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VIRTUAL SCREENING WINDOW: June 24, 1:00 pm through June 26, 1:00 pm (48 hours) https://mcusercontent.com/1d64cbcae222199003c4b87f8/images/e90f241a-f59d-4162-bf60-2cb2ddbe4d9f.jpg

About The Film

What makes this quintessentially Jewish show speak to everyone? The creators and past cast members of Fiddler on the Roof trace the creation and enduring legacy of the beloved Broadway musical and global theatrical phenomenon, and marvel how audiences worldwide relate to the residents of Anatevka, claiming the story as their own. When it first opened on Broadway in 1964, Fiddler on the Roof seemed poised to be a massive flop. Instead, it became one of the most popular shows in the American theater canon, holding the record as the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years.

Touching audiences with humor and heart, the show's universal tale of tradition cuts across barriers of race, class, nationality and religion. Bringing Fiddler to life through rare archival materials, performance footage, and clips from the Oscar-winning 1971 film adaptation, filmmaker Max Lewkowicz chronicles the show's backstory, from its early New York roots to the enduring themes that inspire theatergoers across the generations. The film features lively commentary from luminaries Stephen Sondheim, Itzhak Perlman, Chaim Topol, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, paired with scenes from international productions in Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, as well as the most recent Broadway revival with Danny Burstein and Jessica Hecht. This fascinating, star-studded love letter to Fiddler on the Roof reveals how this 1960s masterpiece based on Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem's 1894 Tevye series, continues to resonate with audiences worldwide.

J-Stream Conversation (via Zoom)

VIRTUAL DISCUSSION with SJCC Arts+Ideas and Festival Director Pamela Lavitt on Friday, June 26 at 1 pm 


Director Bio

Max Lewkowicz has written, directed, and produced hundreds of productions for network and public television, museums, and multinational organizations in a career spanning over twenty-five years. His writing and directorial expertise has won critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Silver Screen Award at the US International Film and Video Festival, grand prize at the Chicago International Film Festival, and the 2003 Award of Excellence from the National Association of Museum Exhibitions. His film MORGENTHAU shown on public television, recently won an Emmy in 2015.

fiddler poster

Film Details:

Director: Max Lewkowicz
Country: USA
Language: English
Running Time: 97m
Year: 2019
Genre: Documentary
Official Website

Subjects:

  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • Family-Friendly
  • Music
  • Theater
  • Broadway Musical

Rating/Warning: PG

 Sponsors:

VIRTUAL STREAMING WINDOW: June 17, 7:00 pm through June 19, 7:00pm (48 hours) https://mcusercontent.com/1d64cbcae222199003c4b87f8/images/e90f241a-f59d-4162-bf60-2cb2ddbe4d9f.jpg

About the Film

Deniz Bensusan is a young Sephardic woman who has just come to the realization that her ancestral language, Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), is on the verge of extinction. Alarmed by the imminent demise of her heritage, she embarks on a journey of discovery in an attempt to uncover the roots of her Sephardic culture, language, and traditions. She voyages across Europe and visits sites where her relatives once lived and thrived.


Special Guests (via Zoom)

VIRTUAL DISCUSSION: Sunday, June 21 at 1:00 pm

 kitapci headshot Cem Kitaci is the film producer and a partner in Case Productions. THE FINAL HOUR is his feature debut.
 Devin-Naar-v2 Dr. Devin E. Naar is the Isaac Alhadeff Professor in Sephardic Studies, Assistant Professor of History, and faculty at the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. Dr. Naar's first book Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece was published in 2017. He serves as an advisor to the Seattle Jewish Film Festival.
Additional Zoom Participants: Director Ҫağlar Malli (Istanbul) and Kem Kemahli (London).

Director Bio:

Çağlar Mallı was exposed to the arts starting from an early age, due mainly to the influence of his family. In 2000, he started his BA degree in Political Science at Istanbul Bilgi University, where he got a chance to continue his education in the field of social sciences while also finding the opportunity to indulge his lifelong passion, cinema. Until graduating from university in 2005, Caglar worked on the production and filming of numerous short film projects in various capacities. THE FINAL HOUR is his second feature-length project.

the final hour poster

Film Details:

Director: Ҫağlar Malli
Country: UK
Language: English, Spanish, Turkish, Portuguese w/English subtitles
Running Time: 88m
Year: 2019
Genre: Documentary

Subjects:

