SJFF is a cornerstone program of SJCC Arts+Ideas
Laugh.Cry.Love.Debate.Celebrate.Gather: To Life!
Seattle Jewish Film Festival (SJFF) is one of the largest and longest-running film festivals in the Pacific Northwest and one of the largest Jewish film festivals in the country. A cornerstone program of the Stroum Jewish Community Center (SJCC), SJFF brings people together from across Washington State—and virtually around the globe—to celebrate and showcase the vibrancy and diversity of Jewish and Israeli life through cinema. Year-round, SJFF and SJCC Arts + Ideas present film and performing arts programs that build connections, unlock perspectives, engage the community, and uplift the human spirit.
Audiences cast ballots for Best Narrative, Best Documentary, and Best Narrative/Documentary/Animated Short Films. Every other year, a jury of filmmakers and industry professionals selectes a film and filmmaker to receive the new Golden Or (Hebrew for "light) Jury Prize for Best Independent Film, which includes a small cash prize.
Every other year, SJFF also names a REEL Difference and REAL Difference Award to distinguished filmmakers, producers, artists and agents of arts philanthropy and change. Past recipients include: Academy Award nominated German director Michael Verhoeven, Israeli filmmaker Eran Riklis and documentary filmmakers Aviva Kempner and Dani Menkin, Tiffany Shlain, producer Michael Benaroya of Benaroya Pictures. Festival Founding chair Deborah Rosen was the first recipient of the REAL Difference Award in 2016 followed by longtime supporter and former producing sponsor Martin Selig in 2020.
- Founded in 1995 by AJC Seattle after attending a humble upstart Jewish film series at the 100-seat Grand Illusion Theatre.
- Annually, SJFF presents 30-35 films from 15 countries in 11 days at 5 venues, supplemented by guest artists, performers, speakers, parties, family and special events. Virtually in 2020 and 2021, SJFF presented 19 films over 2-3 weeks.
- Since its inception, SJFF has screened over 1000 films and welcomed over 100,000 attendees. In current virtual times, SJFF films have been screened online by attendees throughout the United States, and as far as Israel, Australia, and South Africa.
- In normal times, SJFF screens films year-round at the Stroum JCC in our state-of-the-art cinema: Join us for encores, sneak-peeks, extended dialogue forums and premieres. During the pandemic, we have continued ot run a robust season of streaming screenings and filmmaker conversations, including Divanathon, a YouTube series we ran March - August 2020 that can be watched on our SJCC Arts+Ideas YouTube channel.
- 7,000 Patrons: SJFF has grown dramatically in size and reputation into the largest and most highly anticipated Jewish cultural and arts event in the Pacific Northwest at Seattle's best downtown venues, such as the 800-seat Cinerama Theatre, 600 seat AMC Pacific Place and the 500- and 300-seat seat SIFF Uptown Cinema, and our own Dolby Digital 358-seat cinema on Mercer Island
- The Seattle Weekly praised SJFF "the best ethnic film festival in our region," with a breadth and quality second only to the Seattle International Film Festival.
- Only 20% of our operating costs are raised from ticket sales. Support this community gem, volunteer and get involved, make a donation, help spread and encourage friends to join you! Attend!