Next Wave

JFI Next Wave is a community of discerning, Bay Area film lovers as well as a platform for the showcase of emerging and established filmmakers whose work explores modern life and identity through a Jewish lens. Next Wave members receive all-inclusive Festival passes, attend private VIP receptions and parties with filmmakers, actors, and artists; experience programs and events that step outside the boundaries of film such as live music, comedy, art and, (of course), drink, eat, socialize, and network with other young leaders and fans of the independent arts community.

SFJFF39's Next Wave selections cover a range of relevant issues, topics and conflicts, from a genre- bending family dramedy (Before You Know It), to a modern Mexico City twist on tales of forbidden love (Leona), to the repercussions faced by a young professor after an uncomfortable conversation in the modern college classroom (Safe Spaces), to a portrait of the talented rising star, Anton Yelchin, whose life was tragically cut short (Love, Antosha). 

Purchase a $45 Next Wave Pass for extraordinary flexibility to attend everything at the Festival including Big Nights, for film lovers 35 & Under.

Next Wave programs are generously supported by the Koret Foundation and by the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation

Next Wave Selections

Safe Spaces | Next Wave Spotlight

Safe Spaces | Next Wave Spotlight

"Safe Spaces" is a comedy about a NYC professor who spends a week re-connecting with his family while defending his reputation over controversial behavior at a college.

Read More

Abe | Film & Feast

Abe | Film & Feast

The Israeli-Jewish side of his family calls him Avram. The Palestinian-Muslim side Ibrahim. His first-generation American agnostic lawyer parents call him Abraham. But the 12-year-old kid from Brooklyn who loves food and cooking, prefers, well, Abe. Just Abe.

Read More

Before You Know It

Before You Know It

Stage manager Rachel Gurner still lives in her childhood apartment - along with her off-kilter actress sister, Jackie; eccentric playwright father Mel; and deadpan preteen niece Dodge - above the tiny theatre they own and operate. Level-headed and turtleneck-wearing Rachel is the only thing standing between her family and utter chaos. Then, in the wake of a sudden family tragedy, Rachel and Jackie learn their presumed-deceased mother is actually alive and thriving as a soap-opera star. Now the sisters' already-precarious balance turns upside down, and Rachel must figure out how to liberate herself from this surreal imbroglio. Co-writer/director/star Hannah Pearl Utt is a triple threat with an impeccable sense of timing and a flair for juxtaposing unpredictable elements. Just as pragmatic Rachel and off-the-wall Jackie seem to hail from different planets while inhabiting the same universe, so too do the film's over-the-top moments and characters coexist alongside subtle, grounded ones. Equal parts madcap comedy, adult coming-of-age story, and poignant drama, Before You Know It gleefully defies categorization, and that is its genius.

Read More

Dancing Dogs of Dombrova, The

Dancing Dogs of Dombrova, The

On a cold winter night, estranged siblings Sarah and Aaron Cotler arrive at an empty train station in Dombrova, Poland. With their only available ride being a determinedly silent driver, they embark on a quest to fulfill their dying grandmother's wish-to find, dig up, and bring home the bones of her favorite childhood dog, Peter.While navigating the many obstacles and colorful characters they encounter on their journey, Sarah and Aaron must come to terms with their own demons and differences, while also contending with a soicety seemingly content to let its past lay buried for good.

Read More

Give Me Liberty

Give Me Liberty

When a riot breaks out in Milwaukee, America's most segregated city, medical transport driver Vic is torn between his promise to get a group of elderly Russians to a funeral and his desire to help Tracy, a young black woman with ALS.

Read More

Leona

Leona

A young Jewish woman from Mexico City finds herself torn between her family and her forbidden love with a non-Jewish man.

Read More

Love, Antosha

Love, Antosha

Prolific young actor Anton Yelchin was wise beyond his years and influenced everyone around him to strive for more. Love, Antosha tells the story of Yelchin's creative persistence. His devoted Russian parents nurtured his love of acting, exposing him to works of the masters. Filming himself became a tool for his transformation; reflecting on his own performance, he pushed himself to find depth in every role. Often the youngest actor on set, Yelchin's intense focus inspired many actors around him - Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pine, and John Cho share revealing insights into his character. Though he kept it a secret, Yelchin lived with a dangerous health condition, but he never became discouraged. As he grew into his craft, he continually enriched his understanding of the world, embodying an incredible authenticity. As a vivid part of the Sundance Film Festival community, Yelchin premiered in numerous independent features at the Festival: Alpha Dog (2006), Like Crazy (Grand Jury Prize in 2011), and Thoroughbreds (2017). Filmmaker Garret Price crafts a heartwarming and profound coming-of-age story of a singular young artist taken from us too early.

Read More

This is Personal

This is Personal

Director Amy Berg ('An Open Secret') turns the spotlight on the Women's March, especially co-founder Tamika Mallory - whose support of Louis Farrakhan has generated so much controversy - in this panoramic documentary.

Read More

Latter Day Jew

Latter Day Jew

A Gay comedian from the Midwest grows up Mormon, gets diagnosed with cancer at age 30, then shortly after converts to Judaism. He goes on a journey to "become a man" and become a Bar Mitzvah boy at age 35. Funny, poignant and resonant for these times, it's a story about identity, belonging and what it means to find out who you really are.

Read More

Adam

Adam

Directed by Transparent producer Rhys Ernst and adapted by Ariel Schrag from her novel of the same name, Adam drops us down in the hipster lesbian and trans culture of Brooklyn, 2006. It’s essentially a coming-of-age story about a 17-year-old straight, cisgender male who falls in love with a lesbian after she mistakes him for a transgender man. Adam decides to maintain this Shakespearean deception and a satirical and nuanced exploration of identity ensues.

Read More

Jews in Shorts: Israeli Narratives

Jews in Shorts: Israeli Narratives

Even in the midst of the mundane, life has a way of throwing us curves. In this year's superb collection of Israeli short narratives nothing is merely routine for our characters. Whether it's sitting on the bus, returning to a job after being away on vacation, attending a family gathering, riding on a train, or collecting a social security check, nothing will remain the same.

Read More

Jews in Shorts: Documentaries

Jews in Shorts: Documentaries

This year's collection of eclectic and powerful documentary shorts includes tracing memories of a beloved grandfather through stop motion animation, dating advice from an irascible German grandmother, contrasting accounts of the death of a family dog, striking photographs shot by an Israel war veteran and peace activist, and the gripping story of a Holocaust survivor whose life was saved when his parents sent him to Sweden.

Read More

Next Wave Pass

$45
The Next  Wave Pass offers extraordinary flexibility to film lovers under 35 to experience SFJFF. Valid for Big Nights and regular screenings at all venues and includes a year-long Jewish Film Institute membership. Learn more about Next Wave here.

Purchase