July 23‐August 9, 2015
San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto and San Rafael
The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF) has announced a renaming of their year round organization to the Jewish Film Institute to better reflect the cultural initiatives and services they provide, including the world-renowned annual Festival – the first and largest festival of its kind. The repositioning of the institution coincides with the 35th anniversary of the SFJFF, which has evolved from an annual international film festival to a full-service media arts organization that serves audiences worldwide. The SFJFF will retain its name as an annual festival and continue to be the signature program of the Jewish Film Institute.
The 35th edition of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival returns to the Bay Area July 23–August 9, 2015 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, the CinéArts Theatre in Palo Alto, the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, The California Theatre in Berkeley, and the Lakeside Theater in Oakland . The Festival will offer over 120 screenings to an expected audience of over 35,000.
The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF) continues to present year after year the very best in independent Jewish cinema—offering a full complement of films, festivities, special discussion programs and international guests that highlight 5775 years of culture. For ticket information, please contact the box office at 415.621.0523 or visit the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival online at www.sfjff.org.
Freedom of Expression Award: Lee Grant
In 2005, the Festival launched the Freedom of Expression Award to honor the unfettered imagination, which is a cornerstone of a free, just and open society. For its 35th edition, the Festival will present actress, filmmaker and author Lee Grant with the award. In conjunction, TELL ME A RIDDLE, starring Melvyn Douglas and Lila Kedrova (based on local writer Tillie Olsen’s award winning story of rediscovered love) will screen. It was directed by Grant and screened at the inaugural Festival in 1981. Grant will be present for an on stage interview and on hand for a book signing of her new memoir afterwards. Sunday, August 2 at 2:35PM at Castro Theater.
Opening Night: DOUGH
The 35th edition of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival will kick off with director John Goldschmidt’s DOUGH, a British dramedy about an elderly Jewish baker (Jonathan Pryce) struggling to keep his business afloat until his young Muslim apprentice (Jerome Holder) accidentally drops cannabis in the dough. Director John Goldschmidt and actor Jerome Holder will be in attendance. Screens Thursday, July 23 at 6:15PM at Castro Theater in San Francisco; Sunday, July 26 at 3:55PM at CineArts in Palo Alto; Wednesday, August 5 at 6:30PM at California Theater in Berkeley; Sunday, August 9 at 6:20PM at Smith Rafael Theater in San Rafael
Following the film’s screening at the Castro Theater, join the festival at the Opening Night Party at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco starting at 9:00PM.
Closing Night: EAST JERUSALEM, WEST JERUSALEM
In Erez Miller’s EAST JERUSALEM, WEST JERUSALEM, Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza sets out to realize his dream of cooperation and dialog between Israelis and Palestinians through music. Director Erez Miller will be in attendance. A closing night reception will follow. Screens Sunday, August 2 at 7:45PM at Castro Theater in San Francisco; Saturday, August 8 at 2:30PM at Smith Rafael in San Rafael; Sunday, August 9 at 8:30PM at Lakeside Theater in Oakland.
Centerpiece Narrative: MY SHORTEST LOVE AFFAIR
Written and directed by Karin Albou, MY SHORTEST LOVE AFFAIR follows Louisa (Karin Albou) and Charles (Patrick Mimoun), former lovers who, now middle-aged, have crossed paths at an arts festival in Paris. After a night together Louisa winds up pregnant. Together the two try to make their relationship work again. Director/actor Karin Albou and actor Patrick Mimoun will be in attendance for the festival. Screens Wednesday, July 29 at 6:30PM at Castro Theater; Thursday, July 30 at 6:15PM at CinéArts in Palo Alto; Monday, August 3 at 6:15PM at California Theater in Berkeley; Saturday, August 8 at 8:30PM at Smith Rafael in San Rafael.
Centerpiece Documentary: THE ARMOR OF LIGHT
Following its world premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, THE ARMOR OF LIGHT will screen as the festival’s Centerpiece Documentary. Directed by Abigail Disney, the film follows the journey of Reverend Rob Schenck, a Jewish born evangelical minister who finds the courage to preach about the toll of gun violence in America. Director Abigail Disney and subject Lucy McBath will be in attendance for the festival. Screens Tuesday, July 28 at 6:30PM at Castro Theater in San Francisco; Wednesday, July 29 at 6:20PM at CinéArts in Palo Alto; Tuesday, August 4 at 6:30PM at California Theater in Berkeley; Friday, August 7 at 4:20PM at Smith Rafael in San Rafael.
