Sergei Loznitsa will receive JFI’s 2022 Freedom of Expression Award at the screening of his new documentary Babi Yar. Context followed by a pre-recorded conversation. The Freedom of Expression Award—presented annually at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival since 2005—honors the unfettered imagination, which is the cornerstone of a just, free and open society. Past recipients include Norman Lear, Kirk Douglas, Lee Grant and more.
Over the past 20 years, Ukrainian-born Sergei Loznitsa has produced a powerful body of award-winning documentary and narrative films that explore how “when memory turns into oblivion, when the past overshadows the future, it is the voice of cinema that articulates the truth.” Throughout many of his documentary films, including Blockade and Austerlitz, Loznitsa’s minimalist approach to the treatment of archival footage enables history to speak for itself. He meticulously curates photographs, home movies, and texts, making clear connections to timely political issues. He effectively juxtaposes depictions of violent mass atrocities alongside propagandist parades, forcing audiences to wrestle with difficult questions rather than apply the quick judgment of present hindsight.
Loznitsa has greatly contributed to the freedom of artistic expression on and off the screen. His integrity, firm support for fellow artists regardless of nationality, and willingness to grapple with difficult, complex truths provides hope during tumultuous times.
Sponsored by Sandee Blechman and Steven Goldberg
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