  • Family History
  • Genealogy
  • Ladino Language
  • Judeo-Spanish
  • Sephardic/Sephardim/Sephardic Studies
  • Thessalonica
  • Spanish Inquisition

Rating/Warning: PG

 Sponsors:

VIRTUAL STREAMING WINDOW: June 17, 7:00 pm through June 19, 7:00 pm (48 hours)https://mcusercontent.com/1d64cbcae222199003c4b87f8/images/e90f241a-f59d-4162-bf60-2cb2ddbe4d9f.jpg

About The Film

Her legacy is volatile: to some, former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir is a feminist icon, an iron-willed leader called "The Iron Lady" long before England's Margaret Thatcher. To others, she is a disgrace, a traitor. Shining new light on her remarkable years in power as the first (and only) female prime minister of Israel, a previously unaired TV documentary reveals candid, insightful "hot mic" moments when Meir thought the cameras had stopped rolling.


Dirctors Bio

Sagi Bornstein has fifteen years of experience as a director, producer, and editor of documentaries, reality, and news. His work includes #UPLOADING_HOLOCAUST (2016) and KAFKA'S LAST STORY (2011) earning awards in several European and American film festivals. He studied photography at Camera Obscura Film School and worked for leading Israeli broadcasters before starting his own production company.

Udi Nir is a writer, director, and producer. His first feature documentary was #UPLOADING_HOLOCAUST (2016). He studied playwriting in Tel-Aviv, created and directed theater shows, and worked as a producer at Clipa Theater in Tel-Aviv. Before turning to a career in the arts and cinema, Nir worked for Amnesty International and other human rights NGOs.

Shani Rozanes is an Israeli journalist, writer, and filmmaker living in Berlin. A former news editor in leading Israeli media outlets, she currently works at Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster. GOLDA is her directorial debut.

golda poster

Film Details:

Director: Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir, Shani Rozanes
Country: Israel, Germany
Language: Hebrew w/English subtitles
Running Time: Length
Year: 2019
Genre: Documentary

Subjects:

  • Golda Meir
  • Israeli History
  • International Politics
  • Aliyah
  • Jewish History
  • Politics
  • Women in Politics

Rating/Warning: PG





 
Sponsors:

VIRTUAL STREAMING WINDOW! June 19, 12:00 pm through June 21, 12:00pm (48 hours) https://mcusercontent.com/1d64cbcae222199003c4b87f8/images/e90f241a-f59d-4162-bf60-2cb2ddbe4d9f.jpg

About The Film

Ultra-Orthodox Yaakov Smith was married with six children, director of the Chabad center in Jerusalem, and a pillar of the community before divorcing, abandoning religious observance, and leaving Israel to become Jessica (Yiscah in Hebrew). In the US, Smith underwent a gender transition and moved to Seattle, where no one knew her, and decided to return to traditional Judaism. "It was ... more of a spiritual transition than a gender transition," she told Jewish in Seattle magazine. After living in Seattle—where she was active in Congregations Shaarei Tefilah-Lubavitch and Beth Shalom, and taught at Seattle Jewish Community School—Yiscah decided to return to Israel to be close to her family and heritage, and to become a religious educator, spiritual mentor, author, and lecturer on authentic living and spirituality. The film chronicles her reconciliation from loneliness to self-acceptance and compassion. Her inspiring journey has earned her the moniker, "grandmother of the Israeli transgender community."

About The Gay Gezunt! LGBTQ Spotlight

In Yiddish "gay gezunt" means "Go in good health." Often said in parting, it is also means, "Go do your own thing." SJFF spotlights the health and wealth of Jewish and Israeli LGBTQ offerings, and invites path-breaking filmmakers, film subjects, and local luminaries.


Special Guest (via Zoom)

VIRTUAL DISCUSSION: Sun, June 21 at 12:00 pm

smith headshot webv2  Yiscah Smith is a Jewish educator, spiritual activist and published author who addresses the spiritual practice of encountering the Divine spark within, the foundation of authentic living.  She employs her personal story of ​the joys and struggles with her spirituality, Jewish tradition and commitment to authentic living. She will Zoom in from her home in Jerusalem. Full bio and website

Director Bios

Rachel Rusinek is an Israeli director, cinematographer, and screenwriter (THE ESCAPE ARTIST, 2004).
Eyal Ben Moshe is an Israeli director, screenwriter, comic book artist, animator, designer, and cinematographer.

i was not born a mistake poster

Film Details:

