The immigration crises of the 21st century have contributed to a prodigious output of contemporary films, many of which will be showcased at SFJFF37. Inclusive of a Hollywood classic, the Exodus sidebar will examine the experiences of refugees that underscores similarities between past and contemporary currents of xenophobia, populism and extreme nationalism.
Over the past five years, tens of thousands of refugees from sub-Saharan Africa have sought relief and safety in Israel only to find a society bitterly divided on how to treat them. Filmmaker Beth Toni Kruvant examines Israel’s moral obligation to extend aid and comfort to the refugees and the role that race and religion play in the willingness of a community to accept them in their midst.
Haunting in its relevance for today’s refugee crisis, this star-studded 1976 film evokes the hopes and fears of a people uprooted from their homes en route to a promised land on the MS St. Louis, the ship that brought 937 Jews escaping Germany on the eve of the Shoah in 1939 to the shores of Cuba, where they are forbidden to disembark (only to then be similarly rejected by the United States and Canada)
The current refugee crisis, the deepest the world has seen since World War II, has been burned into everyone’s consciousness. Journalist and filmmaker Pia Lenz set out to approach the topic with a new set of eyes. She follows two families as they resettle in Germany. Lenz is as patient as the film’s subjects, taking the time to transform from making a film about the refugee problem to a thoughtful look at the refugees as individuals
This timely fiction/documentary hybrid plays with our minds as a European lectures, then interrogates refugees from Africa and the Middle East who are seeking asylum. He tells them they are not wanted, then that they deserve refugee status, then asks specific questions to weed out those who do not qualify. First-time helmer Guido Hendrikx uses innovative and provocative techniques to make us share in the emotions of the most powerless people in the world.
Golyam Dervent, Bulgaria: When gentle village postman Ivan runs for mayor on the platform of welcoming Syrian refugees, the outcome of this humble election (to be decided by fewer than 50 voters) soon takes on all the trappings of a high drama campaign. This often funny, always absorbing documentary that screened at the Sundance Film Festival shows the uneasy confrontation of a small village with the wider world during a time of humanitarian crisis.
Following the Castro screening of Stranger in Paradise, SFJFF is pleased to present a panel discussion on the refugee and immigration crisis with Mark Hetfield, Executive Director of HIAS; Amy Weiss, Director of Refugee and Immigrant Services, Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay; Subhi Nahas, Syrian refugee and LGBTQ activist and moderated by Michael Krasny, host of KQED's Forum.
$110 Members / $130 General Public
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