SFJFF39 is pleased to showcase award-winning and critically acclaimed films from around the world each year in the Bay Area. These Festival titles have already garnered national and international acclaim at premier film festivals.
Israeli human-rights lawyer Lea Tsemel is a force that won't be deterred. Having defended Palestinians against a host of criminal charges in Israeli courts for nearly five decades, she is a staunch supporter of compassion within the court system. Frequently subjected to harsh criticism in the press and in the public view, Tsemel remains optimistically steadfast in her belief that justice can be served.In this impressive documentary, Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellache masterfully juxtapose two of Tsemel's cases, one professional and the other personal: the defense of a minor accused of attempted murder and a past case in which she defended her activist husband from an accusation of treason against the state. Delicately animated sequences conceal defendants' identities as Tsemel frankly addresses their best possible chances for acquittal, while interviews with Tsemel's adult children reveal her unique ability to see the humanity of those accused. Advocate is an original, provocative film that both exposes the human fallout of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and provides hope for a peaceful resolution.Read More
Maria Linde, a free-spirited, Jewish Polish Nobel Prize winner, lives in Tuscany surrounded by warmth and chaos in her family's villa. A loving mother and grandmother, she also fosters a secret flirtation with the much younger Egyptian man who runs a nearby seaside inn. After a terrorist attack in Rome, Maria refuses to succumb to the hysterical fear and anti-immigrant sentiment that quickly emerge, deciding in her acceptance speech of a local honor to boldly decry Europe's eroding democracy-but she is unprepared for the public and personal havoc her comments wreak.Read More
14 year old Jewish Mina, is trying to navigate between a surreal routine dictated by the civil war in Ethiopia and her last days of youth with her Christian boyfriend Eli. When she discovers that her family is planning to immigrate to Israel and escape the war, she weaves an alternate plan in order to save Eli. But in times of war, plans tend to go wrong. Marsha's coming of age film debut film is based on her childhood memories of a civil-war-torn Ethiopia.Read More
Salam, an inexperienced young Palestinian man, becomes a writer on a popular soap opera after a chance meeting with an Israeli soldier. His creative career is on the rise - until the soldier and the show's financial backers disagree about how the show should end, and Salam is caught in the middle.Read More
In 2014, a Chinese billionaire opened a Fuyao factory in a shuttered General Motors plant in Dayton, Ohio. For thousands of locals, the arrival of this multinational car-glass manufacturer meant regaining their jobs - and dignity - after the recession left them high and dry. American Factory takes us inside the facility to observe what happens when workers from profoundly different cultures collide.Read More
$250 Members / $275 General Public
You asked, we listened. The new for 2018 East Bay Pass gives you priority access to all SFJFF39 programs (including East Bay Big Nights), at its East Bay venues, in Albany and Oakland (some exceptions may apply).