Original Title: Iska Im Elohim
Director
: Rachel Rusinek, Eyal Ben Moshe
Country: Israel
Language: English, Hebrew w/English subtitles
Running Time: 52m
Year: 2019
Genre: Documentary

Subjects:

  • LGBTQ
  • Personal Stories
  • Religion
  • Transgender
  • Chabad Hasidim
  • Family Relationships
  • Coming Out
  • Spirituality

 Sponsors:

VIRTUAL STREAMING WINDOW! June 29, 7:00 pm through July 1, 7:00 pm (48 hours) https://mcusercontent.com/1d64cbcae222199003c4b87f8/images/e90f241a-f59d-4162-bf60-2cb2ddbe4d9f.jpg

About The Film

Get a behind-the-camera look at the less-known aspects of the very public lives of four Israeli YouTubers: Moti Taka, one of the busiest singers in Israel today, who visits Ethiopia for the first time with his mother, Dalia; Suzi Boum, a.k.a Lior Israelov, a successful, well-known drag queen, who was born and raised in a religious family in southern Tel Aviv; Chen Halfon, a 25-year old religious mother of three, who is one of the few Orthodox YouTubers in Israel; and Hannah Ziad, an Arab-Israeli style influencer with about half a million followers, who reveals a complex family story about her father's death. A surprising look at Israel's diverse, young "web stars" representing the country's complex cultural output.

West Coast Premier


Special Guest (via Zoom)

VIRTUAL DISCUSSION: Wed, July 1 at 7:30pm

BHeymann Headshot Barak Heymann joined the Heymann Brothers Films company in 2003 and has since directed and produced several documentary films and series (LIFE IN STILLS, SJFF 2018; ALMOST FRIENDS, SJFF 2017; LADY KUL-EL ARAB, SJFF 2009; STALAGS, SJFF 2009). Heymann Brothers Films is an independent Israeli company dedicated to the release of documentaries on the social aspect of the Israeli/Jewish culture. IN YOUR EYES won the Israeli Documentary Award and the Human Rights Award at the Cine Invisible Film Festival in Bilbao, Spain.

 

 

in your eyes poster

Film Details:

Director: Barak Heymann
Country: Israel
Language: Hebrew
Running Time: 57m
Year: 2018
Genre: Documentary

Subjects:

  • Ethiopian
  • Israeli Life
  • Israeli Youth
  • LGBTQ
  • Palestinian/Arab-Israeli
  • YouTube/Youtubers
  • Web Influencers
  • Women’s Stories

Rating/Warning: PG-13 (Adult themes)

 Sponsors:

VIRTUAL STREAMING WINDOW: June 23, 7:00 pm through June 25, 7:00 pm (48 hours) https://mcusercontent.com/1d64cbcae222199003c4b87f8/images/e90f241a-f59d-4162-bf60-2cb2ddbe4d9f.jpg

About The Film

The first Israeli documentary about the country's fashion industry tells the story of Lea Gottlieb, known as "Mrs. G," a Hungarian Holocaust survivor who became the legendary designer and founder of the Gottex swimwear empire. Her outrageous bathing suit designs—using innovative fabrics, cuts, and colors—pushed her to the top of the glamorous fashion world. Through hundreds of photos, recordings, and TV clips, director Dalit Kimor respectfully showcases Gottlieb's creative genius as well as her single-minded ambition, which clashed with her family and led to questionable financial decisions, in this fascinating story of success over adversity in a country that strove to do the same.


Director Bio

Dalit Kimor is an Israeli director and producer whose films deal with social issues and women's rights, such as MRS. G (2019), SAMIRA (2015), and IDA'S DANCE CLUB (2009). She graduated with an M.F.A. in Film and Television from Tel-Aviv University.

mrs g poster

Film Details:

Director: Dalit Kimor
Country: Israel
Language: Hebrew w/English subtitles
Running Time: 54m
Year: 2019
Genre: Documentary

Subjects:

  • Fashion
  • Holocaust
  • Business
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Survivor
  • Family Relationships
  • Swimwear
  • Business

Rating/Warning: PG

 Sponsors:

VIRTUAL STREAMING WINDOW: June 29, 7:00 pm through July 1, 7:00 pm (48 hours)https://mcusercontent.com/1d64cbcae222199003c4b87f8/images/e90f241a-f59d-4162-bf60-2cb2ddbe4d9f.jpg

About The Film

Meet the new Frisco Kid. A Hasidic Chabad rabbi moves from Brooklyn to Bozeman, Montana, to bring his brand of Judaism out West across Big Sky country. Traditional values are challenged by his ambitious campaign: to place a mezuzah (small box with a parchment blessing) on the doorpost every Jewish home in town—nearly 2,000 spread across a state fourteen times the size of Israel. As Rabbi Bruk’s prominence grows, he faces neo-Nazi threats and resistance from established and skeptical Jews who object to his proselytizing while acknowledging he is popular and respected.  The delicate balance between traditional values and the libertarian ethos of the American West is explored through one man’s faith and family.


