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SAN FRANCISCO, CA, July 1, 2020 — The Jewish Film Institute announces the complete line-up of Cinegogue Summer Days, a 4-day cinematic event showcasing the best of Jewish film and culture in a reimagined festival experience. Running during what would have been the opening weekend of the 40th Anniversary San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, the showcase features several stellar events including a special selection of Drive-in presentations, virtual film screenings and online shorts programs, interactive conversations, premiere performances, and awards presentations.
“Since its inception in 1980, JFI has welcomed audiences to celebrate the power of Jewish film each summer,” said Jewish Film Institute Executive Director, Lexi Leban. “JFI could not imagine a summer without the Festival, so we created Cinegogue Summer Days to provide our loyal SFJFF audiences with a unique opportunity to join together in community and conversation. The showcase gives a space to celebrate
creativity and innovation and deliberate over life’s important questions while we are in this transformational moment in our history.” The series opens on July 16, what would have been the SFJFF opening night, with two special Drive-in screenings under the stars.
Jay Rosenblatt, Program Director, adds “The 4-day showcase will shine a spotlight on all JFI programs highlighting those that support filmmakers and artists who offer stories of resilience and hope as well as virtual screenings of some of the best new works. Our aim is that Cinegogue Summer Days will bring us joy in a physically distanced but socially connected environment.”
Ticket sales and registrations are available at jfi.org/summerdays.
Please note that the following films have suggested showtimes listed. The films will be available for viewing for all four days, but the suggested showtime will be followed by a live Q&A:
LOVE & STUFF
MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS: WHERE NOW IS SHIVA BABY
THEY AIN'T READY FOR ME
THOSE WHO REMAINED
Opening Night: At The Drive-In
TRUTH TO POWER: BARBARA LEE SPEAKS FOR ME
Director Abby Ginzberg, USA, 2020
Throughout the year we search the universe for films that reflect the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam- repairing the world through one’s actions. This year we only had to look in our backyard. Barbara Lee, the US Representative for California’s 13 District, has spent her life fighting inequality and racism, uplifting the stories of those falling through the cracks and speaking truth to power. Lee was the lone vote against giving President George W. Bush unlimited military authority in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and as a result she received death threats after being denounced by many in the press.Yet thousands of members of Lee’s district welcomed her home with support and love, coining the phrase, “Barbara Lee Speaks for Me.” The current protests and reactions to George Floyd’s death has only elevated her visibility in Congress and the country as she
has called for a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Commission to confront the legacy of slavery and racism in the U.S. and propose ways forward. Beautifully directed by Peabody Award-Winning local filmmaker Abby Ginzberg (Soft Vengeance: Alby Sachs and the New South Africa, SFJFF 2014) this powerful and timely documentary features interviews from Senator Cory Booker, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, CNN commentator Van Jones, actor Danny Glover and author Alice Walker who share insights about what makes Barbara Lee unique as a public servant and as a truth-telling African American woman.
Director Oren Jacoby, USA, 2019
Thursday, July 16, 8:30pm • West Wind Capitol Drive-In, San Jose
West Coast Premiere
From composers to lyricists and producers to actors, Jews have played a pivotal role in the creation of many of Broadway’s biggest hits. Luminaries such as Barbra Streisand, Idina Menzel, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim are just a few noteworthy examples. In this opening night film, legends of the stage tell the inside story of Broadway and how it came back from the brink thanks to innovative work, a new attention to inclusion, and a sometimes uneasy balance between art and commerce. This entertaining documentary tracks the breakthrough works and artists who made Broadway into a venue where you will find everything from the experimental and iconoclastic to the corporate and commercial, reflecting the diverse, complicated society in which we live. Despite the fact that it is constantly changing, Broadway somehow attracts the most passionately loyal and devoted fans in the world. As Ian McKellen says in his interview, trying to describe the force of Broadway... “Come on, come in, come here... I’m going to give myself to you and you’re going to come and love me.” Iconic performances by Lin Manuel Miranda, Patti Lupone, Bernadette Peters, James Earl Jones and Mandy Patinkin lead the way on a hurly burly ride through Times Square, once again the main street of American show business in On Broadway, directed by Academy-Award nominee Oren Jacoby.
TIFFANY SHLAIN #ZOOMCHALLAHBAKES
Friday, July 17, 10am • Live Online Event
Emmy-nominated filmmaker Tiffany Shlain has been doing a very popular #ZoomChallahBake every Friday since the pandemic began. Each week she brings on special guests to talk about everything from the pandemic to the protests to technology and art, all while making challah with people around the world. She’ll be doing a very special bake for Cinegogue Summer Days, featuring two special guests: Rabbi
(/comedian) Sydney Mintz from the Bay Area and Prince Challah from Berlin. Don't worry if you have never made bread or challah before. She'll teach you. It's easy. It's healing. We all look forward to baking bread together!