Berkeley Big Night: VERY SEMI-SERIOUS
In keeping with tradition, the festival will showcase a Berkeley Big Night film to highlight the programming in Berkeley. The film screening will be following by a party at the David Brower Center featuring delicious bites and spirits. Winner of the San Francisco International Film Festival Golden Gate Award for Best Bay Area Documentary, VERY SEMI-SERIOUS (former Bay Area filmmaker Leah Wolchock) is an offbeat meditation on humor, art and the genius of the single panel. The film takes an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at The New Yorker and introduces the cartooning legends and hopefuls who create the iconic cartoons that have inspired, baffled—and occasionally pissed off—all of us for decades. Cartoonist Bruce Eric Kaplan will be in attendance for the screening. A reception will follow at The David Brower Center in Berkeley where Bruce Eric Kaplan will be signing copies of his new book, I WAS A CHILD. Screens Saturday, August 1 at 6:30PM at California Theater in Berkeley.
Palo Alto Opening Night: RAISE THE ROOF
To kick off the Peninsula screenings, the festival will open in Palo Alto with Yari and Cary Wolinsky’s RAISE THE ROOF, a look at professor Rick Brown who works with his wife Laura to rebuild a series of now vanished synagogues as they track the labor and love that illuminate these glorious pieces of history. Directors Yari and Cary Wolinski will be in attendance for the screening with subjects Rick and Laura Brown. Screens Saturday, July 25 at 6PM at CinéArts in Palo Alto; Sunday, July 26 at 2PM at Castro Theater; Thursday, August 6 at 4:30PM at California Theater in Berkeley; Saturday, August 8 at 12:30PM at Smith Rafael in San Rafael.
Oakland Opening Night: PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT
PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT offers a rare look into Guggenheim’s world: blending the abstract, the colorful, the surreal and the salacious, to portray a life that was as complex and unpredictable as the artwork Peggy revered and the artists she pushed forward. The film will screen for Bay Area audiences following its World Premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and will be introduced by SFMOMA Curator Janet Bishop. Following the screening in Oakland, the festival will host a reception in the foyer of the Lakeside Theater and toast the final weekend of SFJFF35. Screens Sunday, July 26 at 4:30PM at Castro Theater; Friday, August 7 at 8:15PM.
Take Action Day: “Social Justice Films”:
On Friday, July 31 at the Castro Theater, the SF Jewish Film Festival will present a day of social justice films: Take Action: Repairing the World One Film at a Time. The five-film lineup embodies the Jewish value of tikkun olam – which suggests humanity’s shared responsibility to heal, repair and transform the world. This event will screen films in collaboration with local organizations to inspire action on the issues presented in the films: Judith Helfand’s BLUE VINYL (2002); Aviva Kempner’s ROSENWALD; Berkeley based filmmaker Rick Goldsmith’s MIND/GAMES: THE UNQUIET JOURNEY OF CHAMIQUE HOLDSCLAW; Melissa Donovan’s ZEMENE and Dara Bratt’s THE SINGING ABORTIONIST. Additionally, there will be a panel featuring the day’s filmmakers moderated by Academy Award-winning filmmaker and President/ Senior Producer of Groundspark, Debra Chasnoff. The festival will be selling an optional separate pass for the Take Action day. Screening schedule: THE SINGING ABORTIONIST at 11AM, ZEMENE at 12:30PM, BLUE VINYL Revivial Screening at 2:30PM, Panel Discussion: Taking a Stand at 5PM, ROSENWALD at 6:30PM, MIND/GAME at 9:10PM.