Special Guest (via Zoom)

VIRTUAL DISCUSSION: Wed, July 1 at 6:00 pm 

Bruk headshot web  Rabbi Chaim Bruk, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, studied at the prestigious Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, New Jersey. In 2006, he married Chavie and in 2007 they founded Chabad Lubavitch of Montana. 

Director Bio 

Amy Geller is an award winning director, actress, and producer known previously for BORDERLINE (2017), THE GUYS NEXT DOOR (2016), and STAY UNTIL TOMORROW (2004).

Gerald Peary is an actor, director, and producer known previously for FOR THE LOVE OF MOVIES: THE STORY OF AMERICAN FILM CRITICISM (2009), MIDWEST OF EDEN (2005), and FIRST PERSON (2000).

the rabbi goes west poster

Film Details:

Director: Amy Geller, Gerald Peary
Country: USA
Language: English
Running Time: 73m
Year:2019
Genre: Documentary

Subjects:

  • Religion
  • Chabad
  • Hasidism
  • Montana

Rating: G

 Sponsors:

  • Jean and Harris Klein

VIRTUAL STREAMING WINDOW: June 22, 7:00 pm through June 24, 7:00 pm (48 hours) https://mcusercontent.com/1d64cbcae222199003c4b87f8/images/e90f241a-f59d-4162-bf60-2cb2ddbe4d9f.jpg

About The Film

Jews have lived in Ethiopia for centuries. Hundreds of thousands have immigrated to Israel. Only 9,000 remain in Ethiopia.  They speak Hebrew, keep kosher, and have Israeli relatives, yet appeals to make aliyah—the Jewish birthright of becoming an Israeli citizen—have been denied. In an effort to persuade the Israeli government, two young Ethiopian Jews, Demoz and Gezi, make a fateful trip to America where they are caught between two worlds: leaving home for the first time in their lives and becoming the “voice” of an abandoned community. They join forces with prominent American Jewish leaders but confront The Law of Return, which gives Jews all over the world the right to come and live in Israel and to gain Israeli citizenship. Can they prove they have a Jewish grandparent to qualify and become a citizen of Israel?


Special Guest (via Zoom)

VIRTUAL DISCUSSION: Wed. June 24, 7pm

Director Ryan S. Porush
is a documentary filmmaker and journalist based in New York City and Los Angeles known previously for KINGS OF THE UNDERGROUND (2015) and TWO HUNDRED PERCENT (2016). Porush studied documentary journalism at New York University.

the passengers poster

Film Details:

Director: Ryan S. Porush
Country: Ethiopia/Israel/USA
Language: English, Hebrew, Amharic w/English subtitles
Running Time: 72m
Year: 2019
Genre: Documentary
Official Website

Subjects:

  • Jewish Identity
  • Immigration
  • Current Politics
  • Ethiopian Jews
  • Racism
  • Advocacy

Rating/Warning: PG

 Sponsors:

VIRTUAL STREAMING WINDOW:! June 16, 7:00 pm through June 18, 7:00 pm (48 hours) https://mcusercontent.com/1d64cbcae222199003c4b87f8/images/e90f241a-f59d-4162-bf60-2cb2ddbe4d9f.jpg

About the 25th Anniversary SJFF Opening Film 

World-renowned wildlife and underwater photographer Amos Nachoum has one final dream: to photograph a polar bear while swimming underwater alongside it—a feat no one has ever accomplished. The National Geographic photographer and veteran of Israel's Yom Kippur War journeys to the Canadian World renowned wildlife photographer and explorer Amos Nachoum, began his career as a war photographer in Israel. For 35 years, Amos has pursued his photographic skills in a quest to show harmonious interactions between man and big animals. Amos aims to raise awareness about threatened and endangered species using his camera and expeditions, promoting their conservation for future generations. Arctic for his ultimate challenge. As he prepares for the shoot, he is confronted not only by the harsh elements of the Arctic and the challenges of capturing a majestic predator up close, but also his own demons and years of sacrifice to his craft, as he reflects on his life and family, and seeks redemption.