JFI FILMMAKER IN RESIDENCE SHOWCASE
Friday, July 17, 12pm • Live Online Conversation
Since 2012 the JFI Filmmaker Residency has provided creative, marketing and production support for independent filmmakers. JFI residents are in various stages of completion on their projects whose work promotes the exploration and understanding of Jewish identity and culture. This year’s filmmakers Nora Mariana, Theo Rigby, Eva Ilona Brzeski, Yoav Potash, and Charene Zalis will present clips and trailers of their works in progress and share insight into their creative process in a conversation moderated by programmer Joshua Moore.
Director Veronica Selver and Susan Fanshel, USA, 2020
In 1906, Irmi Selver was born into a comfortable Jewish family in Chemnitz, Germany, where she grew up, married and began her own family. Nothing prepared her for the upheavals and tragedy that were in store for her, or for the many times she would have to start her life over on unfamiliar ground. IRMI is a deeply personal film made by a daughter who is inspired by her mother’s story and her spirit. It explores the way in which unexpected events and chance encounters can both shape a life and reveal its true nature. Using Irmi’s own memoir—beautifully read by the actress, Hanna Schygulla and with a richly emotional score by composer, Todd Boekelheide, IRMI takes us on her unique journey. It is a portrait of a woman whose strength, resilience and perhaps most stunningly, whose joie de vivre could not be vanquished even in the face of unimaginable loss.
Director Emma Seligman, USA, 2020
Friday, July 17, 6pm • Online Screening with Q&A - Next Wave Spotlight
West Coast Premiere
As a sugar baby, Danielle is financially pampered by her sugar daddy Max in exchange for companionship and sexual favors. While she navigates her senior year of college and a lack of plans for the future, she grows into a mild obsession for Max. One morning, shortly after leaving his house, she joins her family at a shiva - the week-long mourning period that follows the burial of a first-degree relative - and her day takes an unexpected turn: apparently against all odds,
she runs into Max with his accomplished wife and crying baby. In a rapid twist of mood, Danielle has to perform multiple roles: keep up her facade as a good Jewish daughter, entertain small talk with various estranged relatives, play it cool with her ex girlfriend Maya, all the while trying to finish her bagel and fending off pressure from Max’s worried gaze. Covering the course of a day, this snarky comedy delivers laughs and tackles every young adult’s eternal conundrum: family and tradition or exploration and personal growth? Emma Seligman’s debut feature promises to be an excellent inspiration for our Next Wave community or millennial and gen z film lovers, the more so at a historical time where friendship, love and sexuality are subject to restrictions all the while blossoming with new creative potential.
THEY AIN’T READY FOR ME
Director Brad Rothschild, USA, 2020
Saturday, July 18, 12pm • Online Screening with Q&A
West Coast Premiere
They Ain’t Ready For Me is the story of Tamar Manasseh, an African American rabbinical student who is leading the fight against senseless killings on the south side of Chicago. The film explores the challenges and motivations of this fearless community leader as she works to prevent more people from being killed by gun violence. Tamar's complex identity and magnetic personality combine to make her a force to be reckoned with, and she hasn't even hit her stride yet. Ilana Kaufman, the director of the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative, will interview subject Tamar Manasseh following the online screening.
MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS: WHERE NOW IS
Director Susan Froemke, USA, 2020
Saturday, July 18, 2:30pm • Online Screening with Live Conversation between Michael Tilson Thomas and Peter L. Stein
West Coast Premiere
In 1970, Michael Tilson Thomas was considered the great young hope of American classical music. Becoming a star overnight when he stepped in mid-concert for the ailing Boston Symphony conductor, the expectations for him were limitless. But free-spirited MTT went his own way and stretched the boundaries of classical music. A winner of eleven Grammy Awards, Tilson Thomas appears on more than 120 recordings, received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama and served as the Music Director for the San Francisco Symphony for over 25 years. Born into a creative Jewish family, Tilson Thomas is the third generation of his family to pursue an artistic career. His grandparents, Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky, were founding members of the Yiddish Theater in America. Oscillating between performance
and the personal, Michael Tilson Thomas: Where Now Is offers an intimate look at an exceptional artist who continues to blaze his own trail.
BROKEN BARRIERS (KHAVAH) with “live” score by Sascha Jacobsen
Director Charles Davenport, USA, 1919
Saturday, July 18, 6pm • Online Screening - Centerpiece Film
West Coast Premiere
Long vanished from the motion picture screen, this silent film from 1919 is one of the most exciting finds The National Center for Jewish Film (NCJF) has ever come across. Originally released as Khavah and later renamed Broken Barriers, this newly restored film is the first American screen adaptation of the work of legendary Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem (Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof). This remarkable film focuses not on Tevye the milkman, but on his daughter Khavah, who falls in love with the gentile boy Fedka, sending reverberations through her family and community. JFI will present the film with a special one-time-only online screening of the film, complemented by commissioned score by renowned musician Sascha Jacobsen, which will be broadcast “live” alongside the film. Co-presented with SF Silent Film Festival.
