Big Nights

The Festival's 12 Big Nights honor stories big and small that illuminate the diversity of Jewish experiences, champion freedom of expression, and delight with their wit and charm. This year's Festival features two live, artistic performances, a new East Bay Opening Night and much more. Click through to learn more about each program. 

SFJFF 2017 has been transferred to the JFI Film Archive

Opening Night: Keep the Change

Opening Night: Keep the Change

Under the guise of a New York romantic comedy, Keep the Change does something quite radical: In a refreshingly honest way it portrays two adults on the autistic spectrum. David desperately wants to be seen as “normal,” but Sarah accepts who she is. Together they navigate the vicissitudes of a burgeoning relationship. Writer/director Rachel Israel has an obvious affection for her characters, which infuses this poignant and funny film from the first frame to the last.

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The Boy Downstairs

The Boy Downstairs

Zosia Mamet of GIRLS fame stars in this twentysomething romantic comedy that borrows the aesthetic and location of the popular HBO show. Mamet plays Diana, an aspiring writer who moves back to New York City after living in London. Three years ago she left behind mensch and loving boyfriend Ben (Matthew Shear). Now she returns to discover that he lives in the apartment below hers. Things are about to get complicated.

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Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Notorious for a nude scene in the 1933 film Ecstasy, Hedy Lamarr became a sex symbol for the ages and achieved top stardom in Hollywood. But her deeper passion had to do with mechanics and technology. She was obsessed with creating useful inventions to benefit mankind, and her inventions were predecessors of wi-fi, bluetooth and cell phones. Spurned as too beautiful to be smart, she nonetheless upended stereotypes and serves as a role model to this day.

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Bobbi Jene

Bobbi Jene

“I want to get to that place where I have no strength to hide anything.” After a decade of stardom in Israel as part of the illustrious Batsheva Dance Company, dancer/choreographer Bobbi Jene Smith at age 30 pursues a solo career in the U.S. Winner of the Best Documentary prize at the Tribeca Film Festival, Bobbi Jene is a portrait of a dancer which is as unflinching, wondrous and embarrassing as life itself.

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An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

While many sequels do not live up to their predecessors, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is a rare exception. A decade after An Inconvenient Truth, local filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk follow Vice President Al Gore as he continues his tireless efforts to alert the human inhabitants of this planet to the catstrophic consequences of climate change and the urgency to take action.

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The Young Karl Marx

The Young Karl Marx

Director Raoul Peck’s (I Am Not Your Negro) finely crafted period drama vividly brings to life the August, 1844 meeting between Karl Marx, a German philosopher and journalist exiled to Paris, and Friedrich Engels, the rebellious son of a wealthy factory owner. After Marx lobs a few barbs at the dandified Engels, a revolutionary bromance is born. Within a few years Marx and Engels founded the Communist League and created its defining document, the Communist Manifesto.

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Dina

Dina

Dina and Scott are in love and planning a wedding, a stressful time for most couples. But they are not a typical couple. Dina is a 49-year-old woman with a tragic past. Scott is a Walmart greeter who lives with his parents. Both are adults on the mental development spectrum for whom love, sexuality and independence are fraught with challenges. Dina chronicles this poignant time in their lives as they search for intimacy and acceptance.

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1945

1945

In this astonishingly haunting film, deep undercurrents run beneath the simple surface in a quaint village that's ultimately forced to face up to its "ill-gotten gains" from the Second World War.

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Body and Soul: An American Bridge

Body and Soul: An American Bridge

“Body and Soul” is the pinnacle of soulful jazz, the most recorded jazz tune ever. Contrary to expectations, it was composed, not by an African American, but by Johnny Green, a Jew. Filmmaker Robert Philipson uses the example of “Body and Soul” to make a larger case: For decades Jews and Blacks found a “bridge” between their cultures through songs about suffering, and the journey was an inspired collaboration.

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Personal Affairs

Personal Affairs

In this dry, bitingly funny satire set in Nazareth, Ramallah and Sweden, a long-married Palestinian couple communicates through an elaborate series of mutually inflicted micro-aggressions. An official selection for the Cannes Film Festival, writer/director Maha Haj’s deftly insightful debut is both a timeless portrait of domestic discontent as well as a thoroughly contemporary and droll look at the bemusing indignities of border checkpoints, communications technology and impulsive romance.

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Fanny's Journey

Fanny's Journey

Riveting from the first frame to the last, Fanny’s Journey is the true and absorbing story of a 13-year-old girl who is separated from her parents in Nazi-occupied France. Fanny is brave and determined and leads her younger sisters and a group of Jewish children towards sanctuary in Switzerland. Expertly directed and well acted, the film emphasizes the resilience of these young heroes and is especially relevant in the present moment.

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Freedom of Expression Award: Joe Berlinger

Freedom of Expression Award: Joe Berlinger

SFJFF is honored to present this year's Freedom of Expression Award to Joe Berlinger, Jewish-American filmmaker and fervent believer in the documentary form as an instrument of change. Berlinger will accept the award and sit for an onstage interview at the Castro Theatre following a screening of his newest film Intent to Destroy.

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A Study on Effort: A Duet Between Bobbi Jene and Keir GoGwilt

A Study on Effort: A Duet Between Bobbi Jene and Keir GoGwilt

SFJFF is thrilled to present a rare performance from Bobbi Jene Smith, the subject of Bobbi Jene, in partnership with ODC/Dance. She will perform her piece A Study on Effort on August 2.

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SFJFF37 All-Festival Pass

$275 Members / $310 General Public

An All-Festival Pass is the best way to experience everything on offer at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Enjoy Big Nights, special events, matinees, and more, along with priority access to all venues! Some restrictions apply. Purchase online or contact the Box Office at 415.621.0523

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