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San Francisco Jewish Film Festival opens July 20, offering movies, parties, more

SFJFF opens its East Bay run at the Albany Twin with the Bay Area premiere of The Young Karl Marx, the new film from acclaimed director Raoul Peck (I Am Not Your Negro). Photo: SFJFF

The 37th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, presented by the Jewish Film Institute, is returning to the Bay Area this summer for another stellar collection of films, parties, events and special performances, from July 20 to Aug. 6.

This year’s festival presents 65 films from 14 countries with over 40 guest filmmakers in attendance.

Thematic highlights of this year’s program inspire audiences to champion freedom of expression and explore diverse Jewish identities.

Don’t miss selections from In Focus: Women’s Directorial Debuts; 50 Years: The Six Day War; and Exodus: A Sidebar on the Refugee Experience which showcases contemporary and archival films that address today’s refugee and immigration crisis.


Keep the Change, which opens the SFJFF on July 20, portrays two adults on the autistic spectrum as they navigate the uncertainties of a burgeoning relationship. Photo: SFJFF

SFJFF kicks off on July 20 at the Castro Theatre with Keep the Change, winner of Best Narrative Feature and Best New Narrative Director at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Under the guise of a New York romantic comedy, Keep the Change does something quite radical. In a refreshingly honest way, it portrays two adults on the autistic spectrum as they navigate the uncertainties of a burgeoning relationship. Writer/director Rachel Israel will be in attendance on opening night with the film’s lead actors.

The festival is also thrilled to present a special screening of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power with former Vice President Al Gore and local directors Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk in attendance. An Inconvenient Sequel is the highlight of the 2017 Take Action Day program which showcases social-justice filmmaking.

The festival’s closing night film is Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story. Photo: SFJFF

Other standouts include a jazz performance by The Marcus Shelby Quartet following the film Body and Soul: An American Bridge, which delves into the relationship between Jews and African Americans in jazz music; and the closing night film, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, about Hollywood Golden Age’s most beautiful actress and her unsung accomplishments as a scientist and inventor.

SFJFF presents a special duet performance of A Study on Effort by violinist Keir GoGwilt and dancer/choreographer Bobbi Jene Smith, a former member of the prestigious Batsheva Dance Company. Photo: SFJFF

In partnership with ODC Theater, SFJFF presents a special duet performance of A Study on Effort by violinist Keir GoGwilt and dancer/choreographer Bobbi Jene Smith, a former member of the prestigious Batsheva Dance Company and subject of SFJFF37 selection Bobbi Jene. The film screens in San Francisco on July 28 and Albany on July 29, with the performance on Aug. 2 at ODC Theater.

SFJFF is also thrilled to open its East Bay run at the Albany Twin with the Bay Area premiere of The Young Karl Marx, the new film from acclaimed director Raoul Peck (I Am Not Your Negro), a 10-year labor of love that looks at the formation of one of the most consequential relationships in history – between Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. A perfect fit for the East Bay’s progressive community, the film will be followed by an outdoor party on Solano Avenue.


Heather Booth: Changing the World screens in Albany as part of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Photo: SFJFF

Can’t make it to San Francisco for a film? Many SFJFF37 selections will also screen in Albany, including standouts such as Heather Booth: Changing the World; renowned documentarian Joe Berlinger’s latest film Intent to Destroy about the Armenian genocide; and In Between, billed as a “Palestinian Sex & the City;” and much more.

For the complete lineup of films, along with a full complement of discussion programs, international guests, awards and celebrations, visit www.sfjff.org or contact jewishfilm@sfjff.org. For box office information, contact boxoffice@sfjff.org or call 415-621-0523.