THOSE WHO REMAINED
Director Barnabás Tóth, Hungary, 2019
Sunday, July 19, 11:30am • Online Screening with Q&A
Having survived the camps, 42-year old Aldo lives a solitary life as a doctor in Budapest. 16-year old Klara lives reluctantly with her great-aunt, holding on to hope that her father and mother will return. She meets Aldo, and soon the two of them find something in each other that has long been absent in their lives. As they grow closer and closer, the joy in both of their lives slowly returns. But as the Soviet Empire rises to power in Hungary, their pure and loving father-daughter relationship is misunderstood and frowned upon. A lyrical story of the healing power of love in the midst of conflict, loss and trauma, Those Who Remained reveals the healing process of Holocaust survivors through the eyes of a young girl in post-World War II Hungary. This beautiful, poetic, and nuanced film had its US premiere at the Telluride Film Festival and was shortlisted for Best International Feature for the 2020 Academy Awards.
UNRULY WOMEN: JEWISH FEMALE CHARACTERS ON TV
A conversation with Emily Nussbaum, New Yorker staff writer and Pulitzer Prize-winner
Sunday, July 19, 2pm • Live Online Event
When we look at current and near-recent TV offerings like The Plot Against America, Unorthodox, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Transparent, Girls, and Broad City, and throw in Amy Schumer, Jenny Slate, Tiffany Haddish, and Sarah Silverman comedy specials, is it fair to say there's a "boom" of female Jewish characters afoot? To what extent does this phenomenon have to do with the changing face of creators behind the camera? What do these images say about American perceptions of Jewish women and how do they relate to their predecessors -- from Molly Picon and Mrs. Goldberg to Rhoda, Gilda Radner, Joan Rivers, The Nanny, Will & Grace, Friends, Mad Men, and Glee. In what ways are stereotypes morphing and evolving and, in pondering this, what can we learn about ourselves and the culture in which we live? Join the nation’s most illustrious and insightful television critic—New Yorker writer Emily Nussbaum—for a conversation that delves into never before charted territory. Featuring a conversation between Emily Nussbaum,television critic for the New Yorker and JFI Guest Curator, Caroline Libresco, former Senior Programmer Sundance Film Festival.
LOVE & STUFF
Director Judith Helfand, USA, 2020
Sunday, July 19, 3:45pm • Online Screening with Q&A
Seven months after helping her terminally ill mother have a “good death” in home-hospice, filmmaker Judith Helfand becomes a “new old” single mother at 50. Overnight, she’s pushed to deal with her stuff: 63 boxes of her parent’s heirlooms overwhelming her office-turned-future-baby’s room, the weight her mother had begged her to lose, and the reality of being a half century older than her daughter. Told in the first person, in deep consultation with the past -- as in 25 years of family footage -- Love & Stuff explores the transformative power of parenting, our complex and very emotional attachment to stuff, and what it is we really need to leave our children.
CLOSING NIGHT AWARD CEREMONY & COCKTAIL HOUR
Sunday, July 19, 6:45pm • Live Online Event
The newly established JFI Completion Grants Program provides finishing funds to emerging and established filmmakers for original stories that promote thoughtful consideration of Jewish history, life, culture, and identity. In this online broadcast, the Jewish Film Institute will announce the recipients of the program’s inaugural round of funding, as well as the winners of the Short Documentary Award and Film Movement Award. JFI will present grants and awards to the recipients with clips from their works. The recipient of SFJFF's Best Short Documentary Award is eligible for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Academy Awards®. The SFJFF Film
Movement Award, co-presented with the distributor Film Movement, receives the option of a non-exclusive, DVD and streaming distribution deal with Film Movement.
To request screeners, please email Larsen Associates at
About the Jewish Film Institute
The Jewish Film Institute (JFI) is the premier curatorial voice for Jewish film and media and a leading arts and culture organization in the Bay Area. JFI catalyzes and inspires communities in San Francisco and around the world to expand their understanding of Jewish life and culture through film, media, and dialogue. JFI each year produces their signature summer Festival, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, in four Bay Area counties, the largest Jewish cultural event in Northern California and the first and largest festival of its kind worldwide. The annual festival provides a suite of awards, some with cash prizes, including: the Freedom of Expression Award (recent recipients include Norman Lear, Lee Grant, Kirk Douglas and documentary filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Liz Garbus); Audience Award for Best Narrative and Best Documentary; the Film Movement Award for Best Narrative Short; a juried award for Best Documentary Short (the winner is eligible for the Oscars); and the SF Film Critics Award for best international fiction feature.
Additionally, JFI provides a number of Filmmaker Services to help provide support for emerging and established filmmakers working with Jewish themes and create a continuum of support for filmmakers at various stages in their careers. This support is provided through JFI’s Filmmaker Residency Program which since 2012 as provided office space and support for independent producers, and the Jerusalem Film Workshop a program in which JFI sends two emerging documentary student filmmakers to a 6-week documentary film workshop in Jerusalem to make films that will screen at the Jerusalem International Film Festival.
Finally, JFI provides a number of online programs including: the JFI Film Archive, the largest database of Jewish cinema online today, with almost 40 years of curatorial history and more than 1,800 films to investigate, this archive is the largest online resource for Jewish film and media in the World; through JFI On Demand, more than 350 films of its greatest hits can be accessed anytime, anywhere; and the Monthly Online Shorts, in which every month JFI releases films for free to a global audience of 2.3 million since 2009.
Website: www.jfi.org / www.sfjff.org