Contemporary Voices, New Perspectives

Next Wave at SFJFF36 showcases fresh stories and perspectives exploring contemporary life through a Jewish lens from around the globe, from clubs in Tel Aviv to the streets of lower Manhattan and the bridge of the USS Enterprise. Don’t miss our Next Wave Spotlight film Joshy, a hilarious new comedy brought to you from Sundance Film Festival, followed by a Castro Mezzanine reception with the director Jeff Baena and actor Aubrey Plaza from the film. Reception limited to Next Wave passholders.

Next Wave Membership

Want to fest with flexibility? Our Next Wave membership – for film lovers ages 35 & under – includes a specially priced Festival pass ($35), offering tremendous access to special events, film screenings, artist talks and more at SFJFF and throughout the year.

Contact the Box Office
(415) 621-0523

JFI Next Wave programs are generously supported by grants from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund and the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation.

Next Wave Spotlight | Joshy

Dir. Jeff Baena / After his engagement falls apart on the evening of his birthday, Joshy’s (Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley) best buddies rally together to pull off a much-needed guys-only weekend for their grieving friend. As the partying heats up, Joshy and company continue to distract themselves from their troubles until they finally have to confront the elephant in the room: their feelings. Male bonding has never been more complex . . . and comically awkward. 

Director Jeff Baena in person

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Next Wave Spotlight Reception
Mezzanine, Castro Theatre
Thursday, July 28

Following the Next Wave Spotlight screening of Joshy, join us on the Castro mezzanine, transformed into a swanky lounge for the evening, for a reception with director Jeff Baena and select talent from the film. Indulge in Lagunitas Beer and Tito’s Handmade Vodka cocktails as we toast the new frontiers of Jewish film. Admission limited to Next Wave Passholders.


Dir. Michal Vinik / Seventeen-year-old Naama is thoroughly bored with her overbearing family and uneventful suburban school days. That is until bleached-blonde bad girl Dana shows up with her flirtatious smile and a bag of weed. But while Naama is both partying hard and falling hard for Dana, her sister goes missing, and the whole family is deeply rattled. Blush is a portrait of modern Israel through the eyes of the youth who are pushing the boundaries.

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Class Divide

Dir. Marc Levin / One-hundred-fifteen steps is all that separates a public housing complex from a private school for Manhattan’s elite. Class Divide shines a light on people who live a stone’s throw apart but inhabit completely different worlds. Despite grim statistics about poverty, the film is imbued with optimism as it shares stories from both sides of the street and finds common ground in the hopes and dreams of young people and their families.

Producer Mike Farrah in person

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Disturbing the Peace

Dirs. Stephen Apkon, Andrew Young / This inspiring documentary finds a spirit of compassion and empathy in an unexpected place: among combatants from both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian divide. Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters come together to form Combatants for Peace, a nonviolent group that uses dialogue, theater and art to try to end the conflict. Disturbing the Peace doesn’t shy away from harsh realities and, somehow, still leaves you inspired.

Director Stephen Apkon in person

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False Flag

Dir. Oded Ruskin / Not since Prisoners of War has there been such a provocative, nail-biting espionage thriller on Israeli TV. In False Flag five Israeli citizens wake up one morning to discover that they are suspects in the kidnapping of the Iranian minister of defense. The five become wanted and news coverage turns their world upside down. Their attempts to deny involvement are in vain. Even their loved ones question, could they be guilty?

Writer/creator Amit Cohen in San Francisco and Berkeley

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For the Love of Spock (Closing Night)

Dir. Adam Nimoy / “Live long and prosper.” It’s impossible not to cherish those famous words spoken by the beloved half-human Vulcan. Leonard Nimoy, the man behind the pointy ears, left an indelible mark as an artist and as a mensch. Featuring clips from Nimoy’s career and inspiring interviews with the Star Trek cast, director Adam Nimoy has crafted a loving tribute to not only his father, but also to the man we know as Mr. Spock.

Director Adam Nimoy in person

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Jews in Shorts: Docs

True life characters are often more compelling than fictional ones. A filmmaker’s childhood image from a forgotten home movie; a 90-year-old ready to eat bacon for the first time; a violinist parting with his sacred instrument, which changes the life of a 12-year-old schoolgirl; a legendary actor with dual identities, French and Jewish. These are subjects of this year’s emotionally compelling documentary shorts program.

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Jews in Shorts: Narratives

Comedy and drama can be found in many places: early ’90s New York, an Israeli drone control center, Paris in the aftermath of the recent terror attacks, Central Park invaded by a 20-piece marching band and an Israeli modern art museum. These are the diverse settings of this year’s dynamic and provocative narrative shorts program where the stories unfold in the most surprising of ways.

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Natasha (Centerpiece Narrative)

Dir. David Bezmozgis / Jewish Canadian writer David Bezmozgis directs his acclaimed short story of forbidden teenage love between Mark, a Toronto slacker and his troubled Russian cousin by marriage. Bezmozgis’s highly provocative and deeply poignant coming-of-age drama features the extraordinarily measured performances of Alex Ozerov as Mark and newcomer Sasha K. Gordon as the sexually precocious Natasha, the dark star who forever alters Mark’s staid, suburban existence.

Director David Bezmozgis in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Berkeley

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