and their
relationship challenges him to begin healing from the trauma that envelops his emotional life. Deftly blending romantic comedy with the complexities of modern life (in a style reminiscent of Albert Brooks), Born in Jerusalem and Still Alive is a sensitive and hilarious debut from director, writer and star Yossi Atia.
Guest: Director, Writer, Actor Yossi Atia
Sublet (Centerpiece film)
Dir. Eytan Fox
2019, Israel, 90 min
Michael, a travel columnist for The New York Times, goes to Tel Aviv to write an article after suffering a tragedy. He is still grieving and the loss has caused problems between him and his husband. He just wants to do his research and go home. But when he sublets an apartment from Tomer, a young film student, he finds himself drawn into the life of the city.
Invited Guest: Director Eytan Fox; Actor John Benjamin Hickey
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Dir. Ric Burns
2019, USA, 114 min
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life explores the life and work of the legendary neurologist and storyteller, as he shares intimate details of his battles with drug addiction, homophobia, and a medical establishment that accepted his work only decades after the fact. Sacks was a fearless explorer of unknown mental worlds who helped redefine our understanding of the brain and mind, the diversity of human experience, and our shared humanity.
Invited Guests: Director Ric Burns; Subjects Kate Edgar, Billy Hayes
Film About a Father Who
Dir. Lynne Sachs
2020, USA, 74 min
WEST COAST PREMIERE
Over a period of 35 years between 1984 and 2019, filmmaker Lynne Sachs shot 8 and 16mm film, videotape and digital images of her father, Ira Sachs Sr., a bon vivant and pioneering businessman from Park City, Utah. Film About a Father Who is her attempt to understand the web that connects a child to her parent and a sister to her siblings. With a nod to the Cubist renderings of a face, Sachs’ cinematic exploration of her father offers simultaneous, sometimes
contradictory, views of one seemingly unknowable man who is publicly the uninhibited center of the frame yet privately ensconced in secrets.
Guest: Director Lynne Sachs
A Crime on the Bayou
Dir. Nancy Buirski
2020, USA, 89 min
WEST COAST PREMIERE
It's 1966 in Plaquemines Parish, a swampy strip of land south of New Orleans. A young Black fisherman, Gary Duncan, tries to break up a fight between white and Black teenagers outside a newly integrated school. He gently lays his hand on a white boy’s arm and the boy recoils like a snake. That night, police arrest 19-year-old Gary Duncan for assault on a minor. After months of clashes, the public schools have been integrated by court order. But we are in the land of the white separatist despot, Leander Perez, who rules Plaquemines like his fiefdom, making sure that segregation sticks regardless of federal laws desegregating schools and mandating voting rights. Arresting men like Duncan keeps Black people in their place. With the help of a young Jewish attorney, Richard Sobol, Duncan bravely stands up to Perez.
Guest: Director Nancy Buirski
Jews in Shorts: Documentaries Eddy’s World
Dir. Lyn Goldfarb
2019, USA, 28 min
Eddy’s World tells the entertaining story of Eddy Goldfarb, a 98-year-old working toy inventor, best known for the iconic Yakity Yak Teeth and nearly 800 classic toys. He designed his first toys while on submarine duty during WWII, launching his 80 year career as an independent toy inventor.
Child of Lebensborn
Dir. Yana Alliata
2019, USA, 15 min
After four years of being indoctrinated by Nazi ideology, a victim of kidnapping and systemic propaganda, Lars Aanning spent his adult life reconciling his childhood trauma and perceived role perpetrating the Nazi dogma as a small child, with his efforts to be a good father, grandfather, and accepting and hardworking member of society in the U.S.
Silhouette of Braids
Dir. Rotem Dimand
2019, Israel, 15 min
For 50 years a family archive sat in the dark, until Rotem persuaded her mother Varda to watch her childhood anew. 8mm films were discovered as documentation of an amateur filmmaker, Varda’s mother, who documented her life in Tel Aviv in the late 1960s.