Local Spotlight: PLASTIC MAN: THE ARTFUL LIFE OF JERRY ROSS BARRISH
Directed by William Farley and produced by former SFJFF Director, Janis Plotkin, PLASTIC MAN: THE ARTFUL LIFE OF JERRY ROSS BARRISH, follows San Francisco’s best known bail bondsman through his journey of breaking the hardworking Jewish family mold he grew up in, to diving head first into the world of art. Producer Janis Plotkin, director William Farley and subject Jerry Ross Barrish will be in attendance. Following the screening at the Castro Theater, the festival will host a reception on the Mezzanine. Additionally, Jerry Ross Barrish’s work can be viewed during the festival’s run at the STUDIO Gallery in San Francisco. Screens Saturday, July 25 at 4:30PM at Castro Theater in San Francisco; Tuesday, July 28 at 6:15PM at CineArts in Palo Alto; Sunday, August 2 at 4:10PM at California Theater in Berkeley.
Additional Local Angles:
SFJFF is proud to present exciting new documentaries by local filmmakers working with Jewish themes. ED & PAULINE is a film about cinephiles in love…or not. Christian Bruno’s film tells how film critic Pauline Kael and Ed Landberg transformed a small storefront theater in Berkeley into a church for movie lovers. LOVE & TAXES stars Bay Area icon Josh Kornbluth in a semi-autobiographical comedy about his struggles to make ends meet as he begins a relationship during the “Haiku Tunnel” time in his life. The film is directed by his brother Jacob Kornbluth. Josh and Jake Kornbluth and Robert Reich (who appears in a cameo) will be in attendance.
Next Wave Spotlight: AS I AM: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF DJ AM
Gone are the days when the younger generation is seen and not heard. Today’s emerging filmmakers are outspoken and not afraid to let the world hear what they have to say. Kevin Kerslake looks at Adam Goldstein, better known as DJ AM, a man with deep passions and aggressive demons. An official selection of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, AS I AM: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF DJ AM is an insider’s look into the life of the late, great mash-up pioneer. His incredibly complex personal life was lived under the specter of drug addiction. Director Kevin Kerslake and subject Mix Master Mike will be in attendance. Following the first screening, the festival will host an after-hours celebration of DJ AM’s musical legacy at Public Works in San Francisco. Mix Master Mike will be spinning from 10:30PM on. Screens Thursday, July 30 at 6:25PM at Castro Theater in San Francisco; Friday, July 31 at 8:55PM at California Theater in Berkeley.
Additional Next Wave Films:
With cameos by Jim Jarmusch and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, HOT SUGAR’S COLD WORLD is a fly-on-the-wall look into the life of Nick Koenig (Hot Sugar) as he creates one-of-a-kind music made entirely out of sounds from the world around him. An aging crooner played by Christopher Walken and his daughter played by Amber Heard star in WHEN I LIVE MY LIFE OVER AGAIN. A look at the life of Danny Fields, the little known Jewish godfather of punk rock is explored in DANNY SAYS.
Films about Art:
PLASTIC MAN: THE ARTFUL LIFE OF JERRY ROSS BARRISH follows San Francisco’s best known bail bondsman through his journey of breaking the hardworking Jewish family mold he grew up in, to diving head first into the world of art.
Produced by SFJFF Founder Janis Plotkin and directed by William Farley.
PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT offers a rare look into Guggenheim’s world: blending the abstract, the colorful, the surreal and the salacious, to portray a life that was as complex and unpredictable as the artwork Peggy revered and the artists she pushed forward. The film will screen for Bay Area audiences following its World Premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.
THE ART DEALER is from renowned French director François Margolin (The Flight of the Red Balloon) and follows a Jewish woman who embarks on a journey to recover family paintings stolen by the Nazis. During her investigation, she discovers some family secrets are best kept hidden.
In honor of the 70th Anniversary of the end of WWII, SFJFF Will Present the Following Films:
Ordered in April 1945 by the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, GERMAN CONCENTRATION CAMPS FACTUAL SURVEY is an official documentary about German atrocities and the concentration camps compiled with footage shot by combat and newsreel cameramen accompanying troops as they liberated occupied Europe. It was to be the film screened in Germany after the fall of the Third Reich – shown to German prisoners of war wherever they were held but it was never shown. Alfred Hitchcock consulted on the editing of the film.
A highly stunning, visual and emotional devastating film IN SILENCE celebrates the musicians whose lives were lost in the Holocaust. The film premiered at the 2014 Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
Hundreds of survivors from the German concentration camps arrive to the harbour of Malmö, Sweden. While they take their first steps in freedom Swedish news photographers film them. EVERY FACE HAS A NAME follows these survivors 70 years later as they watch this archive footage for the very first time and as they discover themselves, they re-experience the emotions from this special day.
