Welcome to SFJFF38

Welcome to the 38th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival!

The Jewish Film Institute is thrilled to showcase 67 films from 22 countries amplifying the voices of our gifted filmmakers and artists. From the curtain-raiser Love, Gilda to Closing Night with Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me, you are in for a terrific ride!

What does it mean to present the preeminent Jewish film festival in 2018? What makes a film a Jewish film? Do you have to be Jewish to have a film in our Festival? (Hint: no) How do we contextualize the work? Are our events "Jewish" or "Jew-ish"? After 38 years and over 1,800 films, each case brings new perspective as we seek to address a world rapidly changing around us.

This year, women's voices rise. The annual Freedom of Expression Award recipient is Liz Garbus with her new film The Fourth Estate, foregrounding the importance of a free press. Ruth Beckermann's Centerpiece Documentary The Waldheim Waltz raises questions about "alternative facts" in the here and now. And in solidarity with the Time's Up and #MeToo movement, we presente Hands On/Hands Off, a sidebar supported by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences features women behind and in front of the lens shaping today's conversation on sexual harassment and assault.

We are proud to present a lost gem that sheds light on the resurgence of anti-Semitism with the international premiere of the 1924 silent film The City Without Jews, a print of which was recently discovered in a flea market, digitally restored and is now presented with a commissioned live score by classical musician Sascha Jacobsen and the Musical Art Quintet.

JFI is dedicated to presenting as many diverse, and sometimes opposing, perspectives as possible. The joy of challenging our assumptions and discussing the films together is what makes the Festival a thought-provoking and transformative experience. Each of us comes to the theater seeking magical, transcendent moments together. This is why so many refer to our festival as the Bay Area's secular synagogue.

So we welcome all to ask questions with us: cineastes, historians, art-lovers and partygoers, because this amazing lineup speaks to all communities about the most important issues facing us today.

To Life,


Lexi Leban
JFI Executive Director

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