Is the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival an independent Film Festival?

The San Francisco Jewish film Festival is an independent year-round media non-profit. We put on the first and largest Jewish Film Festival in the world. SFJFF is not affiliated with any other Jewish organizations or Film Festivals, however we collaborate with many organizations and provide assistance to Jewish Film Festivals seeking our expertise.

The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival is a founding partner of the Ninth Street Independent Film Center. Located in the heart of San Francisco’s emerging arts and cultural district, SOMA/Mid-Market, our three story building is home to seven community benefit media arts organizations – the Center for Asian American Media, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Frameline, the San Francisco Green Film Festival, the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, the Filmmakers Collaborative SF, and the Video Project.

How do you select the films, and what makes a film Jewish?

A staff of professional programmers Lexi Leban, Executive Director, Jay Rosenblatt, Program Director and Joshua Moore, Program Associate curates the exhibition programs of SFJFF. They are assisted in the selection process by a group of talented pre-screeners primarily comprised of award-winning filmmakers and educators who screen approximately 500 submissions per year.

Our staff also tracks films over many years of production in order to bring the best content to our exhibition programs. We attend Film Festivals to seek out a diverse selection of the best in global cinema for Bay Area and online audiences. This year, we attended the Sundance Film Festival, The Berlinale, the Haifa Film Festival, and the Epos Art Film Festival at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. We partner with many Festival programmers, distributors and other film professionals in bringing the newest releases to you throughout the year!

At SFJFF, we believe in showing powerful, emotional, high quality work that makes people think, feel and act. We choose films based on an expansive and ever-evolving notion of Jewish film. Our films reflect diverse points of view, even uncomfortable or challenging ones. We are interested in sparking new conversations within and beyond the Jewish community.

How can I support SFJFF?

You can support the festival financially by becoming a member and enjoying such benefits discounts, passes and party tickets!

How can I get involved and sign up as a volunteer?

Literally hundreds of talented and committed people generously volunteer their time and expertise to the SFJFF. Their work spans fundraising, marketing, film selection, event planning, ushering, hospitality and more. If you’d like to join our team, please send an email to volunteers[at]sfjff.org.

Festival-Related Questions

Some screenings seem to sell out fast. What can I do to ensure I get the tickets I want?

There’s no denying that some films are very popular, and many screenings will sell out in advance. We encourage you to purchase tickets as soon as possible after they go on sale on June 25th for members and June 28th for general public.

Sellouts are sometimes unavoidable, however there is a rush line on the day of the screening for people without tickets. We have many pass holders that we need to account for. If they don’t show up, you can still get in. Rush lines form one hour before show time! Unoccupied seats are released just before show time.

How can I reach the Box Office?

By email at boxoffice@sfjff.org.

Our box office number is 415-621-0523 if you want to talk to an actual person. If you get the voicemail, they will call you back!

Why are we screening movies on Friday nights and Saturdays during Shabbat?

We recognize the diversity of the Jewish community in the Bay Area and seek to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to get together and enjoy Jewish cinema. Approximately 30% of our audiences are not Jewish and we are always looking to expand the community of SFJFF to create bridges with others.

From Friday night to Saturday at sundown, it is the Jewish Sabbath. Out of respect for the part of the Jewish community that celebrates Shabbat, the SFJFF makes every effort to schedule repeat screenings of films that screen on Friday nights and Saturdays before sundown. We also have several some “ Best of the Fest” screenings during the year, for those who missed those films at the Festival.

Is saving seats permitted?

Please exercise moderation and common courtesy as you would at any movie outing. It’s fine to save seats for a few friends and family, but not for latecomers. Empty seats will be released to a wait list at show time. We appreciate your good will and ask that you follow the instructions of our ushers.

Are there any films suitable for children and teens? And why aren’t they rated?

While much of the festival tackles more adult themes, we work hard to ensure a diverse lineup that includes family-friendly programming. This year family friendly films include our Opening Night film, The Zigzag Kid, Commie Camp, Dancing in Jaffa, Annie, The Producers, American Tail.

As for ratings, most of the films are new, international or independently released, and have not been rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). We urge parents to carefully review the film descriptions in the program guide and use their discretion in determining age appropriateness. We have also noted in the Catalog when a film includes Adult Content.

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