An official selection of the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, A NAZI LEGACY: WHAT OUR FATHER’S DID is the story of two sons of high-ranking Nazi officials who must come to terms with their fathers’ pasts, with different results in each son.
CLAUDE LANZMANN: SPECTRE OF THE SHOAH is a documentary portrait of the French iconoclast, Claude Lanzmann, and the making of his masterpiece Shoah.
Immigration in Israel:
In MANPOWER, immigration police officer Meir, returns from a tour to Buchenwald concentration camp, a prize for decorated policemen, to a brutal deportation of African labor immigrants. An official selection of Hot Docs 2015, MUSSA follows a 12 year old boy who has refused to speak since his parents came to Israel from Ethiopia. In Bazi Gete’s RED LEAVES, an Ethiopian immigrant sets out on a journey through his children’s homes after losing his wife.
On Manhattan’s gilded Upper East Side, a young painter, Charlie, finds the man of his dreams in an older pianist from across the globe. If only Charlie weren’t secretly in love with his own manipulative best friend, Sebastian, who is embroiled in a financial scandal. In the wake of Sebastian’s notoriety, their tight-knit group of friends must confront the new realities of adulthood in THOSE PEOPLE.
In PROBATION TIME the fragile bonds that make up a family are severely tested when our hero is faced with an intense break up and a sister who is fighting “demons”.
Since 1966, Danny Fields has played a pivotal role in music and “culture” of the late 20th century: working for the Doors, Cream, Lou Reed, Nico, Judy Collins and managing groundbreaking artists like the Stooges, the MC5 and the Ramones. An official selection of SXSW 2015, DANNY SAYS follows Fields from Phi Beta Kappa whiz-kid, to Harvard Law School dropout, to the Warhol Silver Factory, to Director of Publicity at Elektra Records, to “punk pioneer” and beyond.
Other highlights include:
An official selection of 2014 Cannes Film Festival, THE GO-GO BOYS: THE INSIDE STORY OF CANNON FILMS (dir. Hila Madalia) about Menahem Golen and Yoram Globus, who in pursuit of the American Dream turned the Hollywood structure upside down. THE MUSES OF ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER (dir. Asaf Galay) is about the famous Yiddish writer and Nobel Prize winner who wrote with a ‘harem’ of dozens of translators behind him.
<h2>About the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival</h2>
The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF) is the world’s first and largest Jewish film festival, world-renowned for the diversity and breadth of its audiences and films, and annually attracting more than 35,000 filmgoers. SFJFF is the signature program of the Jewish Film Institute, a year-round media arts organization that serves as the premier curatorial voice for Jewish film and media. Through its film exhibition programs, educational initiatives, online activities and filmmaker support, JFI seeks to catalyze and inspire communities in San Francisco and around the world to expand their understanding of Jewish life and culture through film, media, and dialogue.
Ticket Information, Festival Dates and Public Contact Numbers
The 35th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival will take place July 23 – August 9th, 2015. For more information, visit the SFJFF website at www.sfjff.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The complete lineup of films will be announced on June 23, 2015 along with a full complement of discussion programs, international guests, awards, and celebrations. Early Bird passes go on sale on May 26.Tickets and passes go on sale for members on June 23–25 and for the general public on June 26, 2015.
35&Under pass: Get the best deal in town with a specially priced pass for people 35 and Under, good for all shows at all theatres, including SF Opening Night (but excluding SF Closing Night and Berkeley Big Night) and invitations to meet other film aficionados and emerging filmmakers. This pass is included with the purchase of a Jewish Film Institute membership at the special “Supporter, 35 and Under” level.
All-Festival passes, discount cards, and special prices for students and seniors are available. For ticket information, please contact the Box Office at 415.621.0523 or visit the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival at www.sfjff.org.