Special Guests + REEL Difference Award (via Zoom)

VIRTUAL DISCUSSION: Thurs, June 18th at 7:00 pm

Menkin headshot 

Director Dani Menken is a two-time Israeli Academy Award winner. The writer, director, producer's award-winning narrative and documentary films include DOLPHIN BOY (SJFF 2012), 39 POUNDS OF LOVE (SJFF 2006 Audience Choice Award Winner), IS THAT YOU (2014), and ON THE MAP (SJFF 2018). His movies have screened and sold worldwide, including to Disney and HBO. Menkin will receive the 2020 SJFF REEL Difference Award, honoring filmmakers who shed a bright light on social issues through cinema. IMDB

Nachoum guestv2

World renowned wildlife photographer and explorer Amos Nachoum began his career as a war photographer in Israel. For 35 years, Amos has pursued his photographic skills in a quest to show harmonious interactions between man and big animals. Amos aims to raise awareness about threatened and endangered species using his camera and expeditions, promoting their conservation for future generations.

Addinional Zoom Participants: Producer Yonatan Nir and composer Christopher Gubisch. Menkin will also receive our SJFF REEL Difference Award (designed by Seattle artist Nancy Currant) and SJFF Golden Or (light in Hebrew) Juried Prize for PICTURE OF HIS LIFE.

 

picture of his life poster

Film Details:

Director: Dani Menkin, Yonatan Nir
Country: Israel, USA, Canada
Language: English, Hebrew, Inuktitut w/English subtitles
Running Time: 72
Year: 2019
Genre: Documentary

Subjects:

  • Family-Friendly
  • National Geographic
  • Wildlife Photography
  • Arctic
  • Canadian Arctic
  • Polar Bear

Rating/Warning: PG

 Sponsors:

VIRTUAL STREAMING WINDOW: June 21, 12:00 pm through June 23, 12:00 pm (48 hours)https://mcusercontent.com/1d64cbcae222199003c4b87f8/images/e90f241a-f59d-4162-bf60-2cb2ddbe4d9f.jpg

About The Film

In the Golden Age of baseball, Morris “Moe” Berg was an elite catcher in the major leagues. But his impressive accomplishments were not limited to the baseball field; Berg’s Ivy League degrees, love of travel, and fluency in over ten languages helped the major league baseball player live a double-life, double-header if you will, of athletics and espionage. Award-winning filmmaker Aviva Kempner portrays the dual heroism of the enigmatic catcher turned American spy, and the captivating, hardball world of sports and spy craft he balanced in this largely unknown story. Intro by Rick Rizzs, voice of the Seattle Mariners.

Special Event (via Zoom)

VIRTUAL KLEZMER SING-ALONG: Sun, June 21 at 11am: Learn ditties, like "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in Yiddish!

Klez Kats 2019 web headshot 

The Klez Katz! are dedicated to the preservation and encouragement of the rich musical heritage of the Yiddish diaspora. Their repertoire encompasses freilachbulgarsherterkishekhosidl, theater music, folk songs and even the odd klezmer-influenced jazz tune. The Klez Katz have been featured at numerous events, including City Hall Concerts, The Wallingford Wurst Festival, Northwest Folklife, and The Tilth Harvest Fair

 

 

Director Bio

Aviva Kempner is an award winning American filmmaker known previously for ROSENWALD (SJFF 2016), TODAY I VOTE FOR MY JOEY (2002), YOO-HOO, MRS. GOLDBERG (2009), and THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HANK GREENBERG (SJFF 2000). Kempner is the founder of the Washington Jewish Film Festival. Her many accomplishments include: membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; a 1996 Guggenheim Fellowship; 2000 DC Mayor’s Art Award; 2001 Women of Vision award from D.C.’s Women in Film and Video chapter; 2001 Media Arts award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture; 2009 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival’s Freedom of Expression Award; and in 2016 the Seattle Jewish Film Festival’s REEL Difference Award.

spy behind homplate poster

Film Details:

Director: Aviva Kempner
Country: USA
Language: English
Running Time: 101m
Year: 2019
Genre: Documentary
Official Website

Subjects:

  • Baseball
  • War
  • Spy craft
  • WWII intelligence
  • Biography
  • Immigrant Experience

Rating/Warning: PG

 Sponsors:

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