A Friendly Man
Dir. Lukasz Konopa
2019, Israel, 22 min
Greeting Arab vendors, laughing with Polish priests or flirting with a camel – just another day in the life of Joza, a humble tour guide in Jerusalem with a wild past. A surprising portrait unveils his unusual biography.
Free Online Events
Engines of Truth| A Stories She Tells Conversation
Leading Jewish women non-fiction filmmakers Amy Ziering, Bonni Cohen, Judith Helfand and Roberta Grossman join former Sundance programmer Caroline Libresco to discuss the role of Jewish values, identity, and culture, as well as feminism, as engines and subjects for their groundbreaking documentary films.
Guests: Amy Ziering, Nancy Buirski, Judith Helfand, Roberta Grossman, Moderator: Caroline Libresco
SFJFF 40th Anniversary Celebration | Dec 12 6pm | Free
Jewish Film Institute (JFI) invites the community to join in for a virtual celebration of 40 years of Jewish film and toast to the future of Jewish storytelling!
The evening will feature special guests and remembrances from four decades of Jewish cinema and culture. We’ll hear stories of the impact and influences of Jewish storytelling from the past, present, and into the future as well as see clips and trailers for upcoming events.
This event is free of charge with a suggested donation. All proceeds for the celebration will support JFI’s efforts to sustain and strengthen JFI’s vital work in building community through
film, media and dialogue, supporting filmmakers and artists working with Jewish themes and uplifting independent voices.
Thanks to its supporters, JFI is a recognized standard-bearer and largest presenter of Jewish content film at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. There is still much more to do to ensure the full breadth and scope of our stories will continue to be seen and heard.
Ticketing Information & FAQs:
Drive-In Tickets (one per vehicle)
Jewish Film Institute (JFI) Members: $50.00 General Public: $55.00
Festival Passes (good for all virtual films)
Jewish Film Institute (JFI) Members: $60.00 (Save $30 off individual ticket prices!) General Public: $90.00 (A $120 value or $30 in savings!)
Individual Film Tickets
Jewish Film Institute (JFI) Members: $10.00 General Public: $15.00
Films will be available for streaming through the JFI Digital Screening Room from Dec 10th - Dec 17th
Visit www.jfi.org/jfi40 for tickets, passes, and lineup. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Box Office at (415) 621-0568. Tickets and memberships can be purchased over the phone with the Box Office between 11am-5pm, Monday-Friday.
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. 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. JFI each year produces their signature summer Festival, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, in four Bay Area counties, the largest Jewish cultural event in Northern California and the first and largest festival of its kind worldwide. The annual festival provides a suite of awards, some with cash prizes, including: the Freedom of Expression Award (recent recipients include Norman Lear, Lee Grant, Kirk Douglas and documentary filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Liz Garbus); Audience Award for Best Narrative and Best Documentary; the
Film Movement Award for Best Narrative Short; a juried award for Best Documentary Short (the winner is eligible for the Oscars); and the SF Film Critics Award for best international fiction feature.
Additionally, JFI provides a number of Filmmaker Services to help provide support for emerging and established filmmakers working with Jewish themes and create a continuum of support for filmmakers at various stages in their careers. This support is provided through JFI’s Filmmaker Residency Program which since 2012 as provided office space and support for independent producers, and the Jerusalem Film Workshop a program in which JFI sends two emerging documentary student filmmakers to a 6-week documentary film workshop in Jerusalem to make films that will screen at the Jerusalem International Film Festival.
Finally, JFI provides a number of online programs including: the JFI Film Archive, the largest database of Jewish cinema online today, with almost 40 years of curatorial history and more than 1,800 films to investigate, this archive is the largest online resource for Jewish film and media in the World; through JFI On Demand, more than 350 films of its greatest hits can be accessed anytime, anywhere; and the Monthly Online Shorts, in which every month JFI releases films for free to a global audience of 2.3 million since 2009.
Facebook: facebook.com/sfjewishfilm/ Twitter: @SFJewishFilm
Blog: medium.com/@SFJewishFilm YouTube: youtube.com/sfjewishfilm Website: www.jfi.org / www.sfjff.org