It is the Jewish Film Institute’s pleasure to welcome you to the 36th annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, our signature program and the first and most prestigious Jewish film festival in the world. We are proud to be part of the cultural fabric of the San Francisco Bay Area, bringing three weeks of world-class programming and contemporary film and media from some of the world’s greatest festivals including Cannes, Sundance, Berlinale, Tribeca and South by Southwest as well as five world premieres to our loyal and spirited audiences.

SFJFF36 stands for excellence, originality and innovation and celebrates the full spectrum of Jewish identity, life and thought. Our lineup features 68 films from 15 countries with 10 Big Night programs around the Bay. Our double chai year opens with Daniel Burman’s The Tenth Man, a romantic comedy from Argentina, a cinematic tango with tradition going cheek to cheek with modernity in Buenos Aires’s legendary Jewish district. Join us afterwards at the Contemporary Jewish Museum for our Opening Night Bash featuring L’Chaim Sushi and other local delicacies. Boldly go where no man has gone before and beam yourself and your pointy ears up to the Castro Theatre for our Closing Night film For the Love of Spock, Adam Nimoy’s tribute to his father Leonard Nimoy, followed by a Closing Night reception on the Castro mezzanine.

Norman Lear is the recipient of our annual Freedom of Expression Award at the Castro. His iconic television shows All in the Family, Maude, Good Times and The Jeffersons featured stories that dealt with the most relevant and timely issues of the day but still made audiences laugh. He will join us for an onstage interview following the screening of Norman Lear: Just Another Version Of You. And for more comedy that tackles serious issues, join us at the Roda Theatre at the Berkeley Rep for Berkeley Big Night’s The Last Laugh where Sarah Silverman, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner take on Holocaust humor. The film will be followed by a celebratory reception in the courtyard. Our Centerpiece Documentary is Robert Klein Still Can’t Stop His Leg. Join the legendary comic icon Robert Klein in person at the one-time-only screening at the Castro.

To honor the scribes among us, Philip Roth fans can view a one-time-only screening of Indignation in Marin. James Schamus’s directorial debut based on Roth’s novel earned him accolades from the distinguished author. Natalie Portman directed, starred in and adapted Amos Oz’s A Tale Of Love And Darkness. Our San Francisco Centerpiece Narrative is David Bezmozgis’s Natasha. He directed his own screen adaptation of his award-winning short story collection. We also welcome Televisionaries: Sayed Kashua (Freedom of Expression recipient 2010) of Arab Labor fame with his new autobiographical series The Writer; Amit Cohen, the writer of the new Israeli espionage series False Flag; and the Israeli television series Shtisel: Season 2, which illuminates Haredi life. If you need to catch up on Season 1, binge-watch it on JFI on Demand.

What would the Festival be without a spotlight on local talent? Aaron Davidman shares the much-anticipated world premiere of Wrestling Jerusalem with the SFJFF and Bay Area community. You don’t want to miss In Search of Israeli Cuisine, a mouth-watering guided journey into the multicultural mezcla of Israeli food culture led by James Beard Award–winner Michael Solomonov. This screening will be followed by a special event with Solomonov at Aatxe where the Bay Area’s top chefs prepare Solomonov-inspired dishes.

In the words of Mr. Spock, with our hands in a Vulcan (Kohanim) salute, we say, “Live long and prosper!”

Janet Schneider
Chair, Board of Directors

Jay Rosenblatt
Program Director

Lexi Leban
Executive Director