Welcome to SFJFF37

It is the Jewish Film Institute's pleasure to welcome you to the 37th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, our signature program and the first and largest Jewish film festival in the world. We are proud to be a vital part of the Bay Area's cultural fabric and we couldn't be more excited to share three weeks of world-class film and media with you! There are new special events this year alongside festival favorites. Look out for film and dance, film and song, Film and Feast and more.

You will notice when flipping through your catalog that the Festival's design identity this year makes use of the ubiquitous sticky note. At an extraordinarily tumultuous moment in American culture last Fall, the country's attention was captured for a brief moment by an artist's installation of post-it notes in New York City subway stations that grew spontaneously to more than 50,000 notes, all professing a common theme: positivity.

Our design stems from this outpouring of hope and inclusivity that is so in line with the Jewish Film Institute's own values and which are threaded throughout this year's Festival: to champion freedom of expression, reveal diverse points of view, provide platforms for open dialogue, honor depth and complexity in storytelling, and nurture and build connections within and beyond Jewish communities. Our Opening Night film, Keep the Change, is a crowd-pleasing romantic comedy that also amplifies the perspectives of people on the autism spectrum, the Closing Night Film Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story recasts the Hollywood star as the inventor responsible for the one of the most important technological advances of our times. In our Local Spotlight, Vice President Al Gore examines just how close we are to a real energy revolution in An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

From the Exodus sidebar of films that illuminate the refugee experience (with generous support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) to our Freedom of Expression Award recipient Joe Berlinger and his new film about the Armenian Genocide Intent to Destroy, this year's program reflects filmmakers' critical role in the national conversation about identity, inclusivity, pluralism and democracy. Filmmakers and artists are using their creativity to make sense of our world and to mine our collective history for lessons we can apply to the present.

So we invite you, your friends and family to add your own voices to SFJFF37 (especially by voting for your favorite films for the newly inaugurated SFJFF Audience Award), and honor the extraordinary work of these filmmakers in this line-up and celebrate community and storytelling with us this summer. 


Lexi Leban

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