For 10 days, the annual AJC Seattle Jewish Film Festival (SJFF) uses movies to explore, educate and celebrate Jewish life, global cultures, identity, history and filmmaking. The lessons found in these films – love, death, family, self-reflection – resonate with everyone, not just the Jewish community.
Screenings are supplemented by guest speakers, providing a dynamic forum for dialogue with actors, filmmakers, academics and expert panelists from near and far. In recent years, SJFF offerings have included musical and comedy performances, curated exhibits and thematic educational opportunities and special events. This year, visitors will hear from directors, producers, psychologists, and expert lecturers.
During the festival, moviegoers will have the chance to cast ballots for Best Feature, Best Documentary and Best Short Film, with winners receiving the SJFF Audience Choice Award on Closing Night.
One thing festival planners do best is finding a wide variety of films from varying genres across the world. This year’s opening night film, Mabul | The Flood, follows the story of Yoni, an Israeli teenager. As he prepares for his Bar Mitzvah, his autistic older brother Tomer unexpectedly returns home, forcing the entire family to cope with his presence. This powerful family drama garnered awards in Haifa and Berlin.
In the Argentinean-based My First Wedding, Adrian, a secular Jew, and Leonora, a lapsed Catholic, have finally reached their wedding day. Instead of embracing matrimony, disaster ensues and chaos reigns in this comedy about the politics of the proverbial "big day."
The family-friendly film, Circus Kids focuses on a cross-cultural acrobatic circus, with kids from St. Louis performing alongside Jewish and Arab children from the Galilee. Before the film, visitors can grab a bite to eat at the festival’s family brunch event, and hear music by KlezKatz.
Other films to watch out for are:
Dolphin Boy, a documentary that follows the recovery Morad, an Arab teenager who disconnects from people following a traumatic attack, by diving with dolphins as therapy.
B-Boy, a short film about Thirteen-year-old Eli, aka "E-Break," a studious school kid on the brink of adolescence whose talent for break dancing lands him a coveted position on a crew that competes all over the country.
Ben-Gurion Hosting, an animated short film about Israel's first prime minister.
Rabies, is dubbed “Israel’s first slasher movie" and follows a group of unsuspecting teens as they cross paths with a psycho killer in the woods.
Tickets are available on the festival’s website, by phone (206-324-9996), or in person at the cinema box offices.