WORLD-RENOWNED SAN FRANCISCO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL HONORS 35 YEARS OF LEADERSHIP WITH NEW NAME
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival Renaming Organization as Jewish Film Institute to Celebrate Global Influence in Film Industry
SAN FRANCISCO (June 23, 2015) – The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF) has announced a renaming of their year round organization to the Jewish Film Institute to better reflect the cultural initiatives and services they provide, including the world-renowned SFJFF – the first and largest festival of its kind. The repositioning of the institution coincides with the 35th anniversary of the SFJFF, which has evolved from an annual international film festival to a full-service media arts organization that serves audiences worldwide. The SFJFF will retain its name as an annual festival and continue to be the signature program of the Jewish Film Institute.
The SFJFF has played a pivotal leadership role in the world of independent Jewish film, offering bold and innovative programming, open dialogue, and discussion as well as support to international filmmakers and Jewish-centric programs since 1980. In 2000, the SFJFF hosted the first-ever National Conference of Jewish Film Festivals (organized by the National Foundation for Jewish Culture) with 31 participating Jewish film festivals. Since the birth of the SFJFF, more than 150 subsequent Jewish film and culture festivals have been created worldwide. The Festival – named one of the 50 most innovative Jewish organizations in the U.S. by the Slingshot Fund and among the top 50 film festivals worldwide by IndieWire – will continue to be the principal program of the Jewish Film Institute and is well positioned to expand its impact at the intersection of film media and Jewish culture for the next 35 years.
The establishment of the Jewish Film Institute captures the breadth and impact the organization has had since its inception, and also marks the influence it will continue to evoke for years to come, providing a platform for artistic expression and community engagement among local and international audiences. The programs of the Jewish Film Institute include the New Jewish Filmmaking project, which has mentored over 300 young filmmakers since its inception in 2002; sneak previews of new releases throughout the year; screenings in senior communities throughout the Bay Area; a filmmaker residency for filmmakers working with Jewish themes, housed in its home at the 9th Street Independent Film Center in San Francisco; and a robust online shorts program hosted on its YouTube channel.
Since debuting the world’s first online Jewish film archive in 2001, the organization’s online archive currently hosts over 1400 films and has become a valuable resource to national libraries and to a global audience of more than 1.7 million people. In honor of its 35th anniversary, the Jewish Film Institute will add an additional feature to its online service by offering viewers even greater access to the JFI Film Archive – a new Video on Demand (VOD) platform available via Vimeo. “The world of film and media has changed exponentially since 1980 when we invented the idea of the Jewish Film Festival,” explains Lexi Leban, Executive Director of the Jewish Film Institute. “In celebration of our 35th Anniversary, we are reinventing ourselves to meet the needs of a new generation of film lovers.”
From its earliest years, the organization has discovered and nurtured notable cinematic talents including Amos Gitai, Dani Levy, Roberta Grossman, Amy York Rubin, Lacey Schwartz, Ry Russo-Young, Liz Garbus, Tiffany Shlain, Michal Aviad, Jill Soloway, Hilla Medalia, Karin Albou, and Peter Forgacs. Independent filmmakers often screen their short films live or online and later return to the Festival with feature length movies, including Emmy award-winning director Jill Soloway’s Afternoon Delight. The SFJFF has been an important theatrical launching pad for many acclaimed features and documentary films, including God is Great and I’m Not, Promises, Strange Fruit, Trembling Before G-d, Hiding and Seeking, The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, The Other Son, Little White Lie, and Arab Labor.
As the premier curatorial voice for Jewish film and media, the Jewish Film Institute offers film exhibition programs, educational initiatives, live programming, online activities and filmmaker support that speak to the needs of the broadening community. The Institute seeks to introduce audiences to groundbreaking stories and thought-provoking content that will enlighten and inspire viewers to expand their understanding of Jewish culture through film, media, and dialogue.
About the Jewish Film Institute
The Jewish Film Institute is the premier curatorial voice for Jewish film and media and a leading arts and culture organization in the Bay Area. Built on the foundation of the world-renowned San Francisco Jewish Film Festival – the world’s first and largest Jewish film festival – the Jewish Film Institute 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. Year round, the Jewish Film Institute promotes awareness and appreciation of the diversity of the Jewish people through multiple mediums – including original online programming that reaches a global audience of over 1.7 million people. All of these services, along with artists’ support and educational initiatives, give viewers around the world even greater access to Jewish culture and the visionaries who shape it.